One of the hardest skills to learn as an actor or actress is not immersing yourself in the role, engaging the audience, or even tapping into the emotions of the character. It is how to put on an accent, so it sounds authentic and, most importantly, credible.
Dialect coach Sammi Grant told Voices: “It’s important for voice actors to simply develop the skill of knowing how to learn an accent – whether it’s in general for repertoire-building, or for a specific role – because just being able to learn accents is a talent on its own.”
Being able to do accents is a huge asset to an actor or actress, which is why so many Hollywood stars can successfully slip into English, American, Australian, and European roles with ease.
To perfect different accents, Ms Grant recommends professional training first and foremost, as muttering a single word wrong can give you away.
She also suggested listening to authentic speakers to learn the sound, then try to replicate these with your mouth through placement – where the accent is in the mouth – and oral posture – how the lips, jaw and tongue move to recreate that sound.
The next step is to practice enough to be able to do “spontaneous speech”, with Ms Grant adding this is how to “truly master an accent”.
Speak to friends and family with the accent, talk to yourself out loud or chat to strangers and see if they catch you out.
While some of the best actors in the world tend to be good at pulling off different accents, they do sometimes fall short.
Indeed, the Daily Record recently named Mel Gibson as the culprit of the worst Scottish accent on screen, followed by Chris Hemsworth in The Huntsman: Winter’s War, and Mike Myers in So I Married an Axe Murderer.
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