ASSASSIN'S CREED

ASSASSIN'S CREED
January 2017

Hello...

...I'm John Banks - welcome to my website.

The majority of my working life has been spent in the theatre with companies including
York Theatre Royal, Cheltenham Everyman, Sheffield Crucible, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester Royal Exchange and the National Theatre in London.

Television work includes Emmerdale, Coronation Street, and 'Allo, Allo!'. I have also worked on a number of radio drama and comedy productions with the BBC.

Since March 2009, I have enjoyed playing a huge variety of characters in numerous audio-drama stories for Big Finish Productions and Games Workshop, for whom I have performed in over 200 audio dramas*, details of which can be found in the postings below.


There are also details listed here of the more than 90 audio books* I've recorded since March 2013,
including the unabridged New Revised Standard Version of The Bible, for companies including RNIB, audible.co.uk, Hachette, W.F. Howes, Little Brown Group, Penguin Random House, Games Workshop, Fantom Films & Ladbroke Audio.

(*figures at May 2017)

I hope you find something of interest here and come back soon for further updates.


For all posts, reviews and audio samples, please scroll down...

Games Workshop

Games Workshop

Assassin's Creed

Catherine, David & me as Gully......

Catherine, David & me as Gully......
May 2016

The Herald of Sanguinius - short story

Echoes Of Revelation

Echoes Of Revelation
The Horus Heresy

The Carrion Throne

The Carrion Throne
Warhammer 40,000

Pharos - audio book

The War Doctor

The War Doctor
December 2015

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Thursday, 20 February 2014

19th Annual Audie® Awards ...and things that seize up in the night!

Phew! Perhaps some of you who are of a tweeting disposition might already know that at something like 11.30 last night, producer Neil Gardner and I finished recording Tim Waggoner's final Nekropolis novel, Dark War.

I briefly alluded to the technical challenge of recording these books in the last update a few days ago; allow me now to elucidate. Each of the three books, Nekropolis, Dead Streets and Dark War are about 400 pages in length and each was scheduled to be recorded in three four-hour sessions. That's a recording average of 130 + pages per four-hour session. To put that into perspective, a regular Big Finish script usually comes in at around 180 pages and takes sixteen hours to record over a two day period. Because of a computer glitch on Monday, we lost a bit of time, which meant that yesterday, instead of 130 pages, we actually had to record 152 - yikes!

The most I've ever managed to record is 200 pages over seven hours, which apparently is also the most Neil has ever managed to record - what a team! So, anyway, as you can imagine, we had our work cut out. As usual, I'd done quite a bit of preparation for these books so that when I went into the studio, I'd know exactly what I was doing, where the story was going and who the various characters were. I also usually give each character a different highlight colour so that my eye/brain can assimilate who's to be played next as the narration progresses - with 130 + pages to record in four hours, it's not a bad idea to have done a bit of homework!

With a regular novel, there might be a handful of central characters and a few more peripheral characters; maybe ten or so altogether. So, no problem there, just come up with ten different voices, easily remembered and off you go. As an aid, I also note down any details I might need to refer to about each character on a 'crib sheet', which I can have a quick look at if necessary. However, so many characters appear in these novels, that my crib sheet ran to 8 sides of A4 - eight sides!!! Excluding the minor players, I've made notes on 87 recurring characters, each of which, in theory, has a unique, distinctive and identifiable voice!!!

Now just in case you're tempted to think I'm overstating the trickiness and mind bending complexity of this, let me also throw into the mix the fact that only a very few of these characters are actually human; the vast majority are aliens of the most varied and bizarre kind, some without mouths, some without heads and many of them are 'shape-shifters', so each of the 87 might also have a number of 'guises', which racks up the character count considerably. An extreme example of such a character is Lord Amon, who appears in book one of the trilogy, Nekropolis.

For anyone planning to read or listen to these stories, here's a 'SPOILER ALERT' !

Still with me? Ok, so, as I was saying, Lord Amon - a Darklord and shape-shifter supreme - here's a resume of his various character 'guises':
1) a giant were-rabbit 2) a 'British' sounding man in fox-hunting attire 3) Frank Buck - a Big Game Hunter with a gravelly American voice 4) a 'Daniel Boone' type character with a Kentucky accent 5) an African Tribesman 6) a Native American 7) a Caveman 8) a "a beer-gutted, flannel-shirted, John Deere-capped, shotgun-toting hunter" 9) a Large Grey Wolf 10) a Grizzly Bear 11) a Blurry Amoeba and 12) a Giant Serpent - oh, and underlying all of that, he is also a Lycanthrope - naturally.

