Jake Foushee had a cold.
He was 13 at the time, at his home outside Chapel Hill, N.C.
"I woke up the next day and my voice went from way up here" — he pitches his voice high — "to how it is right now," he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. Jake's voice had sunk into a bass that somehow seemed familiar.
By 14, he realized he had a knack for impersonating the voice-over artist Don LaFontaine, known for beginning movie trailers with the phrase, "In a world ..." He hoped to make the same career for himself someday.
"I'd have my friends during the day just give me ideas for different types of movie trailers," he says. "And I'd go home and come up with scripts for them."
Jake recorded himself voicing a trailer he wrote for the movie Apocalypse, and it went viral. Soon, Good Morning America was knocking on his door. Ellen DeGeneres wasn't far behind, and that's where she gave Jake a big surprise.
"We called the Abrams Artists Agency in New York City — one of the most highly regarded voice-over, talent and literary agencies in the industry, and they would like to officially sign you," Degeneres told him in front of her audience.
"I was really excited about that," Jake says, "and insanely surprised. I couldn't even believe it."
Back home in North Carolina, his overnight success led to some extra attention at school.
"They're all excited because it's pretty cool that they know someone who came from such a small town and went this big in so little time," Jake says. He's enjoyed the support of his girlfriend, who he's had "since before all this started. She's really happy for me, and she's with me through it all."
As for voice-over work, Jake hasn't signed a deal yet, but says he could be voicing a movie trailer as early as the next few months.
"My mom and my dad are having conferences and getting everything worked out, so hopefully we'll get a lot of the big stuff going this summer," he says.
First he has to make it to summer vacation. School's out in about a week.
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