Beau Weaver answers questions about the voices that are used to narrate trailers for feature films and thier television campaigns
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  • Hi Beau,

    I read you remarks dated Sept 29th as to why studios won't use anyone new for trailers, and I wanted to thank you for your continued frankness and no BS policy when it come to the industry as a whole.

    That being said, it seems like a policy wrought with danger and pitfalls. It would be like the car companies saying that since Carroll Shelby was one of most (if not the most) successful car designer that he's the only one who can design cars. I'm not questioning your explaination on what IS happening, only the mindset of the trailer houses for doing it.

    Anyway, since that is the world we're living in...What about the secondary releases in DVD or Blu-Ray formates? Are the studio and trailer house more likely to take a chance on a new talent for those trailer commercials, and could that lead to to the coveted theater trailers?

    I guess my bottom line question is, if someone would like to make it into that elite group are there any baby steps that could put you on the right path.

    Talk Soon,
  • Beau's explanation about why trailer producers are not open to new talent:

    The truest and most accurate statement so well put.
  • Dear Beau ...

    I'm starting to "scratch" for a few trailer houses .... all I can say is .... watch out cause David Marc is a member of this fantastic group coached by Mr. Ojai himself, Beau Weaver .... watch out motion picture world because David Marc WILL hit his "Marc" in the world of trailers in 09 ! Especially for those romantic comedies, family oriented films as well as light dramas ...

    David Marc
  • I'll chime in to respond to Greg's question about Rodney Saulsberry's promo/trailer class. I took it back in 2005 when it was offered through Susan Berkey. The class was quite good, but not nearly as good as in-person classes and coaching. But because of that teleclass, I was able to meet Rodney, take his one-day intensive commercial class and then some coaching from him, all of which resulted in my current commercial demo. So Greg, take the teleclass if you can't find something local just to see if that is what you might want to work into -- although Beau has repeated told us all that movie trailer work is a very closed room. Even if trailers is not where you end up, you will gain some tools that are helpful for a variety of reads. I have the luxury of being in the LA area so I can get the in-person coaching and classes that might open that door. And one day even get to meet Beau! ;-)

    Greg, take care.

  • Jay,

    Will a few films that don't open ruin the career of a VO talent? No, I don't think I have seen that. But every few years, one of the guys who are the narrators the trailer houses always seem to go to.....drops off the list......for no reason any of us can discern. I can think of several guys who used to be on every other film, who hardly work at all in trailers now. It's a mystery. But, if a trailer house did, for some reason, take a chance on using a non-standard narrator, and the film did not do well....he might not use that talent again. You have one chance to hit it out of the park.......if you ever get up to bat!
  • Guys, I don't know anything about telecourses. I would prefer in person with the actual carbon-based unit, but if you are too far away, it must surely be better than doing nothing. I don't know anything specific about what Rodney is doing, but he's a great cat, and a long time A-list talent.

    As to why trailer producers are not open to new talent, here is the deal. As I have said elsewhere, feature films, unlike other consumer products have one weekend, actually ONE DAY (the Friday the film opens) to be successful. A consumer product might have a niine month introduction rollout. A film has one day to produce results, or in many cases fail to make back it's investment. The stakes are huge. The advertising campaign for a feature film is often times equal to the entire production budget of the film.

    In Hollywood, there are bout five major film studios. There are about thirty trailer houses. Those trailer houses are made to compete for each film they do campaigns for, many times on spec, at their own expense. It is cut throat competition for the trailer houses. They might think, "gee, maybe a different narrator would work well here." but then, they imagine losing the campaign to their competition because the studio did not like the narrator. They cannot take that chance. So, they go with the guy they KNOW that studio always signs off on. Or, the guy who voice the campaign that was number one at the box office last week. Sometimes, they will get adventurous and use a dark horse narrator.....and get cold feet at the last minute and put Ashton Smith on the campaign for air, because they just can't take that chance. The only off brand narrators that occasionally squeek by and end up on the air on television campaigns are editors for a trailer house who cut a temp narr, and who are trying to make the transition to voice talent. They are occasionally approved for final campaigns. Those are the "new voices" that you will hear sometimes, and think to yourself. " see....they ARE using some different guys." Well, yes, but those guys had an "in" that you don't have.

    The studios use the same seven guys over and over again because they have produced results. Nobody wants to be the executive that lost all of Paramount's business for the next six months because he picked an off brand narrator.

    While no one will credit the trailer or television campaign voice over if a film opens big, they will certainly blame the risky choice if it tanks. They just can't take that chance.

    For the guys who have produced results for the studios, it's like being a made guy in the Mafia. But getting a seat at that table is the longest shot in show business.

  • Hey Beau! You were a real pleasure to listen to at V08 in August. What a great time! You mentioned Maurice Tobias' coaching for trailers. Have you heard anything pro or con about Rod Saulsberry's promo trailer telecourse? How do you feel about telecourses anyway? Thanks, I appreciate your time!
    Greg Hamilton
  • Hi Beau,

    Just curious why trailer producers are'nt a little more open to new talent? It seems many of the voices are similar sounding.

    Ron Peterson
  • Chuck,

    Marice Tobias does workshops in other parts of the country. Check her website. She is the only one I know who really knows how to coach people in trailers.......which really are very different from promo or commerical. But, I keep telling folks that trailer producers call only five phone numbers to book voice talent If you are at the other end of one of those phone numbers, you may have a shot. If not, it is not going to happen.
    It is, of course theoretically possible for there to be an exception to this. But the probability is up there with me being asked to start for an NBA team this season. It could happen..... However, adding this very specific kind of read to your skillset can only be an asset. -Let me know how you make out. - Beau
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  • I would love a critque of my trailer demo. I've been doing VO seriously....meaning marketing, seeking work, agents, etc since 2003. I want to get to the next level.. but cannot move to L.A. or NYC for training, etc.

    Any construction criticism is most welcome.

    Thank you
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