Two things to keep in mind:
1) Most audiences cannot distinguish between poor dialect work and a poor performance. They just sense that something is ‘wonky’ and irritating and they cease to be properly engaged in the story.
2) No other skill on an actor’s resume (not singing, dancing, bareback riding, or martial arts) is so intimately entwined with an actor’s process as is dialect work. Any dialect you use for a performance will always be inextricably linked to every action you play, every intention you pursue. If you want the freedom to do your best acting work, you must have the target dialect ready to integrate* at a project’s first read through.
* You’ll know you are ready to integrate a dialect when you’ve mastered it to the point of being able to extemporize while remaining accurate and consistent.
Posted in Dialects and Your Acting Career, FOR AGENTS, MANAGERS & CASTING ENTITIES, FOR THEATRE & PRODUCTION COMPANIES, Learning A Dialect
Tagged accent, accent acquisition, acting, actor, actor resume, actor skills, business of acting, how to learn an accent, learning an accent
Myth: Some accents are harder to learn than others.
Truth: The perception that an accent is ‘easy’ or ‘hard’ to learn is entirely relative. What is hard for you may be a piece of cake for the guy sitting next to you.
Accents that seem easy to learn typically have many sounds in common with your own personal dialect. Or, within your personal life experience, you may have had significant contact with some other dialect that has sounds and features in common with the one you are endeavoring to learn. For instance, if you grew up in Nebraska and so did both of your parents, but from the time you were two years old until you were nine, you had a live-in guest from Paris, France who spoke English with a French accent, you may find it easy to learn most of the phonemes that happen to be part of that French accent simply because you were exposed to them for so long and at such a young age. You might then in turn find it ‘easy’ to learn some type of Belgian accent, which happens to contain certain phonemes that are also common to Parisian dialects.
It’s not that the dialect itself is easier. It’s that you had a head start.
Posted in Dialect Myths, FOR AGENTS, MANAGERS & CASTING ENTITIES, FOR THEATRE & PRODUCTION COMPANIES, Learning A Dialect
Tagged accent, actor, actress, dialect, how to learn an accent, learn an accent, learning an accent