Accents/Dialects & Shakespeare
Updated: Mar 21
What does being an actor involve? What does that mean? Do you just go to an acting class and do breathing exercises while pretending to be a tree? Do you learn to cry on cue? Does it mean you're just a really good liar?
Acting, to the general public, is a mystery of a profession. You can spot bad acting, easy. But when an actor is doing everything right, you don't really notice it. That's kind of the point though isn't it?
So what all really goes into being an actor?
I'm going to, one week at a time, walk you through what being an actor looks like behind the scenes.
The mundane, the highs, and the lows.
Welcome to the ride that is the entertainment industry.
It's a weird one.
Today is Tuesday, June 11th. It's the first day in 6 weeks that I don't have homework for my accents and dialects class with Brad Brinkley. An accents and dialects class is not only to learn new "accents" but also to reduce your regional accent. The goal is, essentially, to have no accent. You want what is called "General American" or "Standard American" speech.
Having a regional accent will hinder you in your career. It puts you into a smaller box. Remember how to do that accent for auditions that may call for it, sure. But work on being able to speak without it as well.
When I first moved to Los Angeles I was constantly teased for my Indiana accent. An Indiana accent is a mix of midwest... and southern?
Everyone always asked if I was from the South. I didn't think I had a southern accent at all! I worked on completely shedding my accent for the next 9 years though. What does that mean exactly? It means I would look up words online in the dictionary and listen to the correct pronunciation. Now that I've taken this class to learn other dialects, I've been introduced to something much easier for anyone that would like to shed their regional accent. David Alan Stern has "kits" you can buy and learn to either reduce your accent or learn a new one. Click here to check him out!
I have an actual "day off". No class, no homework, no restaurant shift. I don't know what to do with myself though. I've learned that most people (that don't have kids) relax on their days off. I think in this industry you kind of forget how to relax properly. If you have free time, you feel like you should be working on your career. So I'm writing this blog. I also have two pilots I'm working on. My thought process is; hey if I don't book anything, maybe I can get a pilot picked up and make my own credits. You're constantly trying to crack the system. What's the thing that's going to help me get to the next level?
So I'm writing. My boyfriend had an audition today. He has another one tomorrow. I keep checking my phone to see if I have one too. So far, I don't. At least he's auditioning though. We consider ourselves a team. If neither of us are auditioning, then there's a problem.
Here's a little secret: Everyone will tell you not to focus on things you can't control (like auditions, and bookings). But you know what? They're lying if they say they don't notice when they're not auditioning. Of course you notice it. You go into a tailspin of anxiety and worry that you suck at acting.
Oh well. You can't dwell. You have to pretend it doesn't bother you when it's slow.
I have orientation tomorrow for a new class I'm starting. I had to read all 154 of Shakespeare's Sonnets for it.
Everyone always says "If you can do Shakespeare, you can do anything" So I purposely never touched Shakespeare. But now I'm entering that territory.
My homework is to do an "across the table" exercise with the sonnet. You're probably reading this and wondering what that means. Spoiler, I don't know what the hell that means either. So I'm just going to show up with the sonnet I've been assigned and watch everyone else do theirs, then wing it. So let's hope I don't have to go first, right?!
The sonnet I was assigned is about Shakespeare having insomnia. At least it's one I can relate to.
Oh, and check out the latest sketch I wrote by clicking below!
Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed, The dear repose for limbs with travel tired; But then begins a journey in my head To work my mind, when body's work's expired: For then my thoughts--from far where I abide-- Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee, And keep my drooping eyelids open wide, Looking on darkness which the blind do see: Save that my soul's imaginary sight Presents thy shadow to my sightless view, Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night, Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new. Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind, For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.