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funny voices

So, how does one learn to do funny voices in any consistent manner? Like, accents and stuff.

I can do them a little for a short period of time, but I usually wander from accent to accent, turning anything I say into an unidentifiable hodgepodge mess.

Last night's D&D run went well. I looked around and people were smiling and laughing, at stuff I had done. The stress I had going into the evening once again turned out to be worth it, very much. So it's time to start really investing myself in this thing.

Coming around lunchtime: Top five productive things I should be doing instead of getting Dagny to level N+1, courtesy the "top N meme" from abce.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 8th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
Like most things, it is easier to learn when you are younger. Also, like most performance skills, a key is to have a good way of practicing, which generally means tight feedback loops. I would pick a particular accent you like, and find some examples of it (maybe a movie, for instance). Pick a few sentences. Record yourself saying it. Listen to the recording. Be judgemental about what's working and not working, but don't be down yourself --- it's not personal. Try to do another recording that sounds a tiny bit more like the original than the first one. Repeat.

Unfortunately, this is hard work. But I cannot imagine there is any other way.

I am studying jazz right now, and I often have to do something basically exactly like this.
Mar. 8th, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Yay good runs!
Mar. 8th, 2007 02:21 pm (UTC)
The same way you get to Carnegie Hall. "Practice, practice, practice."
Mar. 8th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
When I try to stay in some kind of approximate almost-an-accent (it's more, I find the things that communicate the accent in a cartoon way), I usually come up with some phrase that will totally trigger me back into character.

Then, the longer you stay in it, the easier it is to stay in it. For days. Annoying everyone near you.
Mar. 8th, 2007 04:27 pm (UTC)
It's much easier to do an accent if you've been around people who speak that way for a while :-)
Mar. 8th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
The tip I got when LARPing is what rif said: pick a phrase that pops you into the mindset of that character. It helps if it's a good "urr" phrase.

*pompous chuckle* "Well, dear boy."


"Zut alors! Tres bien, mon ami!"


"Ja? Vell. So."

because I tend to find I lose my accent when I'm thinking of other stuff ("oh crap, now what the heck do we do?" etc), and so if I can have filler phrases, it both acts as a filler phrase and helps re-enforce staying in the accent.
Mar. 9th, 2007 12:20 pm (UTC)
I'm in a hurry, but Dave's dead on. A few key phrases, especially ones you can play back in your head, are key to maintaining an accent.

Mar. 11th, 2007 09:51 am (UTC)
break out the phonics
As others said, pick representative catch phrases. But then listen particularly to individual consonant and vowel sounds, rather than words, looking for the distinctive sounds, particularly stressed ones. Then work out where they go in a global sense. Someone kind of mentioned this with the "about" example. For instance, the canadian "ow" is more of an /ah-oooo/ diphthong than an /ah-w/, and their "process" is /prOH-sess/ not /prAH-sess/. Long Islanders say /law-ng-g/ with a glottal "g" at the end of the "ng" and often use a glottal stop instead of a plosive /t/. Like /ki'-en/ for kitten. Things like that.

Then there's the tonal quality. Do the sentences all end in a question upturn? What are the rhythms? Is the secOND syll-AH-ble alwAYS accENted? The third? For instance, the tonal quality of Indian English is very different from American (and the only accent I can successfully mimic, probably due to a long semester with a lab TA that drove me nuts enough to analyze his reciprOHcal hexAgons for mockery, and now makes for a good Apu.) Just changing the tonality of your speech will give someone the impression of an Indian accent without much change to the vowels. C.arlos M.encia does a good mocking riff on how to distinguish foreign accents in one of his tv shows.

Good luck with your quest.
http://crankyotter.blogspot.com by way of livejournal's shaggy-man
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )