This post marks the first in a series of interviews with some of my favourite folks in the Voiceover community. This week I chatted with Voiceover Artist, Philip Banks, whose distinctive, gravely tones have been heard everywhere from CNBC to The Horror Channel. Ever seen the Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon, watched CNN or seen the Star Wars Rogue One Trailer? If so, then you are one of the 300 million people around the world who hear Philip’s voice every single week!
BEYOND THE BOOTH
Philip, born and bred in Somerset, now calls Scotland home and lives by the beach in Portgordon with his border collie, Bess. Not only is he a talented VO, a qualified Lawyer, Oxford Alumni and proud owner of the driest sense of humour in the VO industry, but an experienced pilot, who started flying gliders back in 1974 (the man can do it all!). As a nervous flyer, I couldn’t resist asking Philip how to get through my first post-Covid flight with my nerves intact. He reassuringly informed me that not only is flying safer than driving myself to the supermarket but I’m more likely to die from a snake bite in my Glasgow flat than as the result of a plane crash!
When not in his booth or flying aeroplanes, you might find him with a pen (or keyboard) in hand. ‘I need to write’ he claims, explaining that writing, ‘not for anyone else but for [himself] is cathartic’. His literary musings often come in the form of bite sized tweets, on his twitter account @theVoiceoverist.
NUGGETS OF WISDOM
Philip suggests that it’s not just the voice or training, which makes an artist stand out but everything else they bring to the booth. Each of us is the sum of all our interesting, quirky hobbies and life experiences. He implores VO’s to ‘engage themselves in the real parts of their life’ and bring it back into the booth with them. In doing so, Voiceover Artists will be in a better position to ‘channel the mood and the feeling’ of every script, which is the secret sauce to a great sounding read!
‘It’s never about us, but about them’ he cites as the best piece of advice he’s ever been given. As Voiceover Artists ‘we have no right to put on airs and graces’ he explains, but are there ‘to give the right performance until [the client] has got what they are looking for’.
Even before the Covid apocalypse began, Philip has been voicing much of his work from his home studio in Portgordon. With many of us no longer working from offices or external studios, both within the VO community and in the wider world, I wondered if Philip had any words of wisdom on how to make working from home, work for you. The secret to staying productive whilst working from your home is ‘taking regular brain breaks’, stepping out of the booth or your workspace, ‘even if it’s only for fifteen minutes to walk the dog’, to give your brain a much needed chance to reboot.
It was great chatting to Philip and getting the chance to pick his brain on all things VO (and aviation!). If you want to find out more about Philip and his Border Collie Bess, you can find them on Twitter or on his website www.philipbanks.com
Let me know who you would like to hear from next!