Filmmaking / Directing : Dialect Coach/ Language Consultant by Samantha Mauney Aiken

Samantha Mauney Aiken

Dialect Coach/ Language Consultant

Hi all, I'm seeking some advice for how to position myself as a dialect coach or langauge consultant. In addition to being a filmmaker, I'm also getting my Ph.D. in Linguistics, and have experience teaching accent modification. I'd like to help people improve language in their films, whether it's a dialect the actor is unfamiliar with or a foreign language. I know people need these services from time to time, but where do they look for them? Any comments greatly appreciated!

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

I know almost nothing about what you're asking but I will offer a thought anyway. [ How's that for what the Brits call 'cheeky'? :) ] You might start by adding specificity to your looking. That is, are there accents and/or languages with which you are particularly familiar? For example, I had a brief exchange with an actor who wanted to come to the US and find work. He needed help dealing with his Australian accent. Just a suggestion.

Samantha Mauney Aiken

Thanks for responding. I am a sociolinguist by training. I'm familiar with most varieties of American English. I have taught college classes to foreigners trying to mitigate their accent. My question is about how to break into the market, or how to find people searching for these services.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

If you have not tried them, you might get information from SAG or Backstage.

Pamela Vanderway

Start at The Voice and Speech Trainers Association for training guidelines, but there is no single path to locating clients as a dialect coach. Mentoring with a pro coach, beefing up skill set is your best bet.

Beth E. Barry

One way would be to offer conservatory classes at SAG-AFTRA events for a minimum price to show people what you can do to help them. I go to such events and pay 10-15 dollars...20 or 30 people show up, and maybe from there you get a few clients and they talk about you to others. I've worked with a dialect coach and it's very personal. You have to get a good fit so you feel free to do the work. Sell your personality at these events, too. Good-luck.

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