How to Talk to your Dialect Coach...

This might seem like a silly thing to address, but I think that it's important.  You are probably asking, "Why do I need to talk to my Dialect Coach differently?"  Well, I'll tell ya!

 THE BIG REASON - (i.e. This is why!!)

Your Dialect Coach is here to help you book more work and to become more successful both in the audition room and on set and in rehearsals.  

What does that mean?  You will have a relationship with your Dialect Coach that is not dissimilar to the one you have with your favorite acting coach or your intimate confidant - your agent or manager.  But while an agent or manager is someone who you feel you have to put on a good professional face for (sometimes), your acting or dialect coach is someone who knows both you and your acting process (and can influence your process) intimately and often sees you as the artist with something to say as opposed to how you will contribute to a book of actors or a book of business.

So how should I talk to my Dialect Coach?

1) Be honest about your goals!

A good Dialect Coach will want to help you achieve them, and will be able to add to your goals list.  Above all, your dialect coach will be interested in helping you develop technique and skills to set you apart from your competition and to help you achieve your career goals.  Just to highlight, I tell all my clients that I will be one of the only people outside of themselves who will be as interested in their success as they are!  And I mean it!!!


2) Be Specific!

Whether it's a period piece or modern, or if it's a classical theater piece or film, or if it's an audition, indie film, or major motion picture, your dialect coach can help you to find the voice of the character you are playing, and to help you weld it to the fabric of your acting.  EVERY character you play has an accent or dialect.  Use your coach to mine into the layers of the text and character to find this accent in all its specificity and they will help you to attach and internalize all the information you've found so that you can KILL it on set or in rehearsal!  The more specific you can be with your coach in terms of acting and the voice your character has (or that you think it has), the better off you will be with your coach!





3) Be curious about what you don't know!

Your coach is probably an expert in something that you aren't! (Dialects right?) And since they want to help you beat your competition and book LOTS of work, it's good to be humble and learn how their knowledge interfaces with what you know at a deep level as your acting technique and artistry and talent.  You will ALWAYS know your talent and instrument better than any teacher or coach you will ever have, but they will be able to see the blocks in the way of that talent FAR, FAR better than you will.  Allow them into your process and get curious about what they see and how they guide you.  Since dialect is a layer of storytelling in film, tv, and theatre (Thanks to Pamela Vanderway at for this bit of gold!), your coach will want to layer your work into your acting and will want to fuse it with your acting work so you don't have to think about it while acting (a good idea, yes?)!  Be open to this process, and don't be too protective or possessive of "your process".  Acknowledge what you don't know about even the smallest part of the process.  There are lots of mysteries in any role, and your dialect coach will have a unique insight into them, and how to help you explore them.  Be honest with them, and let them help you explore!!!  

Imagine your Dialect Coach to be a great mountain guide in the Alps.  You wouldn't have gone to them if you didn't know at leas a little bit about mountain climbing, but you certainly wouldn't know where to go and how not to die on any specific glacier without them.  Be sure to communicate clearly with them so they can help you out!!

Anyhow... Those are my thoughts!