During eight years living in Los Angeles, I had the great pleasure to perform voices for a prolific writer of radio plays.  Once every month or two he would schedule a read through and studio time to record.  A gathering of about eight artists with rich vocal instruments and the vivid imaginations required of good actors would unite.  There is a freedom bestowed upon one performing in a room full of wonderfully gifted voice actors, each with their own mic and music stand before them, which electrifies.  One arrives wearing comfortable clothing and clean non-camera ready faces, preparations focusing more on the voice(s) and active energy infused into a character whose sole life resides in your ability to create through a spoken voice.

Occasionally there were more than one character to distinctly articulate. !AN OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY WITH AN ACCENT!  I absolutely LOVE to speak with a different sound in my mouth- imagining I have traveled and lived in all the worldly destinations I aspire!  Often, my standard voice evokes praise for clarity of elocution from multiple professionals, teachers, and even near deaf people with hearing aides who appreciate the intelligibility, pitch, and tone of my speech.  This is a grand starting point for incorporating a dialect- which I am equally applauded for an ability to voice numerous accents realistically.  Some are more challenging than others, notably Italian and Scottish, and these be the tests I revel!

As with everything, “practice makes perfect”.  Utilizing worksheets, accent/dialect instruction CDs, and recordings of native speakers, I practice in my home and car, repeating or talking to myself and any family who thankfully endure hearing.  Graduating to speak with confidence in public to strangers, I regularly pass as a foreigner and delight in the same attention lavished upon others when I detect a little something different in their utterance.  It takes more bravery to speak around people you know in an altered cadence, because they are the ones that will giggle and mock.  However, when you live with a voice in your everyday speaking, rather than merely exercising through the dialogue written, it becomes a part of you – therefore strengthening.

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