The man behind “The Voice”

In Arts & Entertainment

You hear his voice on previews of movies as you anxiously wait to see the featured attraction.

“Coming… this fall… only in theaters,” he says in a loud, bold and captivating tone. The man with the voice of God has your full attention, but do you give much thought to who he is and what he looks like?

Scott Rummell is the man behind the big booming voice who is constantly heard on movie trailers, such as Terminator Salvation, Going the Distance, All Good Things, and The Blindside, or announcing the ABC or CBS evening lineup, CNN, Fox’s Fringe and more.

Seated in his professional home studio in Yorba Linda, he speaks clearly and strongly into the microphone as his voice is being recorded for the next movie trailer.

“Coming… tomorrow… Friday… December 10th… only in theaters…” Rummell dramatically and distinctively enunciates each word as though they are the only words to be heard. He meticulously repeats the same words several times, with a slight inflection that will make all the difference in the world in where that “tag” will be placed. Together with his facial expressions and hand gestures, he creates the voice character that you can picture through sound waves.

“Sound good,” said the producer. “Now I think the only thing is if you could do ‘only in theaters’ by itself, a quick read.”

Rummell then reads each “only in theaters” slightly different than the previous one.

Rummell has had as many as 100 scripts in one day. This isn’t typical for most voice-over artists, but in the league that Scott’s in, it’s no surprise that he stays busy at his trade. He’s a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and is under contract with several cable and broadcast networks, and movie studios. His eight-hour business day is Monday through Friday starting at 9 a.m.

Experienced voice actors are paid $3,000, depending on the type of promo or trailer it is. As one of the highest paid voice over artists in the country and ranked in the top 10 to 15 voice-over men, if Rummell’s face was shown every time his voice was heard, he would be bombarded with fan recognition.

Rummell, 50, has been doing voice-over for over 25 years, but his passion is always fresh and vibrant, which is conveyed with each word. His continued practice and humble attitude has mastered his craft to the signature that his voice is and is why he is one of the most sought-after artists in voice-over.

About 10 years ago, he debuted his first movie trailer. Doing trailers is the ultimate status in the voice over industry.

As a boy, Rummell’s dream was to be a voice actor. He was so pleased when he got his first tape recorder so he could do “voices” on it.

Inspired by his father, he thought it was cool to see his dad, Gary Rummell, who was an L.A. County fireman, talk on the news about a big fire. Scott gets his voice from his dad.

“I see myself doing this until grandfather age,” said Rummell.

Rummell commuted to Burbank sometimes twice a day to give another take on a read for 18 years before he had his home studio built in Yorba Linda and beach house in Dana Point.

Rummell’s voice has been advertising for Ralph’s for over 15 years. He’s the friendly sounding grocer’s voice you hear as he advertises, “Fresh peaches for 99 cents a pound.”

Yet, his friendly next-door neighbor voice becomes dark and sinister as he presses in towards his mic and with a commanding voice reads the tags for a new movie promo. His versatility with his many different styles of voices gives him the reign in the market of voice-overs. He’s does retail, radio, television, promotion, trailers and narration.

“His style and unique personality are different than any other talents,” said agent David Lipton of Talent Management Network.

Those close to Rummell praise his talents.

“I use Scott whenever I can. He’s so good at what he does… that I know he will ‘nail it’ and give me what I want, even though I’m rarely in the room to direct him,” said long time friend, director, writer, producer and editor of Dean River Productions and associate professor at Biola University, John Schmidt, Jr.

Rummell grew up in Yorba Linda and graduated from Esperanza High School. He attended Eastside Christian Church in Fullerton since he was a child, was involved in various singing groups at the church and toured with a young adult singing group called The Continentals.

“I have worked with Scott on several productions we did at Church. He would either be a singer, actor or an announcer,” said long-time friend and sound engineer Rick Fisher. “It’s easy to run sound for someone with a voice like that. You don’t really have to do anything to make it sound good.”

Rummell got his voice-over start through selling airtime at KYMS, a Christian radio station in Santa Ana. It was there that his incredibly successful voice-over career was birthed to what it is today, as he was asked to read spots for commercials.

Rummell’s childhood friend, Dwight Equitz, knew about Rummell’s life-long dream to be a voice-over artist, so he told him that he had just heard voice actor legend, Dawes Butler (voice of Hanna Barbera’s Looney Tunes, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and Snagglepuss) on the radio. Rummell got his phone number and called him. Butler agreed to mentor him at $10 per session, when most voice over coaches charge $100 for an hourly session.

“Scott used to talk about his interest in voice-over… He committed himself fully to studying and learning, and didn’t just go on ‘raw talent,'” said Schmidt. “In fact, he said some individuals thought he would never make it as a voice-over artist. Um, they were dead wrong.”

Practicing the trade, Rummell took classes to master what has become his own unique style that others try to emulate.

“I first met Scott at a voice-over workout group run by Harvey Kalmenson, a casting director in L.A., and had a great time doing the workouts together weekly,” said Beverly Bremmers, voice-over artist and coach.

Rummell is on the voice-over advisory board at the Don La Fontaine Voice Over Lab, located at the Screen Actors’ Guild in Los Angeles. La Fontaine, a legend in voice-over history was one of Rummell’s heroes.

“He was the ‘guy’… and I want to be that ‘guy,'” Rummell said of La Fontaine.

Rummell has indeed become “that guy.” He has about a three-foot stack of scripts for two years of work in the corner of his home studio. Each day he stays busy as the phone rings with one of his agents telling him he has a two o’clock session.

“Money really wasn’t a huge factor. I just thought it would be a cool job,” said Rummell. “But I did have a dream to do what I do today, which in turn does relate to money – to be at the top of your field. I always had goals. I started out wanting to do one audition a week, then one a day, then one job a day, then two jobs a day. I kept reaching forward. I never dreamed it would be that big.”

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