AxcessChat with Actor Phil Hersh

Actor and voiceover actor Phil Hersh has quite an adventurous journey from Canada to Hollywood and now in Florida, working in movies and TV. With over 200 IMDb credits, Phil is a prolific performer and lovingly goes about his acting work. Here he shares with AxcessNews a page or two from his incredible journey to the screen and life in America.

Phil Hersh’s Journey as an Actor in America

Actor Phil Herish in Reciprocity
Image @ Phil Hersh

Your IMDb page says that when you were a kid, you caused the school bus to stop by making the sound of police siren. Tell us a bit about it.

I must have been 5 or 6 years old, dating back to mid 1970s, when the infamous school bus incident took place. I heard a police car in the vicinity & started to impersonate the police siren. The bus driver stopped the bus & asked who did that? Everyone pointed to me. Afterwards I had a meeting with the principal. Much to my surprise, he was impressed. I can’t say the same for my parents. I had a knack for doing sound effects early on & that’s when the legend was born.

So you knew as a kid you wanted to be an actor? But not specifically a voice actor? Or you wanted to be both at a young age?

Since I was a child, I always aspired to be an actor for TV/film which I accomplished & still continue to do so here in Florida. Being a voice actor came naturally to me so I kept both lanes open for any opportunities that would come my way & there were many thankfully.

You have hundreds of credits on IMDb, mainly as a voice actor. Is that your primary recognition in the entertainment industry?

My IMDB credits are fairly balanced. 98 as an on-camera actor & another 107 as a voice actor. 205 credits & counting. There’s a lot more voice work opportunities compared to film from my own experience.

What famous TV shows you used to love as a kid?

There were many shows I enjoyed watching as a child from Little House on the Prairie, Emergency!, Hawaii 5-0, The Dukes of Hazard, The Incredible Hulk & Magnum PI. I also enjoyed comedies such as The Carol Burnett Show, Mork & Mindy, plus Family Ties. They don’t produce shows like that anymore that had value.

How did you move to America and what were some of the biggest changes you had to adjust to life here?

Where I’m from in Montreal, Que (Canada), there was a separation movement taking place politically, and my parents felt the future was very dim. We went from bilingual (French & English) to French only. Moving to Florida was quite an adjustment, especially regarding the weather. Besides moving from a frigid climate to a tropical humid one – Miami, Florida – there was no hockey, which happens to be my favorite sport.

Have you done radio work?

I have in fact. In addition to doing past work on talk radio/DJ work, I’m currently a co-host for podcast entitled “A Face for Radio with Richard Marks”. I also do sound alike work impersonating various celebs/political figures & voicing original fictitious characters.

You have been to Hollywood. What major changes have you observed or lived through when you first moved to LA until now?

I lived in Hollywood for a little over 20 years, but also did work in FL & other states. When I first arrived, I felt anything was possible to attain. I haven’t felt that way for a long time, sadly. The major changes I have seen firsthand would be the overall decay of California from ridiculous regulations such as AB5 (anti-independent contractor law) since January 2020, unaffordable housing, a growing homeless population, and the lack of medical freedom. The primary reason I was forced to leave was because of medical tyranny being imposed by the powers that be. No jab, no job.

You live in Florida now. How do you compare your life here as against life in Los Angeles?

In comparing CA to FL, there’s far more freedom in Florida. I can legally freelance as an independent contractor, which I can’t do in CA. However, Florida is a much smaller market. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to CA. I’m still adjusting as we speak. The pace is a lot different, but I have still been able to book work in Florida, thankfully.

How do you see the standards of performance and quality of filmmaking change over the past decade?

The technology has changed drastically. Today, you can shoot a film on an iPhone compared to 10 years ago. The biggest change & challenge is AI and it’s incredibly alarming. To say that AI will replace actors or voiceover artists is not far-fetched. It needs to be dealt with or expect catastrophic consequences. It’s one major reason why there’s a writers strike since May 2023 and a TV/Film strike since July this year.

What are some of your current projects and what is a dream project you want to do next?

Recently, I worked on a film called Loose Ends playing a rogue cop. It’s currently hitting the film festival circuit. Another film I worked on last year in Florida, True Valor will premier next month. I play the role of Mr. Alvarez in it. My dream project is to work on a period piece western as an outlaw or being in a hockey movie either as a player or play by play announcer.

Thank you Phil for this chat.

It’s my pleasure.

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Ernest Dempsey

Ernest Dempsey is a writer, editor, blogger, and journalist based in Orlando, FL. He runs a popular blog Word Matters! and edits the journal and its blog Recovering the Self. Dempsey is a skeptic, vegetarian, and advocate for animal and human rights.