Many people can probably do an impression of a gravelly-voiced movie trailer narrator. But Jon Bailey’s is more convincing than most.
As a professional voice-over artist and the voice behind the Screen Junkies series “Honest Trailers,” Mr. Bailey has been honing his take on famed trailer voice-over actor Don LaFontaine in hundreds of comedic YouTube segments. The most-viewed “Honest Trailer,” a parody trailer of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” has received more than 33 million views.
Bailey had been voicing animated and video game characters and providing voice work for trailers for several years before Screen Junkies producers discovered him on YouTube in 2011. “Once they realized I didn’t have a singular sound and could do more than just one thing, they realized we could do horror, we could do family, we could do romantic comedy!” Bailey says, his voice adopting each style as fast as one might change radio stations. “So literally anything that they could think of, I could come up with a voice for it.”
Because of the immediacy of YouTube and Bailey’s delivery, fans find him authentic, Bailey says. “The way the audience sees each ‘Honest Trailer’ is that ‘This must be the Epic Voice Guy’s personal opinion of this film and he’s letting us know about the silly parts,’ ” Bailey explains. According to Bailey, viewers think he “start[s] out doing it as a regular trailer but suddenly ... step[s] out of the voice-over and say[s]: ‘Wait a minute! What’s going on here? Is this really the movie they made?’ ”
So far, he’s traveled between assignments in Los Angeles and his home studio in Memphis, Tenn. Now Bailey is about to move his family west to attempt to break into big-screen animation. But his YouTube fans will likely always see him as their “Epic Voice Guy,” each with their own vision of what he must look like. “Most people are surprised that I’m not six feet tall,” says Bailey with a chuckle. “When they meet me, they often say they thought I was going to be really tall and really, really muscle-bound.”