Any film nerds in the house? Check out this trending video that explores the history of movie trailers with nerdy glee and lots of reverence. It's a bit long, but delightful.
While impressive, there is one, not-so-little-thing this video fails to touch on, though: the dearth of female voices in movie trailers. Think about pretty much any trailer ever, and you'll likely remember the booming baritone of a seemingly husky male. Of course, on some level, this makes sense. Male voices tend to be deep and sonorous, qualities that work well with the dramatic theatrics of a trailer. But does the gender disparity need to be so stark?
In a New York Times article on the lack of work for female voice-over artists, those in the industry were able to think of precisely one film promoted with a woman's voice: Gone in 60 Seconds. And that woman's voice was used as a sexy, hot-to-trot tease rather than an authoritative "voice of God."
A wonderful little film released last year called In a World... delved further into this same topic. The film's writer/director/star, Lake Bell, was also an aspiring voice-over artist, and used the movie to autobiographically explore her travails in the male-dominated industry. Far deeper than a rah-rah anti-sexist film, it looked at how stigmas work in subtle ways, while also taking a critical look at the baby-voiced phenomenon that has not helped the female cause in trailers or otherwise.
Why does this topic matter? Because if you think about it, trailers encapsulate the mysogynistic gender roles that govern much of our society. Men are frequently believed to possess authority, gravitas and strength while women are left largely out of the picture if the situation calls for solemnity. More complicated still is that because almost every trailor boasts a male voice, woe be the film that chooses otherwise; we're creatures that thrive on familiar ground. For that reason alone, it would be pretty dang cool if the next ridiculous action flick opened with the over-the-top narration of a booming, fierce, voice-of-God woman.
Interested in learning more? Check out the In a World...trailer below. It's a quality movie tease that does exactly what it's designed to do: make you want to watch the film, pronto.
Image of the awesome Lake Bell: YouTube