Hey SAM and the others,
I have just a quick question.
I'm a foreigner, am fluent in English with a TV-inspired weird/unique American accent, mixed a little with Eastern European and British (Americans can tell that I'm not from USA, but English people sometimes assume that I'm an American).
When in LA, do I hide this? For example, if doing a monologue on CD Workshop, or Showcase, or just having a conversation with people from the industry? Should I leave the natural accent that it is, or try to mask it and make myself sound as American as possible?
Can you sound like a non-specific American? Can you be mistaken for being born in the U.S? I'd like to say that 'American accent' signifies that people would assume you were born here. I have two distinct ones myself; standard American, and my Mid-Atlantic-Scots that comes out when visiting my surrogate family.
When it comes to judging accents and dialects: Ireland and the UK are dominated by Brits, with Americans mistaking many of them for each other; this principle works the other way around.
A unique accent is a boon; flaunt it. Hide it if you can, and they ask you.
Again, thanks for this, Yonie!
So at the end of the day, if I can do a better American if I wanted to, but naturally I sound more like a mixture between "Friends" American English and Eastern European accent with a little bit of South England accent thrown in there - should I stick with my natural accent when there is no call for an accent (Workshops, Showcase, interviews, auditions, monologues, etc.)?
By this I mean both - acting (if the character is Caucasian, any accent, or smth) AND daily life in the industry, networking, making agents/CDs remember me.
Don't hide it purposely, just be yourself...if they feel the need for you to speak 'American English' they will ask you, don't worry
Definitely use your normal accent outside of monologues...
As for in your work, my opinion is it's kind of hard to judge because we don't know how thick it is. It seems to me, with all the people out here who have thick accents but don't know how to lose them, the CDs wouldn't give you the benefit of doing it again without the accent.
If you go in there speaking with your normal accent, then perform in American, the CD knows for a fact that you can do both.
So I guess, I would say it's probably a judgement call depending on the situation, but in general I'd probably perform in American. That way you don't have to worry about the CD not understanding, or thinking you can't perform in American.
I don't have any personal experience with this, but it makes the most sense to me... If you think the accent adds something to the part I'd definitely use it though!
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” - Bruce Lee
Well this is why I asked this question. My accent isn't that thick, and as I mentioned, some people even think that I'm an American. Rarely, but still...
Americans, obviously, will notice the accent, but I feel it's that soft that I might stick with it all the time. And while on one hand I think it would make me stand out (not just as a foreigner, but more in a Penelope Cruz kind of way) and unique, on the other I'm afraid that it might put some people off, or make them think that I can't do a better accent, or they just might not like it at all.
Thanks for your reply Scoobings!
As someone born and raised in England AND the US, my natural speaking voice is mid-Atlantic American. No one would know I was English now in my day to day speech and that's how I speak. If a character calls for someone English, or if I could make the choice that based on something in the script they could be English, then I'll use that (or any one of a number of other accents at my disposal). Sorry for the tangent, but my point being is that an accent is a conversation starter and if you get in the room and it's not working against you, just use your normal, everyday speaking voice. If a character calls for a choice, make that choice and really go for it. When the read is over, go back to your normal speaking voice. That will also create a conversation in the room which adds to your value.
Just make sure you can also pull off a standard, non-geographically specific American accent.
I agree: OP: I see castings for British accents all the time. Just speak naturally; I think it would benefit you.
just another actor..
The original poster does not naturally speak with an English accent.
He said naturally some Southern British. If he is aware he's leaning three different ways he can still follow my advice; but maybe he's not sure how he really sounds. OP: figure it out and go neutral american if you can and if you see breakdowns for British/Eastern European and you can do it then switch.
just another actor..
"... but English people sometimes assume that I'm American."
I go by this statement.
Thanks guys for the advise.
Yes, I don't naturally speak with British English accent, nor with standard American accent, and not even Eastern European. It's a mixture between the three, with American accent dominating and Eastern European being pretty close. This is why I asked, because while this accent isn't thick and people understand me easily, I thought maybe it might give me some uniqueness both in networking everyday life and while in character.
I see the point of switching to one, or the other, of course - but this is only AFTER they don't like my natural accent, correct? I'm just worried IF I even get a second chance: they can always assume that I just speak this way all the time and can't play a person living in the USA (non-immigrant).
You'll have to make a judgement call, based on the script/sides, and the character. If your representation is convinced that you can play as an American, then I see no issues.
Definitely go with how you naturally sound. I wouldn't worry about what Brits think. If you can switch to British for a specific breakdown then that's all you need - it needs to convince an American audience.
just another actor..
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