About Voice + Dialect
Voices & Dialects are my passion.
The voice is an incredible instrument – it speaks, sings, screams, and sighs … it expresses YOU. A dialect is a merely a facet of the voice, and is uniquely part of our lived experience. Voice + Dialects give clues as to who we are, where we come from, and who we aspire to be. Voice Coaching can help define a character in performance, and Dialect Modification can lead to being better understood on stage, in business, or in everyday life.
Truth is tantamount to performance, and part of that truth includes the voice & dialect of a character. I work with the actor to find the character's voice + dialect in performance through a close examination of the character's lived experience, class, race, gender, and beyond.
Anyone can learn a dialect! I will show you how to do it –and make it fun.
As an American-born film gypsy who has lived and worked in over 5 countries, I am uniquely attuned to what makes an individual tick. 10% of my job is voice + dialect, 90% is tailoring the coaching to the individual.
In pre-production and rehearsals the actor and I drill: sound changes, oral posture, musicality, rhythm & intonation, and colloquialisms until the dialect is ready for performance. We may work with recordings, with imagery or kinaesthetically to achieve the desired results.
Perhaps most importantly, the actor and I work together to bridge technique and truth as we incorporate the dialect seamlessly into performance.
In Rehearsal & On Set Support
The most ideal situation when working on a production is being in rehearsal or with the actor on set. It allows for the actors to be warmed-up appropriately, and for discreet notes to be passed along at opportune moments. The actors, director and I develop a working relationship that enhances production’s overall vision in the most seamless way possible.
Productions find that scripts can sometimes change quickly, so a dialect coach helps keep continuity throughout the process. In the rehearsal room I can troubleshoot vocal queries and work on text in a breakout room. On Set support includes giving notes to the Script Supervisor for the editing room.
Pre-Production Research & Design
Perhaps a production requires a dialect from a past era, or an actor needs to sound like a real-life person. In unique cases a script may require an entirely different language, either real or imaginary.
This is where pre-production research and design comes in. I read scripts and consult with directors / producers on the vocal vision. I may pull recordings from my archive, or create my own. This allows a production to design the voices and dialects much like any other aspect of a show.
Post-Production ADR Coaching
Film and television usually goes back to smooth out dialogue & sound issues in a process known as Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR).
I may prep an actor on the cues before they go to their ADR session, or I can be in the recording studio giving notes in real time. This can be particularly useful if production is giving their feedback simultaneously. We then work as a team to create the desired sound.
Text Analysis & Coaching
When it comes to difficult scripts or writing, it can be useful to have a voice coach in the room to work with the actors on the text. A director may have a specific vision for the voice or text that can be brought to life through text coaching.
I’ve worked with productions on poetic language, Shakespeare, contemporary dialogue & unique writing styles. I help the actor find the specific rhythms, punctuation and objectives in the writing. The director is leading every step of the way as I work to make their vocal vision a reality.
Audition & Self Tape Prep
Auditions can often be last minute & require a convincing dialect. An actor cannot be expected to have every accent to hand, which is where dialect coaching comes in.
I work directly with the text so that the actor feels confident to act in the accent. We may cover sound changes, the music of the accent, and the overall mouth shape. Written and recorded notes may be given as necessary.
Actors today are primarily getting work in film & television, meaning that their voices may not be stage ready. However, the theatre requires an actor to be a vocal athlete. Vocal coaching prepares the actor appropriately and deals with vocal problems as they arise.
I work with the body, breathing and the voice in order for the actor to be understood truthfully onstage. I draw from my training with Patsy Rodenburg, Barbara Houseman and Jeannette Nelson.
Soften a Foreign Accent
Although it can be very difficult to ‘lose’ a foreign accent entirely, it is not entirely unheard of. And in an increasingly global market, many international actors are working in American productions.
Through accent training anyone can work to gain greater clarity and confidence in English. We focus on the music of English, the muscles of speech and the hardest vowels & consonants from the mother tongue into American or British English.
“There’s no denying the swagger brought to the play by its leading man Orlando Bloom, playing a Texas contract killer with a husky-voiced insouciance and pitch-perfect accent.”
— NY Times' Matt Wolf, reviewing KILLER JOE
ISMAEL CRUZ CORDOVA
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SARAH PIA ANDERSON
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BAD PENNY PRODUCTIONS
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SIDNEY KIMMEL ENTERTAINMENT
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PRINT ROOM AT THE CORONET
ROSE THEATRE KINGSTON
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