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Episode 14: Actor Spotlight on Kate Lister

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by Katherine Beck in The All American Biz
02/02/2021

Episode 14: Actor Spotlight on Kate Lister

Today I am talking with Australian Actor, kate lister. we’ll be talking about her experience as an international Actor, her new show on netflix and how she mastered the American accent.

In today’s episode, you are going to hear how Kate Lister developed an International career both in Los Angeles and in Australia.


In this episode you will learn all about Kate’s process working on a U.S. set.

By the time you finish listening, you’ll know:

  • How Kate works with the Dialect Coach on set.
  • How to create consistency in your American accent on set
  • How Kate keeps her American accent skills sharp

If this episode inspires you then I’d love to hear from you! Take a screenshot of you listening on your device, post it to your Instagram stories and tag me @katherine_beck_ !

Then follow me on Instagram to go ‘behind the scenes’ with me and my own journey as an American accent coach and Voiceover Actor.


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LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Ready to master the ALL AMERICAN ACCENT? Grab my free American accent guide and let’s get to work! Download my free American accent guide.


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SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Katherine Beck  00:00

You’re listening to the All American actors podcast, Episode 14. In today’s episode, I’m going to be speaking with Australian actor Kate Lister, she’s going to share with us how she’s successfully found her way working in the US film and TV industry. That’s coming up next. Ready to go behind the scenes and learn what it really takes to build a sustainable career as a working actor in the US film and TV industry. Join me Katherine Beck, your all American accent coach, as I give you the insight and inspiration to take action on your career, learn my best tips and tricks to performing with an American accent and hear from working actors and other industry professionals. To give you a comprehensive overview of this biz we call showbiz. This is the all American actors podcast. Welcome back everyone. I want to start out by giving a big shout out to Justin McFarlane as my featured spotlight of the week who says in his review of this podcast, I had the pleasure of working privately with Katherine on cleaning up my American accent before moving to North America. She is an amazing teacher and takes a lot of care in her approach. And with her students. This podcast is a great resource to keep learning and gain some new tips helping you master that authentic us accent that will book you work. Thank you, Justin,keep up the great work out there in Canada. I just know you’re gonna do great things over there. And so glad you’re loving the podcast. And if you want to be featured as our star listener of the week, just like Justin, all you got to do is leave us a five star review. And I’ll even give you a shout out right here on the show. So if you liked this episode, then go ahead and leave us a review. Today’s guest started her career in Australia and has definitely made her way in the US industry in Australia. She played Lilian in sea change, and you will soon see her on Netflix when clickbait goes to air very soon. Please welcome Kate Lister. All right, I’ve got a very special guest with me here today. I want to welcome the very talented Kate Lister to the show. Welcome, Kate.

Kate Lister  02:28

Oh, thank you so much.

Katherine Beck  02:31

Can you tell everyone just a little bit about your background and how you became an actor?

Kate Lister  02:37

Sure. Well, I’m Australian, if you can’t tell by my accent, I feel like it’s quite severe. But I’m Australian. So I started off working as an Australian actress here in Australia in Melbourne. And I’ve been lucky enough to travel around Australia doing some network TV shows, and kind of building up to just recently doing a TV show for Netflix, which is an American TV show. So a lot of American actors, and then just a few Australian ones sprinkled in there who have to use their American accent. But it’s been the last five years of as any other actor would know, intense hustling and praying and meditating and doing all of the study you possibly can to just try and book a gig. So that’s my last five years. Yeah,

Katherine Beck  03:27

I think a lot of actors can relate to that for sure. And so what was clickbait like? So you said there were a lot of Americans on set that filmed over there? How did you feel? Was that your first major role or major experience working in a US project?

Kate Lister  03:45

Yeah, it was. And I was so excited because some of the actors, just people that I’ve watched on screen and I really admire, so I was definitely nervous. It probably didn’t help at getting the massive monologue and script the day before filming. It was like a page and a half monologue that I had to deliver the next day. So that plus the accent plus all the nerves on my first day. It was like your worst nightmare. As an actor. You have those nightmares, you wake up and you’re like, Oh, thank god, that was a dream. That was a dream. That didn’t happen. That actually happened to me. But I think having that for the first day, just every other day was so awesome and chilled and easy for me after that. So it was very, very challenging. But in saying that, I think I think we really found a nice relaxing spot when we started getting into the third day the fourth day of filming and then it felt it felt right.

