3 Tips for Actors New to Dialects and Accents

So let's say you're an actor, and you've been having some success.  Let's say your agent or manager calls you and says, "Hey sport!  I gotcha an audition for Game of Thrones!!" or "Hey there guy! You have an audition for Fargo!"  

Now you ask yourself, "Do I know the accent I need for this audition?"

If you're an actor who doesn't have a lot of experience or training in accents and dialects this can be a scary proposition.  The best bet for your career is to make sure you never are in this position, but how do I begin if I don't have the kind of training that I need right now.  For someone new to dialects this can seem like a daunting task but don't worry, there are a few things you can do right away to... 

Prepare for the future!!

Here are 3 tips for actors without dialect or accent training to start prepping 

1) Find a Good Dialect Coach that you can work well with.

This is THE most important step to take to be successful as a dialect actor!  Think of it like this: You wouldn't take on a role or try to get a role that features heavy use of martial arts without finding a great martial arts instructor to train with who can teach you to master the technique you need, would you? I thought not!

Whether you come to me, find one on your own (go to www.DialectCoaches.com), or get a recommendation from an acting teacher or friend, your friendly neighborhood dialect coach can help you from A to Z when it comes to feeling at home in dialect work.  For my own part, I can work with you in the beginning to identify which dialects you are most likely to be cast using (we call this dialect typing), and help you build a roster of dialects so when that call comes you're not out in the snow without an accent on (great metaphor right?)!

Remember a good dialect coach's job is to help you book more work!!

2) Get Interested in your own unique and cool way of talking!

Believe it or not, you already talk in an accent!  The way you speak every day and in different situations is your own native dialect.  This dialect tells us LOTS of information about you: your background, where you're from, how your parents taught you to speak, social and economic background... EVERYTHING!  Dialect is identity, and the more you can get curious about your own dialect, the easier it'll be for you to learn the new ways of talking that make up the dialects you're looking to master.

3) Try Some Accents on for Size

So even if you've never played around with accents or dialects before one of the best ways to get ready to work with them and your dialect coach is to try an accent or two on for size.  Try copying a cool accent you hear on TV or in a movie.  Try copying the way a friend talks.  Just try it on and don't be afraid to get it WRONG a bunch of times. (Keep in mind that this step is only the beginning - you should NEVER take an accent that you just "try out" to an audition or on set!)  Learning to make new speech sounds is like learning to dance, or ski, or use a power tool.  It's a skill like any other, and as a skier myself I can tell you that you don't learn to ski by watching another skier ski.  You learn by trying it out, and you certainly learn by falling more than a few times.  

So try some accents out, and have fun getting them wrong more than a few times.  You can trust your dialect coach to help you iron out all the kinks the more you work together!


Anyway... Those are my thoughts.