I love doing accents.
Before I was a voice talent, I used to do accents all the time. It was fun playing around with them growing up. And I will neither confirm nor deny that I developed a knack for accents whilst playing Dungeons & Dragons.
I just finished narrating “Claudius Rex” by John Murphy.
It’s a sci-fi murder mystery where the main character has a Brooklyn accent, the AI in his head has a British accent, and the story takes place in Boston where the majority of the characters have a, you guessed it, Boston accent. Oh, and throw in one guy from Pakistan and a mysterious gentlemen representing a foreign government, so I made him German for contrast. You know, for fun?
How do you keep track of all this? How do you keep from screwing it up all the time as you hop back and forth between characters and dialects?
TIP OF THE WEEK
I don’t care who you are or how long you’ve been at this, this **** is hard. It takes a ton of focus to pull it off and you’re still gonna mess up. A lot. I’ve learned that your accent doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, most of the time it shouldn’t be. If it’s too authentic, one of two things (if not both) may happen:
1) If you spend too much time on getting the accent right, you’re not focusing on telling the story.
2) Nobody will understand a freaking word you’re saying.
If you’re going to do an accent in an audio book, do an indication of an accent. Use the major syllable and vowel substitutions so when your average listener hears it, they immediately realize you’re playing someone who’s British or Russian or whatever. And if you’re worried that someone is going to bash you on Audible because your accent wasn’t authentic enough, you didn’t do a good enough job of telling the story or they need to get a life. Or maybe both.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
I believe that theater is a superior form of entertainment. An actor spreads culture. An actor spreads dignity. And if he respects it, he will make others respect it. Karl Malden
From my village to yours; this is Tom Dheere, GKN News…
Tom Dheere is a 19-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a coach at Edge Studio, voiceover business consultant known as the Voice Over Strategist, and is currently writing & producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.