Katherine Beck  04:54

So how do you prepare for a role in the American accent Do you find that different to when you prepare? For role in the Australian accent,

Kate Lister  05:02

absolutely, the reason being I think there’s the element of knowing your lines, and knowing the accent. Because when you get in the moment, I think naturally, you want to swing back to your, your accent. So you have to know the lines so well, that all you have to focus on is being in the moment with your character and getting that accent, right. It’s, you know, usually have an accent coach with something like that. But it can throw you off sometimes if you’re trying to connect with the other actor, but then you’ve got your accent coach, kind of, like ducking in and just be careful of the you know, just rule that a little bit and rara and then it pulls you it can pull you out of your of your world that you’re you’re meant to be sitting in. So it’s definitely way more challenging, I think. But if you can, if you can get it pretty close, then it’s really rewarding as well.

Katherine Beck  06:05

Yeah, it is challenging for a lot of actors when there’s a dialect coach on set, which is a great benefit. But it’s also tricky. And I’m sure you’ve probably noticed, as the days went on, that it got easier to have that working relationship with the dialect coach on set. So how did you work through that? So obviously, it is a bit jarring when you get the notes. How do you process that and then move back into performance. So you don’t feel like you’re in your head thinking about the accent once they say action?

Kate Lister  06:37

Yes. I feel like the communication with my accent coach, I felt like was my biggest cheerleader. I didn’t feel like she was ever pointing the finger at me and like, Oh, you messed that up. Um, I felt like because it was such a challenging role that I had with so much last minute dialogue, I was playing a journalist, doing lots of like reporting to camera with really big chunks and lots of lots of words that Australians find really hard to say. The names all of the names just were like those tricky ones. So I felt I think, I think getting the notes from my coach was like, I would take them on, we would say them a few times. And then and then I had to let it go. And just hope that my training would come in and help me out. Because otherwise I think it would have messed up would have messed up my performance. So it was great, because she would kind of just, she would slightly say and just say just keep in mind, but just let’s just see what happens. So it was it was beautiful. In that way. I didn’t feel like, Oh gosh, it’s coming that was coming that was coming that was coming. Which is the worst feeling, especially when you’re getting halfway through a monologue and you’re like, I’m gonna stuff it up. And then all of these hundreds of crew members are gonna look at me and think that I’m stupid. So I think it’s all about communication and relationship with your dialect coach.

Katherine Beck  08:03

Yeah. And do you stay in the accent when you’re on set when they call cut? You know, in between takes?

Kate Lister  08:11

Absolutely. Yeah, because I think it’s really difficult coming in and out of your accent. And on this set, in particular, all of the Australians set it up quite well, because well, I was, I think, maybe the second day of filming. And I was lucky enough to have my partner, my boyfriend was actually the lead in the show as well. And he’s Australian. So we had already talked about how when we went on we when we went in, we were in our American accents. And I think people only other Australian cast members just kind of gravitated towards that and jumped on that. And then everyone started doing it. So it wasn’t like you were the odd one out, it was just everyone had American accents. So it was a really cool way to not be jarring when you were just talking to someone or, you know, wardrobe or something and then jumping in and being like, oh, I’ve got to remember to we’d already done the prep and the warm ups beforehand. So it was there.

Katherine Beck  09:10

That’s great. No, it does help when everyone commits and stays in accent and you can create that world like you are in the US even though you’re not you’re in another country, but it feels like you’re in the US because everybody’s speaking in the accent and it makes it so much more genuine and real.

Kate Lister  09:28

It does. It really does. And some of the American crew like our first our first director, his name is Brad and He’s incredible. And he’s directed like sinners and Christian Bale in the machinist and he’s just like brilliant. And you feel a bit silly sometimes talking in the accent, but by the end of it all he was like, Oh my gosh, you’re Aussie. I didn’t even realize that you guys will Aussie like, he thought we were American, which is thank God which means maybe something was doing okay. But it’s It’s really cool when the Americans turn around and they’re like, Oh my gosh, or at the wrap party, they’re like, Please show us your Australian accent like they think we’re different people, then that’s cool.

Katherine Beck  10:09

And do you feel like you are a different person when you speak in the American accent? You know, like, when you’re not playing the character, and you were on set, and you were speaking in the accent, did you feel different to when you speak in your Aussie accent, let’s say,

Kate Lister  10:23

yeah, it’s weird how I’m probably the actor that tends to do that, even if I’m in an accent or not. The other some other jobs that I’ve done, like more quirky, and comedy based and left of center characters that kind of, you know, have a way of more like in the body of how they walk, and all of that kind of stuff. And I usually bring that to set with me anyway, not to full on, like, you know, not, so I’m scaring people. But, um, so I really enjoyed bringing the accent because I felt like it was something from my tool belt that made me not be me, it made me turn into the character. So it was like a little, a little flick, little switch that you’d flick on. And the minute you get there, and you start, you know, talking in your accent, it was like game time.

