Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Tip and a Tribute Thanks to Don LaFontaine

By Propulsion Media Labs Talent #34 Jim J.

The Voiceover Legend:
Don Lafontaine
I remember early in my career being obsessed with equipment.  If I just got "the right gear" my sound would match the big movie trailer guys.  I constantly spent money (what little I had at the time) on the latest and greatest gear but never got "that sound".  After a tip from a book,  I wrote a letter to my voiceover hero Don Lafontaine just to tell him how much I loved his work and how much I admired him.

I never really expected a reply but a few weeks later, a panicked front desk receptionist transferred a call to me one day and yelled, "I think you need to pick this one up Jim!!!".   I picked up the phone nervously and heard,   "Helllooo  Jimmmm!!!"   Don said it in his full out movie trailer voice which floored me in my tracks.  

He was one of the nicest guys.  So humble and talked to me for over 30 mins.  I finally asked him, "Don? What equipment do you use? What microphone?"  This was it!!! I was about to find the missing secret to make me sound more  like him. His reply said it all, "Let me tell you Jim.  It's not about the equipment, it's about the delivery.  I could come right to your tiny radio station studio and sound , more or less, exactly like I would sound in my ABC session that I am about to walk into in 2 mins.  Dont worry about the equipment, worry about delivery"

I will never forget those words from "the man" spoken back many years ago.   While I still highly suggest getting a clean and nice quality studio setup, I no longer worry about having my gear MAKE my sound as much as having my gear TRANSFER my natural delivery and sound.

Thank you Don and may you continue to rest in peace,   Jim.

(For more on LaFontaine's work, check out this youtube video!)