The movie trailer voice-over post-LaFontaine

So, Don La Fontaine, the primary movie trailer voice-over guy, died this last year. I’ve heard people suggest that they officially retire the phrase, “In a world” in his honour.

I think I recognized his voice in the trailer for Delgo. To me, that kind of exemplified what went wrong with Delgo. The studios turn ideas down because they don’t think they can market them. So if you’re billing yourself as the most expensive non-Hollywood animation in America, then you can’t market exactly the same way the studios would.

The guy had a marvelous voice, I won’t deny that. But it seems to me that his popularity was as much dictated by creative timidity. Similar to Trajan, his voice has become a signifier that means nothing more than “movie.”

But marketing calls for you to separate yourself from the herd, as well. So I feel like we should be identifying other wonderful voices and judging them from a standpoint other than “do they sound like Don La Fontaine?”

Watch some older trailers to cleanse your palette. The Omen Cleopatra It’s a Mad Mad Mad World Doctor Zhivago Clarence the Cross Eyed Lion

So, in the interests of helping, here is a list of other people who would make for great trailer voice-overs. I understand most of them are out of reach of the lowest-budget trailers, but at least it will get you thinking about trailer voices:
Patrick Stewart
Lawrence Fishburne (See the CGI Ninja Turtles movie. It opens with him delivering the most ridiculous monologue available.)
James Earl Jones
Christopher Walken
Maurice Dean Wint
Harvey Fierstein
Gilbert Gottfried
Gordon Pinsent

And why do I have no women on my list? Somehow I have a harder time thinking of actresses with very distinctive voices. But it does seem like quite the gap, doesn’t it? I’ll try to keep an ear out for some.

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4 Responses to The movie trailer voice-over post-LaFontaine

  1. Anonymous says:

    There are so many horrible gravelly sounding American voiceovers. Why can we not have people with normal voices and not people who sound stupid or as if they gargle with rocks? Why are there hardly ever any women doing voiceovers these days?

  2. Ryan says:

    Haha. I’m tempted to get the most nasally-voiced guy available to do a trailer voice-over. But then, this is one of those circumstances where many people will think you are being “unprofessional” if you don’t do what everyone else does.

    But I’ve also heard radio adverts and trailers for low-budget movies where they pitch-shifted someone’s voice until they sounded like they had a speech impediment. That sure did not make me think, “professional.”

  3. Ryan says:

    I know, Fran Drescher. I would totally go see a movie if the trailer was voiced by Fran Drescher.

  4. Ryan says:

    Okay, I recently caught a clip of the 1982 Hulk cartoon, and I need to add Stan Lee to my list.