Katherine Beck  11:13

And in terms of learning the accent, how did you learn the American accent? How did you get so good at it that you could book roles in the American accent?

Kate Lister  11:22

Oh, I still have flaws. It’s so hard.

Katherine Beck  11:27

It is one of the iaccents that you have to keep working on. It’s a skill that requires maintenance. Don’t you agree?

Kate Lister  11:34

Absolutely. Like I think sometimes if you haven’t done it for a while, like over this Christmas break. I was like, cool, I better start working on that again, because I bet auditions will start coming in and I’ll be I’ll get tongue tied my you know, everything will be a bit tight, it won’t feel so sometimes it just sits in and it feels good. And other times, it’s just a bit tighter and you can’t hit those. Like I find a couple of words quite difficult. And then whenever whenever I get an audition, I look at them. Like, there’s the word girl. It’s in there about 40 times.

Katherine Beck  12:09

Everyone loves the word girl and world, right?

Kate Lister  12:12

Oh, they’re just every time I see it. I’m like, No, okay, you gotta really warm up today. But I think it’s just I think it’s really working on it and reading, I read out loud, my books in it, I would speak in it as much as I could, even though it’s kind of awkward for people who aren’t actors, like my family, like, I don’t know, what are you doing? But it’s just the consistency and getting help getting a coach getting someone that can hear the things that you can’t. And you know, I’ve got an amazing manager who her accent is like, Oh my gosh, incredible. So she even points little things out to me. But it’s just getting all the help.

Katherine Beck  12:55

You know where she learned her American accent, your amazing manager.

Kate Lister  12:58

Where did she? I don’t know.

Katherine Beck  13:00

I taught her.

Kate Lister  13:01

I was gonna say that. I was like it was it you?

Katherine Beck  13:05

Yeah, she was one of my first students when she was an actress living over in Sydney before she moved to LA before she became a manager. And I just love the fact that all their coaching, all that training that we did together, has paid off.

Kate Lister  13:22

And she’s got the most amazing American accent. As she’s a talent manager over in LA,she is so on point with everything. And whenever I talk to her, she has her accent, it’s like it’s like a, I guess she just puts it on in the morning, like she puts her clothes on and puts her accent on. And her notes are always so valid. And I just love that she has such a good ear for it. It really helps me it does help. It does really help to have a manager with a great ear that can give you those notes. You know, to get that feedback is great.

Katherine Beck  13:57

So I’ve got a question. So did you spend any time living in LA setting in LA? Or even in New York or you know, anywhere in the US? Is that part of your experience of working in the accent?

Kate Lister  14:12

Yeah, I studied in New York at Atlantic Theatre Company for quite a few months in the end. And I think just being around all of the Americans helps as well. I’ve actually heard a lot of people say you can’t have a great American accent unless you live there. So I don’t I don’t know if that’s true or not. But I do think that it really helped. It does help. Yeah. So I did that. And then I went to LA and I was studying there for quite some time as well. So I’ve definitely been there and I want to go back. I can’t wait to go back. I’ve got my visa and yeah, I think just being there with the energy of America and the accents and Yeah, I’m hoping it all just falls falls together for me.

Katherine Beck  15:03

I hope so too. So tell me, what do you notice? So what do you feel like? Are some of the differences when it comes to working within the US industry and working locally? In the Australian industry? Are there any sort of major differences that you notice in terms of the the industry and, and jobs, jobs that are available? That sort of thing? Yeah.

Kate Lister  15:34

I think that’s a huge difference, to be honest, and I don’t want to put down the Australian industry. But I do think, unfortunately, Australia seems to get locked into using a small circle of people. And it’s really hard to get given a chance or a shot at anything, really. But I, from my experience with America, even just all of the auditions that have been coming in, and how close I’ve been getting to things over there, that the open mindedness for new artists, new talent, the support, and the faith is, I believe, much bigger in America, I think Australia is wonderful, but also terrified of choosing a new artist or putting a new faces the lead, and they’re scared, it might, the show might bomb. I don’t think America a like that. I think they’ll give it a shot if they think that you’re talented enough.

