AUDITIONS :: BOOKINGS :: REPERTOIRE
Whether you're prepping for an audition, fine-tuning an accent for a role you've landed, or simply looking to expand your accent repertoire and broaden your marketability -
DR. DIALECT CAN HELP!
An accent is meant to enhance your performance, not hinder it. Too often, accents dictate performances because actors fall into the trap of thinking 'accent = character.' In the real world, one accent is usually spoken by millions of different personalities, so, while cultural differences may inform certain character choices, you should be able to bring a complex and honest persona to your performance just as you would without an accent.
With the Dr. Dialect approach, you'll learn your character's accent as a technical element - not unlike memorizing your lines or hitting your marks. This process will give you the freedom to develop your character 'with the accent' rather than 'by the accent.'
For actor dialect coaching we typically review the 'rules' of the accent/dialect so you have a clear understanding of why it sounds the way it does and how to reproduce the specific sounds effectively. We then work directly with your project sides/script, applying what you've learned to the specific material you'll be using.
Individual private sessions are generally one hour and are available in person at our Los Angeles office. We also regularly work with many students locally and globally via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, and telephone. Internet connection speeds vary, however we have found that our online video coaching is typically extremely effective and as good as working in person.
We encourage recording of sessions. For online video sessions, we recommend Zoom, which has built-in recording capability.
Textbooks can be useful in mastering English grammar, but they are not typically designed to help you sound American with natural, free-flowing delivery of the language. For accent reduction/modification for actors, we focus on real, everyday speech to illustrate how and why the Standard American accent sounds the way it does. We will cover rules and principles which characterize the accent, and then apply those principles to real-life conversation. And if you are preparing for an audition or a project, we'll work directly with your sides/script.
As an entertainment industry professional since 1986, P.J. Ochlan combines his acting, directing, hosting, and coaching skills to help you with your performance and character development. P.J. also works extensively in voiceover, and regularly offers presentations including his "Character Voice Toolbox" at conferences and universities. See the VOICE ACTORS page for more information.
Individual private sessions are available by the hour and half-hour. Please contact us for a specific quote.
Academy Award Winner
“P.J. Ochlan - he's a wonderful actor. And he can do the accents…"
"Working with P.J. is an absolute pleasure, not just because he knows how to zero in on precisely what you as performer need, not just because he excels as an acting teacher and coach, but because he makes the whole process fun! He loves and respects actors and the acting process and takes great pride in his work. His approach to every session is to not be satisfied until he's 100% certain you've nailed the accent, the scene, the text, i.e. until he's brought you to your full potential. Professional, disciplined, intelligent, compassionate, and precise, you will find no better coach than P.J. Ochlan, who will not only help you book the gig, he'll make you a better performer overall. Call him today!"
Dynasty, The Vampire Diaries,
The Fast and the Furious
"P.J. is a jewel of a teacher...his precision and patience blew me away...I walked away thoroughly enriched by the experience and more than prepared."
One of the first things I often share with my students is my concept of ‘acting the accent.’ If you’re an actor, your talent for portraying different characters and expressing a range of emotions is a tremendous asset when trying to learn a new accent. Take for example foreign-born actors looking to acquire an American accent. These students frequently approach the task expecting a long process of dissecting rules and studying textbooks, while forsaking the advantage they’re starting out with – the ability to act.
Some of the greatest breakthroughs in accent reduction can come from making fun of the accent you’re trying to assume. Try it sometime. Mimic a character from a film or TV show. Exaggerate the imitation. You may be surprised by the result.
You can apply the same concept to American actors learning foreign accents. I’ve been fortunate to play a bunch of different accented characters throughout my career. That doesn’t mean I had to permanently lose my American accent off-camera as well. I acted the accents, which is the perfect starting point whatever your accent needs may be.
The same holds true if you’re a non-actor looking to lose your foreign accent for business or social reasons. If you were over a certain age when you first moved from your native country, it’s unrealistic to expect to completely lose your foreign accent naturally. Your brain has already decided how your voice should sound, and your mouth and all its parts haven’t had a lifetime of experience forming the sounds of your newly desired accent. However, once you accept that the process is somewhat unnatural and requires some semblance of performance – it actually gets a lot easier.
Give yourself the freedom to play within your new accent. Worry less about rules and more about sound. That’s certainly the philosophy behind my method at Dr. Dialect. I use creative techniques to get you to form the correct sounds within the sphere of real-world American speech.
If your goal is to regularly speak with your new accent, then over time, as you gradually reprogram your mind and mouth to default to your updated settings, you will find the acting part is no longer necessary.
As the saying goes, 'Fake it ’til you make it.' But make sure you have fun faking it ;)