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What makes an ‘Agent worthy’ American accent showreel?

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by Katherine Beck in American accent tips
19/02/2020

What makes an ‘agent worthy’ American accent showreel?

This is a subject that’s come up a lot lately and I want to make sure you know my opinion on the subject before you start spending $$$ on showreel scenes that feature your American accent. So let’s discuss.

You’ve worked on your American accent. Now you want to take the next step. You want to film a showreel so you can get representation in the US or Canada or maybe even for an agent in the country you’re currently living in now.

But what happens when the Agent/Manager watches your showreel and says ‘your accent isn’t good enough. You need to keep working on your accent and check back in once your accent is flawless’.

You might be thinking, how can this be?! I just took an accent class or I just worked with a Dialect coach. Why isn’t my accent good enough for them? What did I do wrong? What stands out and gets you that representation that helps you to book US roles?

I can’t tell you how many times I hear the same scenario from Actors and I feel your pain because I have also had a similar experience once or twice….so let’s break down what makes an ‘Agent worthy’ American accent showreel.

1.  A flawless American accent

Duh!!! I think we all kinda know we need to have a flawless American accent in our showreel scenes to prove that we can perform with an American accent AND sustain the accent throughout the scene. So where do we fail?

We fail when we film the showreel scene too soon.

This is a biggie so make sure you listen to my advice. Too often we think we have had enough training, we have had enough practice so we think we are ready to film a scene with an American accent.

The problem is most of us actually haven’t had enough training in the accent, are missing important pieces of information on how to perform with an American accent. Most of us haven’t had enough practice speaking and performing in the accent so when we film we drop out of the accent or have way too many other issues with the accent not sounding authentic.

2. Timing is everything

My advice is to give yourself at least 6 months to a year practicing your accent before you film a showreel scene. For some of you the time frame will be quicker, for some of you longer. The key is the practice and allowing the accent to become a part of you so that it feels natural speaking and performing in the accent.

My advice to you is if you don’t feel 100% confident performing in the accent then you should wait to film your showreel scene.

3.  Is your character American?

I know it sounds silly but it’s true and let me explain why. Firstly, I think it’s always best to use a piece of text that has been written by an American writer because they truly know how to write from the American perspective. If you are, for example, performing a scene from an Australian television show the writing and the character will be different in how they speak, how they react, etc. Sometimes the words don’t always translate well into another accent so start off on the right foot by choosing an American piece of text.

Secondly, you better make sure you are developing your character to sound, feel and express themselves like an American character. This could be the difference between having an authentic American accent or having an ‘ok’ American accent.

4.  Choose the right text for you

Regardless of whether you shoot a monologue or a scene or a combination of the two, ideally you would want one dramatic scene and one comedic scene. If, however, you are not a comedic Actor and find comedy frightening and uncomfortable then this is not the time to attempt to perform a sitcom scene. If that’s the case show us a couple of different dramatic pieces in roles you feel confident portraying. Work in your comfort zone, show characters you would likely be cast for, show material where you can shine. Set yourself up for success not failure.

So that’s my advice for you. Don’t be in such a rush to film your scenes. Give yourself time to practice the accent and feel confident in the accent. Make sure your character sounds and acts American and choose the right text for you. Set yourself up for success so you can confidently perform with an authentic American accent and create an ‘Agent worthy’ American accent showreel scene..

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GET MY FREE GUIDE

These are the EXACT steps I use to teach Actors (from all over the world) how to bridge the gap between process and performance.

Get my free guide!