Learn any dialect, or learn to speak without one.
Kevin Costner won the Emmy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Mini-series after I prepped him in a West Virginia accent for Hatfields & McCoys.
If you need to learn a dialect, I can coach you either in person or by phone. I coach all the most popular dialects, like English, Cockney, Irish, French, Italian, German, Australian, Brooklyn, Southern and Spanish, as well as less common dialects like Welsh, South African, Thai and hundreds more. I can coach you in any dialect of English spoken on the globe.
My technique for accent training works quickly: clients often remark on their fast progress compared with other teachers. I've coached actors like Will and Jaden Smith in After Earth (in a "future" accent I invented), Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Alfre Woodard, Jason Lee, Jason Isaacs in many varied projects, Shia LaBeouf in Lars VonTriers' The Nymphomaniac, Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) in 24 and MI4: Ghost Protocol, Samantha Morton, Ryan Phillippe, Roger Daltrey in four different accents and Spanish for CSI, Max Minghella and Sophia Myles in Art School Confidential, Jennifer Garner in Alias, Mike Myers in The Cat in the Hat and thousands of others.
I'm also expert in teaching the neutral American accent (sometimes called accent reduction, though I don't like the judgement implied in that term) so you don't sound like you have an regional or foreign accent. My physically based technique works quickly, and you'll notice a difference in your sound after only one or two sessions. I helped English actress Julia Ormond sound American for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Chained, Kitt Kittredge, Che and I Know Who Killed Me, coached Jim Broadbent to sound American instead of using his own English accent for Art School Confidential, and helped Canadian actor Justin Chatwin sound American so he could play Tom Cruise's son in Steven Spielberg's The War of the Worlds.
How does it work?
If you're an actor looking to learn the neutral American accent: please click here and read How Does It Work? on the Corporate Professionals page. I'm expert with actors who are close to having an American accent but need to get that last distance.
If you need a new dialect for an audition or project, it's a very straightforward process:
First I'll explain the vowel chart so you can learn how to form sounds in new accents that you can't necessarily hear at first (you'll be able to hear and use them after a bit of repetition).
Next, we'll talk about the melody, focus and rhythm of the new accent, as well as examining the specific vowel, diphthong (two vowel sounds that are sounded as one syllable, as in "like") and consonant changes. We'll then practice by reading short sentences focussing on each sound change. These first two steps usually take 20-30 minutes.
We'll use the remainder of the first hour putting the dialect onto your text: I can demonstrate each line which you then repeat after me, or you can read your lines in the dialect while I guide you. If you bring me a copy I'll mark the sound changes onto your text. And some clients ask me to record myself reading their lines in the dialect, which I'm happy to do.
I'll record the entire session (whether at my office, at your location or by phone) so you'll receive a CD for later review (if you prefer, I can email mp3 files). I'll also provide you with several dialect samples by native speakers on CD, along with the original written material we'll cover.
How long does it take?
For most auditions a one hour session is usually enough to cover 3-6 pages of sides. It may take longer if you have more material: a longer scene or an entire script, for example. Being able to speak off the top of your head takes longer, of course: how long depends on how fluent you want to become in the new dialect. If you want to learn more than one dialect, it's easier and faster as you learn additional dialects, because we can compare and contrast them.
Where are you located, and are you available to work by phone or skype?
My private practice is located near Westlake Village, California (off the 101 Freeway), about half an hour west of Hollywood. I also offer highly effective dialect coaching by phone or skype, enabling me to work with clients around the US and the world. New York client Constance Zaytoun said of working with me by phone: "I’ve actually gotten more from you doing this on the phone than I’ve gotten coaching with someone in person."
I'll email, fax or mail you the written material we'll cover in advance of our session, record the session and mail you a cd for later review and include a cd with several sound samples of native speakers using the accent. Secure online payment may be made in advance with a credit card or bank account using Paypal.
What are your rates?
Rates for private dialect coaching at my office or by telephone vary, depending upon what you need to accomplish, how quickly you need it, and whether you pay for sessions individually or prepay for a package of six sessions. Additional fees will apply for travel to your site. Please contact me for specific information about your needs.