Thursday, March 15, 2012
Voice Over for Movie Trailers: Last Frontier for Women Voice Actors?
(reposted from the NY Times) I'm very interested in stories about people's experiences in finding, performing voice over or other similar acting work, especially working parents raising kids. Send me your stories! - Ken @ Boy on the Bike
WHAT gender is the voice of God?
The question has been pondered by mystics through the ages, but in the sanctuary of cinema the voice of a sonorous, authoritative, fear-inspiring yet sometimes relatable presence is, invariably, that of a man. Consider the trailer and the omniscient, disembodied voice that introduces moviegoers to a fictional world.
“Most movie trailers are loud and strong, and film studios want that male impact, vocally and thematically,” said Jeff Danis, an agent who represents voice-over artists. “Even if it’s a romantic comedy or nonaction movie, they still want that certain power and drama that men’s voices tend to convey on a grander scale.”
Even now movie trailers and promos largely hew to a template created 40 years ago byDon LaFontaine, Hollywood’s most prolific voice-over artist. Possessor of a resonant baritone that could cut through tight sequences of music and sound bites — and the coiner of familiar (and parodied) phrases like “In a world ...” and “One man, one destiny” — LaFontaine, who died in 2008, voiced more than 5,000 trailers, thousand upon thousand of commercials and television promos.
In the past few years, as audiences have grown more sophisticated, the independent production companies that make trailers for Hollywood studios have begun moving away from voice-overs, favoring graphic devices like title cards to serve as narration. “As much as possible people are trying to let the movie speak for itself, without being as heavy handed as the ‘voice of God’ narrator feels,” said John Long of Buddha Jones Trailers, which was responsible for campaigns for “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Inglourious Basterds,” among others.
Still, plenty of voice-over jobs remain, especially in television, though women are seldom cast. “There are some very talented, very gifted women in this business that can satisfy any request for a narrator, but the opportunities aren’t given to them,” said Mike Soliday, a talent agent who represents prominent male voice artists like Scott Rummell and Tony Rodgers.
As Mr. Danis put it, “Trailers are really the last frontier for women.” [ more ]