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Lose the Accent

July 26, 2017

Why being accent-neutral will help you gain roles

What do actors like Russell Crowe, Kate Winslet, Tracy Ullman and Christian Bale all have in common?  Well, none of them were born in America, yet they've all played Americans, complete with very convincing American accents.  There are also a number of American actors such as Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon (just to name a few) who are incredibly talented when it comes to dialect and colloquialisms that are not their own.

Being vocally-versatile is incredibly valuable to an actor.  Unfortunately it is not often the case where an actor is able to establish a noteworthy career while toting a distinct accent (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Matthew McConaughey, for example, are exceptions).

So while your child's sweet Southern drawl or Midwestern vernacular may be quite charming and land him an accent-specific role, it is imperative that he or she learns to also neutralize the accent when needed.

Adrian R'Mante who played Esteban on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody had to learn to adjust the way he spoke.

"People may think that I speak like Esteban on a regular basis," R'Mante explained, "but surprisingly when I came to Hollywood from Florida I had a southern accent.  It helps in auditions to be able to pull out the Latino accent, but just as easily speak like an average Californian when needed."

So what's a sweet 'lil thang to do?

Well, to start, you could hire a voice or accent coach to work with your child on his or her accents.  Not only can accent coaches teach your child how to speak with a non-American accent (British, Jamaican, German, etc) for a specific role, but the coach can also help your child to tone down the elements of his speech that are region-specific.

If you as the parent are also personally aware of some dead-giveaway speech inflections, you can work at home to correct them.  For example, avoid saying works like ya'll (Southern) or overemphasizing the "aw" or "ou" sound in words like dog (eg. dawg) (Northern).

Click here to search coaches and classes in your area.