The Life of a Voice Actor

In Culture, Current Events on September 5, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Click here for today’s feature:

Earlier this week, Don LaFontaine, a legend in the voice-over industry, died of complications from the treatment of an illness.  Over his 33-year career, he voiced more than 5000 movie trailers and 350,000 commercials.  This feature looks briefly at the impact of his life on the industry.  The feature also provides an opportunity to get a glimpse at what the life of a voice actor is like with Don’s friend Scott Rummell as well as Bill Davis and Thomas McElroy.


The complete conversation with Scott Rummell, Bill Davis and Thomas McElroy was about 36:00.  If you’d like to hear the raw interview, click here.

  1. Paul,

    Thank you for this wonderful feature. Really excellent work.

    Be well,

  2. I am not a voice-over guy, just a guy who has known Scott Rummell all his life. (Well, if since eight years old counts as “all”.)

    During this interview, he speaks the truth.

    He talks about having a dream of being in your industry since childhood ..truth. We used to play with my little cassette recorder/player and make up little shows and stuff. Even way back then he would say that one day he was going to be the voice of the Disneyland parade. I remember the day he told me that dream came true.

    You all discussed the amount of work it takes to be successful in the industry. Again, truth. Scott continued pursuing his dream while working as a salesman at a local radio station. He would stay late and practice in one of the unused studios. One of the jocks actually told him once that he should just give it up; “God”, this guy said, “just didn’t give you the pipes.”

    But Scott had a dream that he was willing to work toward fulfilling. I called him one night to tell him I had just heard Dawes Butler on the “Dr. Demento Show”. Scotty called the station, talked Mr. Butler’s phone number out of someone, and pursued Butler until he agreed to meet (um, Scott can be VERY pursuasive ..ask me about my unhappy snow-skiing adventure). The rest is history. Scott and Dawes ended up being very close as teacher/student and as friends.

    Yep, he’s worked hard and has enjoyed the benefits of that hard work ..but another thing he said about Mr. LaFontaine is also true of Scott: He’s a generous guy.

    Scott has always been willing to talk with, work with, pursue the dream with every hopeful voice-over guy out there. He’s helped many put together their first audition tapes and has offered to mentor anyone willing to work as hard as he has.

    If LaFontaine’s place as a premier voice-talent is available, I am sure that many would step up to fill it. I’m betting Scott would be at the top of the list (I hear his voice everywhere, and can easily pick it out ..I mean, I was there when he was making up all those voices, right?)

    But, if LaFontaine was best known as a guy who was willing to teach others to TAKE that place, I doubt you would find anyone better suited for that position, than Scott Rummell.

    Geography, time, and growing in different directions have caused our friendship to wane in recent years, but I am proud to say that I knew Scott Rummell “before he made it big.” He will carry Don LaFontaine’s legacy well for many years.

    Excellent interview,

  3. This was an amazing interview. I am so glad that I stumbled on it, via, googling Scott’s name.
    I met Scott at church over 22 years ago via a very good friend and I am so honored to be one of the people Scott has guided in VO.
    Like Scott, I have always wanted to do “voices” when I grew up, and all I wanted for my 10th birthday was a tape recorder so I could record my voices.
    When we talked about our passions being one in the same, I told him that I had never met anyone who wanted to do “voices” for a living. People would ask me what I wanted to do when I grew up and I would say, “commercials”, I wanted to be the voice on them, and then they would act as though I just told them that I wanted to do something meaningless, so they’d ask me again.
    This interview inspired and encouraged me as I enter into this field. It’s good to know that men like Don made a difference and gave to help others succeed as well.
    I really appreciated reading DAE’s comment.
    Thank you so much,

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