Katherine Beck  16:44

Yeah. And that’s those are some really key, very strong points that you brought up is that I think that equates also interesting enough to the difference between the two accents of how we communicate is that I feel like, for example, if I were to speak in my Australian accent, in Australia, I feel like a safer version of myself. Whereas when I speak in my American accent, I feel like I can be a little bit more expressive and bold, and make strong choices. And, and work out of my comfort zone. When I’m speaking it’s a really interesting thing, you know, when you speak into different accents. That’s why I tell people, it’s kind of like you have to find the American version of yourself, because you’re tapping into parts of your persona parts of you that maybe haven’t been explored before in your natural accent.

Kate Lister  17:47

But I love this. I feel like I love that that makes so much sense to me. And I totally agree, but I hadn’t thought of it like that there is this crazy power that I feel behind the American accent. And I think that’s also due to all the beautiful american people I know, are so supportive. And there’s this energy that’s bought, there’s this passion that’s bought and then Australian seem to play things down. And like, Oh, yeah, I’m an actor. But you know, I also Yeah, but you know, I’m an artist and I, but I also work at a cafe or whatever. But I feel like Americans is his strength. And I’m going to, I’m going to try that on when I cruise about I’m going to, I’m going to try my different accents and see what what happens with that, because that’s really interesting.

Katherine Beck  18:41

Yeah, and it’s a big part of how I teach. And it came about from obviously, moving to Australia and exploring the Australian accent and noticing the differences of how I felt when I communicated in an Australian accent in Australia versus communicating in an American accent in Australia, or in my American accent, when I was back in the US, and how I noticed in terms of communication, how people perceive you, or the conversation that you’re having with them based on how you speak, but how you think about how you speak, you know, thinking about the other person, and it was kind of something I fell into, you know, in terms of noticing this in conversation and how people communicate and it was just so fascinating. And I always say to my students, you got to think about that when you’re creating the character or when you’re breaking down a script is you know, really thinking about the American perspective of how we communicate, so that you’re using that part of your brain instead of your natural accent that part of your brain how you would naturally be inclined to respond to something you have to kind of second guess yourself and go, Okay, wait, if I was the American version of myself or the American version of this character, not the Australian version of this character, how would I respond? What would my intonation be? What would my pace be? You know, it’s all related. so fascinating.

Kate Lister  20:27

That is so fascinating. I’m going to take that on. So I feel like I’ve had a lesson from you during this podcast as well. Yay. For me, I’m gonna start booking him with you anyway. I’m excited.

Katherine Beck  20:39

So tell me, this is so interesting. Okay. So you spend a little bit of time in the US and then you came back here to do a little bit more work in the Australian market? What are some of the roles that you’ve been doing over here in Australia?

Kate Lister  20:56

Yeah, in Australia, I came back from actually yeah, I came back from LA to study in Melbourne acting full time. So then I could try and audition at the same time and work. So I did, I did start to book a couple of years ago, I’d had some little rolls, but it hadn’t, nothing had really stuck yet, until I booked a network show, which is called Bad mothers. So that was on on our network here. And then from there, I was lucky enough to also that was like a reoccurring. And then I booked a series regular on a reboot of a TV show that was very popular 20 years ago, called sea change. And that was my character was very quirky cop, left of center very, like highly strong, but super goofy and kind of yet really sweet character. And then from there, I booked another TV show, and then went into clickbait and then COVID happened. So I’ve kind of lost my momentum, which sucks, but um, it was all Australian stuff until clickbait here in Australia, but I think they’re bringing a lot of American stuff out so that everyone should be working on the accents.

Katherine Beck  22:10

Yeah, most definitely. And it is an exciting time, I think to be in Australia, like you said is, it does feel like there’s more and more productions, getting shipped over here last year, and now this year, and it’s definitely a time to be owning your American accent be authentic in your American accent, because the work is there. And it’s it’s growing, it feels like there’s a need and demand for more and more content with all these different streaming services, Netflix, Amazon Prime all of these. So I think you’re definitely right on that. So yeah, so do you foresee yourself for the time being then staying in Australia then and not in any sort of rush to go back to LA?

