Accent & Dialect Classes

Accent Classes with Michael Winn Johnson

A two class intensive, meets once weekly, starting October 20, 2020

One of the most important skills any actor needs is the ability to have the most marketable 'sound' possible. Regardless of your natural accent, we can help recognize and modify your specific accent 'identifiers' to help create that sought-after Standard American sound.

Michael Winn Johnson has been a teacher, a theatre director and a dialect coach for over a decade. His journey started with York University where he earned his Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Film, but his love for art and performance didn't stop there. He then attended Seneca College's prestigious Animation program where he first learned about voice acting. After years of trying his hand at filmmaking, he eventually came back to Ontario, and followed a family profession in teaching. His experiences on and off the stage have taught him a lot about vocal health, safe practice, and performance, and his career as an English and Dramatic arts educator has given him a myriad of applicable skills that he now brings into his teaching as a dialect coach.

Milne Studio - General American Accent workshop

Part 1

1.A - History of the ‘So Called’ General American accent

Casting directors often refer to this as ‘Standard American’, but Dialect coaches debate whether the term ‘Standard’ or ‘General American’ can be misleading. With America being built on the melting pot of cultures, historical backgrounds and accents that it is, how can there just be one ‘General American’?

We break down what this term means, what that accent entails, and how we can achieve the marketable sound that many casting directors are looking for.

1.B - Accent Identifiers

It is important to note the differences in the way you speak, and the GenAm sound. What are some of the dead giveaways in terms of pronunciation and cadence? How can we modify our accent to fit that General American sound? In this workshop, we address all these questions for a true understanding of the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between us, and American accents. Those whose first language may not be English will find this just as useful and applicable to modify any accent.

1.C - Oral Posture & Early Technique

Dialect coaches often speak of ‘oral posture’ - but what does this mean? We can teach you a very simple, but very effective technique to help create that GenAm sound. Using this technique as a base, and applying other methods, we will go through some of the major vowel sounds, diphthongs and pronunciation keys in order to practice the GenAm sound.

Part 2

Advancing our Basic Technique

Using the knowledge we accumulated and practiced in the first session, we will now apply it to complex phrases, advanced pronunciation and dialogue practice.

We will also learn about ‘key phrases’ that can be used before any audition or accent work in the future. These key phrases Are an amazing warm-up for performers, and can get you back into the oral posture, prosody and pronunciation you need to once again implement the GenAm accent.

Finally, we will use the techniques from the first class to read larger pieces, and ensure we can emote and enunciate, in order to find a balance between performance and your dialect practice.

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Accent Classes