Accents in Voice Work – go native or fake it?

By beverleybeerSeptember 8th, 2015NewsNo Comments

Well, that age old voice over dilemma came up a few days back, when a client asked: “Can you do a Mancunian accent?” Now, I know many VO’s who are happy to ‘do accents’ and I, indeed, will do such if it’s for a computer game, an audio book, or something fictional that has a suspended sense of reality to it (my website will attest to this www.beverleybeer.com). But I learnt from personal experience as a fledgling VO, that if it’s for selling a product, or, a serious piece of information sharing or training (especially if the natives of the said region are the target audience) then I always advise the client to source a native accented speaker, wherever possible. I’ve even help clients source a VO with the correct accent. Now, this may seem a bit bonkers, as, In the short term, it loses me the job, but more importantly, it retains the integrity of the product (and the client) – which will hopefully be appreciated in the long term.

Let’s be honest, we can all ‘have a go’ at an accent (and there are a few Hollywood A-listers that could’ve benefitted from some honest accent-related feedback before taking on some roles), but to maintain a consistent accent, with all the foibles, burrs and subtleties that this requires, is an art and a science.

So my question is – how often do you hear a phoney accent and does it put you off the product in question, or is this just a bit of prudish professional purism?

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