Sunday, May 22, 2011

More Fun with Dialects

Yep.  It's official.  A half-hour show is simply NOT enough time to teach you a dialect.  Even one as relatively straightforward as RP (Standard British, Queen's English, Received Pronunciation, take your pick).

I imagine it was somewhat entertaining to hear me try to cram in the rest of the dialect into the last five minutes of the show, but clearly we needed to come back to it.  So, join me this Thursday at 8 pm Pacific Standard Time so that we can keep playing around with the sounds that come out of our mouths.

In the meantime, let's talk about something that can pretty much make or break your dialect work in any role that requires you to step outside of your normal speech patterns.  We've all watched those performances where the dialect is letter perfect--all the i's dotted and the t's crossed--and yet somehow it just doesn't work.  What's the problem?

Well, let me tell you.  The dialect is the main focus.  There's such a concentration on making sure the accent's precise that the acting goes out the window.  When it comes to dialect work, we need to work hard to make sure we're accurate, but then when it comes to performance, we need to let go and really play the part.  If the focus is still on the dialect, it will come across as false.

Basically, the idea is this--does a British person think about how they're speaking, or do they typically focus on who they're speaking to and what they're saying?  The same needs to be true for us as well.  At the end of the day, an accent is to enhance a character we're playing.  It's more important to be consistent and believable than it is to be letter-perfect.

So, that's it until my show... again, that's this Thursday at 8 pm Pacific.  I'll hear you there!

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