Kate Lister  23:04

Well, even though there will be a lot more American shows because of COVID. And, and the and I think it’s cheaper to film things here. I still want to get over to America and feel what that feels like to be auditioning a lot over there. And I don’t know when you’ll be able to go back in the room there with COVID. But because I’ve got my visa, I do want to be on the ground there and feel how that feels. Because I had quite a few months during COVID that were there was crazy. My manager was insane. She’s so good. And I had like every second day, new tests coming in. And we were doing really well and getting quite far. And so I think I would really love to be there. And just focus simply on that. Because when you’re at home, not I don’t get distracted. I’m pretty I’m pretty intense with it all. But you know, you have to I am a DJ as well. So I go and do DJ gigs to pay the mortgage. And, you know, there’s other there’s other elements. So it’d be really cool to get to America and just simply focus on one thing and not be distracted by family members popping in and you know, taking the dog for a walk and all that stuff. Yeah,

Katherine Beck  24:22

now and it’s so much fun to live in LA and to have that experience. I used to live in LA myself before I moved to Sydney. And just to be there, you know, even though we’re not really sure what’s going to happen this year with la in terms of auditions, like you say, but, you know, classes it’s such a great place to take classes and just be inspired by other actors. If there’s such a great sense of community over there and support, like you were talking about. It feels like everyone is there cheering you on. wanting you to succeed rooting for you, you know, hoping that you get the job. And it’s it’s a great experience and a great feeling to be around. So I can see why you would want to go back there.

Kate Lister  25:12

Yes, hell yes, I do. And I think that’s it. That’s a bit of a difference between Well, we were talking about the difference between Australia and America as well. Not that there aren’t incredible Australians who support you and want the good things for you. But because there’s so little work, it kind of turns into this. You know, you’re fighting for a job. And there’s more of, well, I don’t know if there’s more, I’m sure America is extremely competitive. I know that it is. But because Australia only has x amount of shows per year, like being a small amount of numbers, there’s only so many roles, so many people my age with blonde hair, or in my height that can get you know, there’s probably three or four roles a year. Here, it’s just so different. So it just doesn’t become as beautiful with the support that you receive from people because they’re all fighting for their own three shots at a job each year as well. So I’m looking forward to getting back over there for that vibe.

Katherine Beck  26:16

And in terms of your career, as an actor. Do you? Are you the type of person that likes to set goals for yourselves that looks down the road and thinks, okay, where do I want to see myself in a year or five years? Do you have any big dreams? big goals? Yeah,

Kate Lister  26:36

my vision board is insane. It covers a whole wall in one of the bedrooms, like I Yeah, it’s pretty intense. I think people will find it. Yeah, probably too intense. But I absolutely, I’m a big dreamer. I have all my goals written out. I meditate on it, I try and do all of that stuff. And at the end of the day, all you can do is try your best and work as hard as you can. So who knows where I’ll end up, but, man, I would love to work with so many people. But I love comedy. So I always kind of right smack bang in the middle of my vision board is Kristen Wiig. Because I just did. I just adore and think she’s hilarious. So I was like, I would love to play.

Katherine Beck  27:26

Well, let’s put that out there that you know, 2021 you’re gonna win. Kristin, how about that?

Kate Lister  27:33

Yeah. Yes, yes, please. Yes, that would be incredible. Oh, my gosh. But yeah, absolutely. big dreamer.

Katherine Beck  27:42

And this has been so much fun to chat with you. Maybe let’s wrap it up with Do you have any advice for any international actors that are just starting out? And you know, wanting to work in the US film industry? TV industry? Do you have any advice for them?

Kate Lister  28:02

Um, I think, work harder than anyone else you’ve ever met. Keep positive, because it’s really easy to feel like you’re drowning with a lot of nose. But celebrate the little wins. And let yourself feel that because they’re the ones that keep you pushing and moving forward. And just surround yourself with a good network of supportive artists who you want to be like, or you you would love to work with. So they’re not going to kind of drag you down. Yes, stay positive. And just keep working. Work, work, work, work, work.

Katherine Beck  28:50

That’s really great advice. Kate, it’s been such a joy to speak with you today. Thank you so much for spending some time with us on the podcast. I wish you all the success in your career. And thank you so much.

Kate Lister  29:05

Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. That was so much fun.

Katherine Beck  29:08

Thank you so much, Kate, for chatting with us today. And hey, if you’re out there and you’re an actor feeling inspired, wanting to work on your American accent, then an easy way to get started is by downloading my free guide on how to master the all American accent. Just head over to Katherine beck.com slash accent to grab your guide. And don’t forget, if you ever have a question for me or topic you’d like to hear on the podcast. Go ahead and leave me a DM on Instagram at Katherine underscore Beck underscore you can find me there. Just send me a DM and let me know I would love to hear from you. And coming up next week on the show. I will be talking about why you don’t need a good ear to master the American accent. I’m going to tell you why. And what you need to do to finally master This accent once and for all. Now until then, don’t forget to share the show with all your actor friends, let them know what’s coming up next week and invite them to tune in with you and learn how to become an all American Actor. So you can be the working actor you dream to be. Until then go practice your American accent. And I’ll see you back here next time.

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