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How To Properly List The Accents and Dialects You Perform

Hey there!

Casting directors can smell fear, desperation, lying and newbie-ness. And one of the smelliest places on an actor’s resume is the Accents and Dialects area.

I shudder sometimes at what I see (and hear) – so let’s get that area squared away, and your resume nice and spiffy, shall we?


(Click/tap ↑↑↑↑↑↑ that red YouTube button to subscribe to my channel. You’ll get notified when I release new videos.)

diausaHere’s the full article, called the Dialect Map of American English, on Robert Delaney’s site so you can really dig deep.


Hope this helps!

David

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Raw YouTube Captioning

hey there it’s David H Lawrence the
seventeenth and today I want to talk to
you about an area on our resumes that we
tend to kind of gloss over and it’s
really important especially in the world
of voiceover that you get this right so
casting directors look at our resumes
and they’re looking for truth
they can smell deception they can smell
fear they can smell like I’m not kind of
you know what I’m doing even though I
say I’m an expert they can smell newb
enos and one of the smelliest areas on a
resume performance resume is the accents
and dialects and it’s really easy to
tell whether somebody has paid a lot of
attention to this or not so much now if
you’re not good at accents or dialects
that’s okay not many people are as
expert as the biggest names in the
industry but if you claim to have an
accent or dialect don’t unless you
actually do and what I mean by that is
be sure that you’re like world-class
before you put it on a resume if you
can’t really do a southern Mongolian
accent don’t put it on your resume
because the southern Mongolian will walk
into the room and take the job from you
here’s how I can tell when somebody
doesn’t pay much attention to this area
of their resume so I’ll look at a resume
and it’ll say New York accent or it’ll
say British accent or it’ll say southern
accent and right off the bat that tells
me that the person that is composing the
resume trying to represent themselves as
a professional doesn’t really quite have
a grasp of what casting directors know
or expect from prose for example
if you say you have a New York accent
what New York accent do you have do you
have a Brooklyn accent you have a Bronx
accent Staten Island Long Island New
York City itself if you say you have a
British accent
I mean they’ve identified well over a
hundred and fifty different British
accents right you know East End cockney
Liverpudlian Birmingham Manchester
Scottish has Highlands Midlands border
Irish several different dozen variants
there so when you say you have a British
accent or a New York accent or a
southern accent so a southern accent in
Texas especially in Dallas is gonna
sound different than a southern accent
in Georgia it’s gonna sound different
than a southern accent in the Carolinas
or in Virginia and people know when they
listen to you if they’re from that area
for example I grew up in the Great Lakes
region and from Buffalo Rochester down
through Erie down through Cleveland
through Gary to Chicago Detroit that’s
all kind of a similar accent it’s a
Great Lakes accident where we park our
cars in the driveway and we deliver the
Plain Dealer and we root for the Browns
and the Indians and whatnot you know but
that’s an accent that someone from that
area would be able to recognize they
often you look at a resume and you go
okay
what what do you mean by this do you
mean you can kind of do an accent and
you kind of have an idea of so I guess
what I’m trying to say is take advantage
of a link that’s on this page there was
a guy by the name of Robert Delaney from
CW Post campus out in Long Island would
have his own particular accent and he
created a map of accents all across the
country and if you want to look at it
it’s on the the page on the viewed agogo
website that this this video is on now
the list of accents I’m gonna run
through it so that you can hear all it’s
not just southern and northeastern at
Boston New York here’s here’s
the list general northern northern New
England eastern New England Boston urban
Boston central area Western New England
Hudson Valley New York City Brooklyn bow
neck which is Long Island inland
northern San Francisco urban upper
Midwestern Minnie Weejun Chicago urban
northern Midland this list goes on and
on the southern ones okay southern
Appalachian Virginia Piedmont coastal
southern gula Gulf Southern in Louisiana
there are four different accents Cajun
English Cajun French yak French Creole
it just goes on and on and on so what
does this mean for you when you put down
on a resume I do a British accent do you
mean receive pronounciation do you mean
Queen’s English do you mean presenter
British do you mean regional what region
so get a little bit more specific about
this and if you can’t then it’s okay to
just leave that off your resume because
what you don’t want to do is go to a
casting director and say on your resume
that you have a particularly to do it
and it’s not that good because it’s not
that specific right now if you’re doing
sort of caricature ish stuff for a
cartoon who cares but if you’re being
asked to do ADR work and they need a
specific type of accent you just don’t
want to put yourself in a position we
have to explain oh yeah well I thought
that was good I’m sorry I thought that
was good enough I didn’t I didn’t know
right so I just want to give you it and
check it out and there’s plenty of
resources on the web where you can do
that so why question to you is what
accents do you do fantastically what
accents do you do that
you’re native that you grew up with it
or you your family you had family in
that area and so you pick things up you
know do you do a a Pittsburgh accent a
Baltimore what do you do I’d love to
know put it in the comments below I’d
really appreciate it if you want to
subscribe to my channel there’s a
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play for you I’m David H Lawrence xvii I
thank you so much for watching and I’ll
talk to you tomorrow

5 Responses to How To Properly List The Accents and Dialects You Perform

  1. Joe J Thomas February 12, 2019 at 8:42 am #

    Interesting topic. It seems like a lot of the accent work is either very specific (as in a voice match for another actor), or pretty loose (as in a general Scottish dwarven accent for a video game).
    But there have been a few specific requests that I get. Just not many of them. When those auditions come in, I tend to go to the speech accent archive and youtube to find people from that exact area. If I’m in the zone or feel I can get there, I submit an audition.
    But generally, I don’t need to list specific regions on my resume. Probably because the casting directors I’ve already worked with know my work.
    Just my 2 cents…

  2. Michael Ehrenberg February 12, 2019 at 9:24 am #

    Great insights. I know from being a Texan, we have also variations of Texan accents, and I also know from Eastern European accents (my heritage) there are also specific accents/dialects etc (Hungarian vs Czech vs Romanian) although nuanced for most ears. The other accents I do well should be, as you have stated, David, should be clarified which also can lead to even more refinement of said accents.
    Thank you for your clarifications!!!

  3. Heather August February 12, 2019 at 10:00 am #

    David, I have always wondered what accent I have. I have spoken to many people in the Western US who say “I don’t have an accent.” To which I say, Hogwash. But, I spent my first 40 years in California north of L.A., south of Santa Barbara, and the next 20 years in Northern Colorado. I don’t know that my accent changed appreciably. And if I had to pick out one from the other, I might be able to, but to put my finger on exactly what I was looking for, I’d be hard pressed. Also, my mother was a speech/music major in college, so we always were required to use proper grammar, which often does not include the colloquialisms that may be part of many native speakers word choices, and hence, a dead giveaway to a CD. (wudderice, and all y’all, etc.)

    So, how do I tell? What are the cues that set my speech apart from Southern California (No, I don’t speak Val, at least not well) and Rocky Mountain? And when studying an accent or dialect, how does one pick up those little nuances?

  4. Chauna S. February 12, 2019 at 10:16 am #

    Hollis Queens, NY (native) and Raleigh, NC (transplant)

  5. Chris Buckner February 12, 2019 at 11:40 am #

    I’d like to say I don’t have an accent, but that’s probably not true. My mom has been asked where her accent is from when she goes on trips, so I guess that might happen to me too. I do accents for Dungeons and Dragons characters sometimes (German, French) but I can’t pinpoint a particular regional dialect. I’ll keep this video in mind if I think about putting one on my resume. Thanks for the video David.

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