Find Your Voice...
When you train with me, whether as my private client, online, or in a class you'll be pushed to your limits while being guided to a place where you can find and access the voice that can only be described as - YOUR VOICE...
What Kind of Training?
I am an experienced Key Dialect Coach and teach from the perspective of Kight-Thompson Speechwork and Fitzmaurice Voicework, along with multiple other techniques and approaches tailored specifically to each client.
Click for an overview of Fitzmaurice Voicework and Knight-Thompson Speechwork all that they entail.
So... What's a Dialect?
You've probably heard them called accents as well. Like noses, we all have one!
I'm sure you've noticed by now that people sound and speak differently depending on where they are from. At is most basic level these differences in sounds and patterns of speech are dialects.
Usually in actor training we get taught a "Standard American Dialect" or "General American Dialect". I tend to describe these as "so-called Standard American" (SCSA) or "so-called General American" (SCGA) because in real life, there's no such thing as a General American Dialect. SCGA is a made up dialect that speech teachers have been teaching for years in as a way to try to prescribe what is "good speech" for the stage.
(Note: SCGA is a term coined by Knight-Thompson Creators Dudley Knight and Phil Thompson and as their disciples we have continued the use of the term! - see www.ktspeechwork.com)
For actors dialect is a HUUUUUUUGE and important part of character work. Think to yourself right now about how you talk. What sounds do you love to say? What sounds do you not love to say? How high does your voice go? How low? How much pitch variety does your voice have? Does your jaw move a lot when you talk, or not very much? How about your lips? Is there a funny way your parents or friends say some words that you copy? Any you say the opposite of?
All of these things are part of a dialect - not just the sounds you make, but the physical changes too!
Now think how it would be if I used my magic powers (I have magic dialect powers BTW) and took away one or two of those characteristics you've just identified. You wouldn't feel so much like yourself anymore, would you?
Dialect is a very integral part of your identity. It is as integral to your character's identity as well. Dialect carries all the information about where you come from, who raised you, taught you to speak, what your education was, social status, religion, insecurities and hangups... essentially everything that makes up your SELF IDENTITY!
Since we all have a dialect of our own we tend to get told in actor training that our accent is getting in the way of our acting careers. This is because you don't want all your characters to have the same accent that you have in real life. Some of them will, some of them won't. But whoever told you that your accent is getting in the way of your career isn't necessarily wrong.
Think how many more kinds of characters would be available to you if you could suddenly take on the vocal characteristics (think dialect here!) of someone from the North of London; or Galway, Ireland; or Johannesburg, South Africa; or Monroe, Louisiana; or Southie in Boston; or the Bronx. or Chicago's south side, or... NAME ANY PLACE!!
Now imagine that you could also pair that dialect with all the psychology and emotional work you do as an actor...You'd be a potential powerhouse!
How long does it take to learn a Dialect?
Well, that depends... not the answer you were looking for, right?
If you need to master a dialect for a film or television role it's usually good to budget 12-16 weeks to do so. Since it's a completely different way of speaking than you usually employ in real life it takes that long to learn the sounds and physical changes, and then the bulk of the time is then spent becoming fluent in the dialect so that you can not only say your lines in the dialect, but you can also improvise in the dialect. That's true mastery!
It will take longer if you are new to dialects and voice and speech work than it will if you have had previous training and experience.
Important note: The day before your audition is too late to get started working on your dialect. You should have at least 6 dialects in your back pocket to pull for auditions. As your Key Dialect Coach, I can help you to identify which dialects you should know for casting purposes!
Do I need to know IPA to learn a dialect?
The short Answer... Yes! And No.
IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet) is a fantastic tool that Dialect coaches have been using forever to help teach dialects. It's made up of a series of symbols used to represent the physical actions that we make to make any of the sounds of speech - from consonants to vowels.
It's usually taught in conservatory training programs, but not every actor finds it an easy tool to use - just like not every actor is a good mimic or can easily hear the differences in accents. Even if it's hard for you to think in as analytical and detailed a way as IPA sometimes requires, my goal is to make sure you master the dialect you are going after, so I'll sometimes use it, and sometimes not. It all depends on the situation! I have lots of tools available to help you learn a dialect!!
But if you want to learn IPA so you can go further in your own work as a dialect actor, I will certainly teach you!!!
What are my Rates?
I'm glad you asked...
Since I can coach you in person, online, via telephone, on set, in studio, or any combination of those, my rates will vary depending on the situation.
I can also tell you that I have options for EVERY budget, so even if you're a poor struggling artist, you can absolutely work with me.
Get in touch with me for specific information about your needs!!