By 10.30 last night, my voice was fine, but my cheek/face muscles were really starting to ache and almost 24 hours later, they still do - it feels like I've had a thorough work out at the dentist. I mention all this to you now, because I'm just happy to have survived!

* * * * *


And so, to round off today's posting, it has come as a very pleasant surprise indeed to discover the audio anthology Thirteen which I took part in recording last autumn, has been nominated for a 2104 Audie Award in the category Original Work. The Audies are apparently the audio equivalent of the Oscars, so a nomination is in itself a tremendous honour. My congratulations to all involved in the project and big thanks to Neil for asking me to record Dan Abnett's story.

Here are the details:


 

The Audies, sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association (APA), is the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audio-books and spoken word entertainment.

Winners will be recognized at the Audies Gala in New York City on May 29, 2014. 




  Hidden Track (part 1) by Scott Harrison read by Barnaby Edwards
  Dead Space  by  George Mann read by Greg Wise
  A Girl, Sitting  by  Mark Morris read by Jilly Bond
  Finding The Path  by  Kaaron Warren read by Trevor White
  The Hairstyle of the Devil  by  Martin Day read by Arthur Darvill
  Down  by  Gary McMahon read by Stephen Rashbrook
  Visions  by  Cavan Scott read by Michael Maloney
  Half Life  by  Dan Abnett read by John Banks
  Hidden Track (part 2) by Scott Harrison read by Barnaby Edwards
  With Her In Spirit  by  Stephen Gallagher read by Frances Barber
  Tabula Rasa  by  Alasdair Stuart read by Lalla Ward
 One Hit Wanda  by  Kim Newman read by Samuel West
  A Glass of Water  by  Mark Wright read by Gemma Arterton
 Ghost Pit  by  Simon Clark read by Jeff Harding
 I Wish  by  Johnny Mains read by Steven Cree
  Hidden Track (part 3) by Scott Harrison read by Barnaby Edwards

Edited by Scott Harrison
Produced by Neil Gardner




 ...all for now, more just as soon as my face muscles have recovered!

No comments:

Fabius Bile

Fabius Bile
WARHAMMER 40,000

Reviews & comments:

The Malazan Empire

Over 7 books recorded since December, John Banks has had to create unique voices for 583 characters. Quite amazing!

Neil Gardner - producer

Mervyn Stone: The Axeman Cometh


John Banks is a voice genius...

Nev Fountain - writer

Mervyn Stone... played by the note-perfect John Banks.

Matt Hills - Reviews in Time and Space

Dr. Who: The Sleeping City

I also must draw attention to John Banks who is an exceptional voice artist and in this one story performs more characters that I can count. ... it is listening to episodes like this one that really do let his talents shine through.

Tony Jones - Red Rocket Rising

Highlander:

...playing several parts, was the brilliant Big Finish regular John Banks - it was as if there were about 40 different actors in the other booth.

James Moran - writer

I went for the best of the best and brought in voice artiste extraordinaire John Banks.

Paul Spragg - producer

Vienna:

...also features the mind - bogglingly versatile and reliable John Banks

Jonathan Morris - writer

Dead Funny:

The acting is first rate… wonderfully played by John Banks as Richard – his impersonation of Eric Morecambe is worth the admission money alone.

Beverly Greenberg: Bolton Evening News

A Spy Like No Other:

This is the best audio book ever.

The Cult Den

Mr. Happiness:

This early and unfamiliar play by David Mamet is a character study of a 1930s radio counsellor, dispensing suave advice to his devoted listeners. John Banks brings out the wry comedy of this – comedy quite unappreciated by the character – with a clever range of gesture and vocal tone.

Jeremy Kingston: The Times


All My Sons:

This is a beautifully crafted piece ...and it affords a wonderful opportunity for John Readman* to do his All-American Boy act as Chris Keller. This most polished and well observed performance as the blighted son of a blighted father must rank as one of his finest accomplishments yet. ( * see Profile)

The Stage

The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes

Kudos should also go to John Banks. Lestrade can be a thankless part, but Banks rose to the challenge, playing a pivotal role in this decades long arc.

Raissa Devereux - SciFiPulse

The Judgement of Sherlock Holmes

John Banks is multi-tasking, both as the superb Lestrade and also the villainous and no doubt moustache twirling Sebastian Moran. They sound completely different and I bow to his talent.

Sue Davies - SFcrowsnest


Further reviews and comments are included with specific postings throughout the site.