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Exclusive Interview With Voiceover Artist Philip Banks
By James Whittington, Monday 25th January 2010
You may not know his face but Philip Banks is the vocal talent behind many of Zone Horror’s promotional clips. We decided it was time viewers got to know this enigmatic man a little better. ZH: When you were growing did you have a career plan?   PH: Not at all, just fell into something. School, college, University – Read Law and Economics at Oxford, left with a double first.   ZH: How did you get started in the Voiceover business?   PB: A friend worked in radio and I was taking her out for dinner. The production team with whom she was working needed a promo (trailer) recording and no one would do it. Rather than be late for dinner, I did it.   ZH: Is it a tough business for new artists?   PB: Chances of not making a penny are 95%. If you make £25,000 a year as a Voice Over you’ll be in the top 3% of voices in the world. The top few dozen makes up to £2,000,000 a year.   ZH: Do you have a special daily vocal routine that keeps your voice at full strength?   PB: No.   ZH: You’ve been with Zone Horror for sometime, how do you tackle each project with the channel, meaning do you have a special “Zone Horror” voice you use?   PB: When I read the script before we start to record then a mood or style will come to me, the producers are very good at ensuring I keep going in the right direction. The main tone of voice is the tone which would accompany a piercing stare.   ZH: Do you have much input into the scripts you read out?   PB: No as they have to fit with the audio clips and pictures the producer has put together. I may suggest slight changes but they’re usually greeted with a salvo of abuse and comments like “For an extra £5 we could’ve got Joe Pasquale!”   ZH: Some of your pieces for Zone Horror are very tongue in cheek; do you have a wicked sense of humour?   PB: I am very sarcastic, cruel and tend to take no prisoners. I seldom get invited to social gatherings more than once… the real tragedy is that I’m quite proud of that fact.   ZH: Is it true you record all your voiceovers from a shed located in your garden?   PB: No. Misunderstanding as my friend’s twin daughters refer to the vocal booth in the studio in my house as my “wee huttie”. Knowing that I live near the beach a journalist I spoke to assumed I meant a beach hut.   ZH: What’s been the most bizarre voiceover session you’ve ever done?
  PB: Commercial for Alfa Romeo. Sound of an eight-year-old boy playing with a toy car. That session contains the best piece of direction I ever received “Great Philip. One more but this time really let the clutch out!”   ZH: Have you have any unfulfilled ambitions?   PB: I quite like to be a Bond villain. I’m a ugly, bad tempered git so no acting involved except the Eastern European accent   ZH: Is there a voiceover that you wished you’d done?   PB: When I was growing up I used to see the Disney true-life adventures at the cinema. The story of the life of say a Grizzly Bear, beautifully narrated; would have liked to have done one of those.   ZH: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a voiceover artist?   PB: Find out why people would buy your voice and learn to sell that. The real trick is to get people to BUY YOU. People say the business is very competitive but that’s only true if you’re A VOICE but if you’re selling YOUR voice then it isn’t. Think about it; if someone wants Philip Banks’ voice where else can they go? I’ve cornered the market!   ZH: So what’s next for you?   PB: Never know. Can start the day with an empty diary and end up working until midnight. My batting average is around 900 voice over sessions a year, some last 3 minutes while other can last 3 hours. Next job is 2 TV commercials for America for a Chef School, beyond that, no idea ….something will turn up, it always does. In the mean time I have two Border Collies who are both happy to run about on the beach.   ZH: Philip Banks, thank you very much.

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