“Help! My agent wants me to read a script with an American accent!”
This article was written to answer a question from one of our students who is an actor, but it can be helpful for any student. So, read on!
For most actors it’s not as simple as “just copying or imitating” the American accent. Yes, there are some people who have a knack for picking up accents and imitating them, but for most of us, well it’s just not that easy! Keep reading to learn a useful accent reduction tip that you can apply to any script that is thrown at you.
Don’t follow the advice of your grade school English Teacher!
Sorry, but here in the United States, as in most other English speaking countries, we use a lot of contractions in our speech. This means that as an actor you must use these same patterns if you truly want to sound like a native speaker.
Remember when your English teacher screamed at you for not enunciating, swallowing your words, and using too many contractions? Well they were wrong, at least half wrong. My best advice for you is to listen to a native speaker. You WILL hear a great deal of contractions. Using contractions will also help you produce the correct WORD STRESS patterns.
“So, what should I do?”
Learn the Common Contractions Used in American English
There are a lot of contractions, some of which you have probably never even thought about. Contact us for a full list of the common contractions used in American English. We will provide this list for you FREE OF CHARGE!
Rewrite Your Script
After you learn the common contractions, go through your script and rewrite the lines which should be contracted. Just because some of your lines may be written without contractions, does NOT mean that they should be said without contractions. Remember, you want to sound like a native speaker!
Rehearse, Rehearse, and Rehearse Some More!
Just because you can say it correctly once, does NOT mean that you will say it correctly when you are shooting your scene. Changing your accent is really about training your muscles to move in ways that they have never moved before. You must practice daily in order to see results!