GKN Weekly Update 12/12/11

Good evening everyone, and welcome to the “twilight” (the time of day, not the silly movies) edition of the Good Karma Network. I had a full day of recording so I couldn’t get to it until just now. Sorry to keep you waiting!

So, I just finished narrating two more amazing sci-fi stories for Infinivox: “The Mists of Time” by Tom Purdom and “Things Undone” by John Barnes. (BTW you can read the stories by clicking on the links). These are the 35th & 36th sci-fi short stories that I have narrated and I’ve loved every one of them. I must say that these two are particularly good!

Both stories called for accents, which I’m always happy to do. Mists of Time required multiple British dialects since it took place on an anti-slavery ship patrolling the African coast (lots of explosions!). Things Undone was much more difficult. One of the main characters has a Dutch accent. I haven’t done a Dutch accent before so it certainly was a challenge!

TIP OF THE WEEK: So, how do you do an accent you’re not even familiar with, much less proficient in, and make it sound convincing?

1. Determine the key substitutions. Most dialects have key vowel or consonant substitutions. For example, in Dutch, there is no voiced or unvoiced “TH” sound. Voiced as in “this”, unvoiced as in “thing”. Instead, they use a “d” sound and an “s” sound. So “this thing” becomes “dis sing”. Say it out loud. Does it sound a bit German but not too thick? Then you’re doing it right!

2. Find good examples. I used the actor Jeroen Krabbé. He was the bad guy in the Harrison Ford movie “the Fugitive”; the doctor, not the one-armed man. I didn’t try to do a Krabbe imitation, I just used him as a guide for overall tone while I used the key substitutions. Rutger Hauer is another good example, but who am I to try to sound like Rutger Hauer?

BTW Goldmember is a BAD example. Isn’t dat veird?

3. Know your audience. My audience isn’t Dutch, it’s American. Most Americans wouldn’t know a Dutch accent if it came up and bit them on their windmill, anyway. My job is to entertain the audience and not pull them out of the moment by making the accent too stereotypical (See Goldmember) or too accurate, which would make it almost unintelligible for American ears.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: If the path you’re on is beaten, it’s not your path. Joseph Campbell

STUFF!: I use “Accents” by Robert Blumenfeld to work on my dialects. It even comes with a CD so you can hear the accents!

From Tom Dheere’s apartment, this is Tom Dheere, GKN News…