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Tips for Nailing an Accent

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Nailing an accent is essential for some roles and if you want to get a leg up on the competition, you’ll need to perfect the art of dialect.  Here are some ways you can start working on your accent abilities.

Training your muscles is essential.  Learning a new accent means learning how to make you muscles cooperate with what you’re trying to say.  The more flexible you can make your mouth, the more believable the accent will be.  When you’re trying to mouth words in a way that is foreign, it is difficult to express them with intention for the mere fact that you’re not used to speaking this way.  Focusing on moving your muscles in a way that aids in the development of a new speech pattern is key to building an accent.

Getting an accent down pat may also mean you immersive yourself into a different culture for a period of time.  Many actors who have the financial ability to do so will temporarily relocate.  Being around the dialect all day, every day and interacting with the people who live there is a great, hands-on way to learn a new way to speak.  Often, when actors spend a significant amount of prep time in the area and integrate well, they will naturally begin to converse with those around them.  The brain naturally adjusts as one assimilates.

Working with a coach is another excellent way to adapt your speech pattern to the one you need to learn.  Speech coaches are trained to understand fully the nuances of each accent.  You can gain a lot by enrolling in a workshop designed to help you nail it.  Oftentimes, there is more than one course, and, over time, you can more fully develop your skillset.  You might even be able to pick up more than one new way to speak, and practice makes perfect.

There are many ways in which you can effectively learn an accent if one is required for a role.  Be prepared to convey that you can speak the way the casting director expects, however, at the audition.  This means, it can be particularly beneficial to learn a variety of the most common accents, dialects, and speech patterns before trying out.  It’s important to step out of your comfort zone every now and again as you’re pursuing your career and opt to take on new challenges.  You never know when this will come in handy!

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