To Be Good in Accents is Hard Work

This clip is extremely fascinating, not only for actors and filmmakers but really anyone. In it, dialect coach Erik Singer dissects and analyzes accents from different Hollywood actors in popular movies.

I was astonished by the amount of aspects one needs to pay attention to when imitating accents and dialects. There is not only intonation, pronunciation, placement of lips, jaw and tongue needing consideration, but actors need to bear in mind the history, personality, character and setting of the story too.

Singer points out the danger of generalisation and assumption. It is so easy to fall into the trap of e.g. a general African, French, American or Russian accent. Specificity is key. Especially when you are impersonating someone specific, but even this is tricky because people are inconsistent too.

The clip is hilarious in the way the movie quotes fit in with what Singer is saying. Another thing I appreciate is how Singer is not trying to bash the actors. He makes us aware of the collaboration aspect. So much depends on the time, production and accent coach the actors had.

Imitating requires risks and tons of work, but, if you’re tenacious and master it, it’s all the more rewarding.

  • Annette is part of the acting team with The Initiative Production Company. She is a German South-African, loves the smell of freshly baked bread and constantly has a list in her head of countries to visit and more languages to learn.

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