Nita Whitaker Talks About Don LaFontaine's
Living Legacy And Her Book 'Finding My Voice'
August 22, 2012
(VOXtra) - Being married to the late voice over legend Don LaFontaine surely expanded Nita Whitaker's entertainment sphere into the voice over world. But this former Miss Louisiana, singer / actor dynamo has an amazing resume of accomplishments herself - to which we now add "author."
Nita will appear at a special tribute to Don at That's Voiceover - the annual voice over training and networking event coming to Chicago on Aug. 25.
And in advance of that event, we asked Nita to comment on Don and her new book, Finding My Voice - a healing journey with lessons for voice actors.
Special Discount Offer: For a half-price $110 discount ticket to That's Voiceover, please click here and enter promo code VOXTRA.
Note: This is the final piece of a three-part series on memories about how Don LaFontaine helped the lives and careers of so many people. Also see Part 1 (Paul Pape, Joe Cipriano, Joan Baker, Vanessa Gilbert) and Part 2 (Bill Ratner, Cedering Fox, Rudy Gaskins).Nita, how do you see Don's legacy continuing to impact the voice over community?
Don was such a stapling foundation of the voice over art form - he raised the bar for everyone in the business by the volume and prolific, perfectly-dictioned announcements in TV, film and radio.
No one before or since has amassed the amount of work in sheer numbers of trailers and spots, or was considered the "King of Voiceover," or considered to be the template for the way trailers are announced, or was so widely regarded as a beloved colleague, mentor and friend.
Being primarily a singer and actor, you obviously were in a unique position to learn quite a bit about voice acting from Don. Are there two or three principles that stand out?
I think there are three principles that connect the two art forms.
One, diction. It is important that the listener be able to understand the words without over pronunciation.
Two, passion. You must love words and being a part of telling a story. That's what voice actors do, as well as singers.
Three, find your voices. Don felt it was essential to a career that each person find their sound and distinct abilities, not to simply copy another. The best singers have a distinct sound and like Don's voice, there was only one.
Well, you've been on a journey for your own voice, too. You've said that your new book, "Finding My Voice," was "the birth of my healing." As voice actors, what are we to learn from your book?
For me, the book was written to share what I have learned as I walked through the process of loosing the love of my life and the road beyond.
After writing it I discovered that putting my experiences on the page was very cathartic as well as healing for me.
What is important about the book for voice over artists is they get to learn a bit more about the man-father-son who has become a legend in their business, and to realize that he was not defined by who he was, but more by what he gave - that you can be a good guy and finish first.
He was an extraordinarily real human being with a huge capacity for love and compassion.
Yet for as much as he accomplished, family was most important to him.
People think highly of Don for lots of reasons, and because he was successful, people think of him as a guy with money. But he was a lot more and much deeper in spirit and kindness than just the beauty and power of his voice or the success he was given.
Don is honored at the PromaxBDA conferences by the Don LaFontaine Legacy Award. How did that come about?
A dear friend, Rudy Gaskins, went to the president of Promax, Jonathan Block-Verk, and planted a seed with him and they loved the idea.
I went in to meet with Jonathan, since he did not really know Don, and shared some insight about the kind of man Don was to our family and to the voice over community.
It is a wonderful honor to have this award to carry forth the ideals and the spirit of Don's gift to us, and that the advertising world acknowledges voice over artists as an integral part of what they do to sell product, movies and TV shows.
Thank you, Nita. What didn't I ask you that you'd like to say to voice actors?
I would like to say that I really had no idea how far-reaching Don's voice was throughout the community of the voice actors of the world.
I am so moved as I've heard stories about how Don has influenced people's careers or helped them one way or another. And I want to thank everyone for their outpouring of love, support and respect for Don's legacy and for our family.
Don wanted the voice over artists to be a community and through articles like this, his desire for community, his good will and legendary work will live on.
TO LEARN MORE ...
For more about Nita Whitaker LaFontaine and her book, please visit:
Finding My Voice: http://amzn.to/PxFRwN
And for a special half-price ($110) discount ticket to the Aug. 25, 2012 That's Voiceover event in Chicago, just click here and enter the promo code VOXTRA.
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