As filmmaker, it’s your job to communicate to your actors if you need them to speak in a certain accent for their character. It’s also your job to actually help them achieve it. Now of course, the specifics are for the dialect coaches but it’s best to also understand and help your actors get the right accent for your film. Here are some tips:
1. Make sure to hire a great dialect coach.
If the accent is difficult to achieve, make sure to get a dialect coach to help your actor. Don’t wait at the last minute in order to correct or nail down the accent, remember, getting the right accent is important when it comes to telling your story, communicating your character and making the storyline believable. Bring in a dialect coach as early as possible. Even if the actor is good, it’s still best to have reinforcement. You can have them do coaching over Skype if bringing them to the set isn’t possible or too expensive.
2. Have the actors speak and run lines with the accent instead of adding it later.
Some actors practice lines without doing it in the accent and simply tack the latter once it’s time to film. It’s best to make them understand that it’s ideal to practice and rehearse the lines with the accent already in it.
3. Always keep the story in mind. While accent is important, other times, it’s not what makes the story communicate.
Unless it’s a period film, sometimes nailing an accent isn’t the most critical thing. Some actors prefer to capture the essence of the character instead without attempting to mimic the accent of the person being portrayed.
4. Practice makes perfect.
This might be a trite expression but it’s best to get the actors comfortable in the accent and making sure they understand the role it plays throughout your film. Sometimes an actor not quite nailing the right accent or flip-flopping in between words can ruin a great film. It can be distracting and those who are expecting him or her to stay with that accent will easily notice problems like this.
5. More than just nailing the accent, there’s also the rhythm, inflection, grammar and more to think about.
These should also be considered. If the goal of the film is to perfectly capture the accent, then this is even more important.