Beau Weaver answers questions about the voices that are used to narrate trailers for feature films and thier television campaigns
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  • Okay, since I started this forum, some of you have written to remind me that I need to post something to start the conversation about trailers.

    First of all, I understand that since we all love movies, this is a niche in the business that a lot of people aspire to. However, not wishing to discourage anyone, I do want you to realize that this is absolutely the toughest nut to crack in all of the entertainment business.

    For decades, insiders have observed that the trailer industry seems to be able to utilize about seven narrators at any given time. Those seven guys will voice about ninety percent of all the trailers and television campaigns for feature films. There is another tier of performers.....about two dozen guys, and one woman.....who divvy up the rest. Every three or four years, maybe one of those names falls out of favor, and someone from the second tier of talent moves up. And every eight to ten years, a heretofore unknown talent comes seemingly out of nowhere to become one of the stable of "made guys."

    There are only about five agents, or managers who get the calls from producers of trailers. They are, as you can imagine, the reps of the top guys. If you are not on their list, you will not do this work. However, even if you are on their rosters, that does not mean you will do this work either. However, you must understand that trailer producers do not look further than the agents they have on speed dial.

    There is good reason for this. When a new consumer product is brought to market, the initial marketing campaign to introduce this product may air for six months to a year, before it's success can be fairly measured. With movies, a film must produce results on it's opening weekend, or it will fail. A movie has to open big. The television campaign has no room for mistakes or experiments.

    There are several dozen top trailer houses, and several dozen very small shops. Often, there will be three to five trailer houses competing for a campaign. They will chose a narrator who has produced results in the past. Even when they would rather try someone new, they will often replace their "creative choice" with one of the seven major dudes at the very last minute, nervous about an untested element.

    No one wants to be the guy who picked the wrong voiceover guy. Now surely no one will credit the trailer narrator if a film is successful, but they sure do tend to blame the voice over guy when a film fizzles on opening weekend. Would you like to be the executive who okayed an off brand voice over, and caused your company to lose all of the Paramount business for the next three years?

    So, the odds of breaking into this area are not good. I did not say impossible, of course. Because, as soon as I write this, there will be an exception to the rule. Maybe you!

    You will need to study the work of some of the top performers however. The reads in theatrical trailers (as opposed to television campigns) are very different from what you learn to do as a commercial voice actor. In trailers you are a spoken type face, with poetic subtext.

    But look, boys and girls, just in the week that I write this, two of the "made guys" have joined this little web community: Ben Patrick Johnson, and the master himself, Don La Fontaine.

    Let me suggest that you post questions here for Don and Ben. Besides being great talents, both are extremely generous men. I admire both of them personally a great deal. I can tell you that what they tell you is fo'shizzle.

    That's all for now.....

  • i really don't understand this website... but i'm the guy that jumps off the bridge because bobby did it. PEACE. -Anthony
  • vs. male trailer vo's. (not sure if I wrote that it Friday yet?)
  • Hey Beau, excited that you started this group and am eager to get in the game, even though I hear female trailers makeup 5% of the industry. Is that true? Best, Jessie Gilman
  • Hey Beau, Looking forward to hearing great things. This group looks fantastic!

    A voice from the past in Houston - Melanie
  • WOW, some serious talent here in this group. I am dying to learn from you all. This is one area that I am really interested in learning about. Is class in session?
  • i am itching to scratch. how about you?
  • Hello ALL,
    New to this group as well as this site.
    Really looking forward to the social networking.
  • Hi Beau,
    Start talkin' or I might end up buyin' a trailer and moving across the street from Mitch. Ha!
  • Greetings; Trailers interesting , teach so I can learn
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