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GKN Weekly Update 7/17/12 – How Do You Maintain A Dialect When Narrating?

Good afternoon on yet another balmy (read: disgusting) day! The only thing I hate more than this kind of swampy heat is using the AC all day. It dries out my pipes, yo!

So, yesterday I narrated the sci-fi audiobook “Angel of Europa” by Alan M. Steele.

It was only 63 pages long (about four hours of narration), but MAN this one was a toughie! Of the thirteen speaking characters; three were German, two were French, one was British, and one was Spanish. Oh, and one was the Devil. On top of that,  I had to narrate an exchange in German between two characters AND sound like I know what the hell I’m talking about!

Needless to say, it was a challenge. Here is my personal problem: my German accent is good and my French accent is good, but if I try to do them back & forth it’s one big Romance Language of a mess! The dialects start merging and becomes this bizarre hybrid that just sounds silly.

So, how did I handle it…?

TIP OF THE WEEK: Acting and attitude. I relied on my acting training to keep me focused and inhabit the characters. I also tried to maintain their attitude when speaking. The German character was a nice, straight-laced guy and the French character was a seductress and a murderer. However, I tried not to “indicate”, either. Indicating is when you use cliche tactics to convince the audience (and yourself) that you are acting. To use a stage/on-camera  example, when it’s cold, you clutch your arms and say “Brr!”. If you’re cold, be cold, don’t ACT cold! Work from the inside out, not the outside in.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. Elbart Hubbard

STUFF!: Here’s an interesting question: how does, for example, a French person speak with a Spanish accent? A Spanish person speak with a German accent? Since I was born & raised in America I have no ear for this…

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


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