Visit www.creativemin.com and ask if they still sell the accents cd's. They had one for foreign accents (speaking English) by Bob Rumba and Liz VonSeggen that was excellent. If they no longer have it then contact Bob Rumba, ventriloquist, and see what he recommends.
Accents and Dialects
May 3 2012, 2:02 PM
I use a Hill Billy Draw for my Possum. A of touch Brit/Irish for Aunt Lowe Lee. Seal Barks only. My bird sounds like a talking bird. My skunk just sounds like a sweet little girl.
Most of this comes natural to me. Or at least I think it sounds natural.
I have found though...if I want a special accent or dialect I watch and listen closely to others that actually talk that way. For me it is a matter of listening and practicing to get what I want.
Even though I think my different voices comes pretty easily for me, I still need to practice. The switching from one puppet to the other can catch me off guard if I don't pay attention to what I am doing.
Or if I have done the slow southern draw for the Possum for several programs and then pick up say Aunt Lowe Lee. It takes me a few words to get the right sound. I have key words for each puppet that get me back on track.
I think you will have fun playing with the accents and dialects.
One thing I have noticed. At least for me. I needed to introduce myself to the puppet first before labeling it with a voice.
I found for me, when I pick up a puppet it takes on a life of its own. I may have a pretty good idea of what I want it to sound like. But once on my hand the voice may not fit the puppet.
I am weird like that. I give my puppets life the minute I set my eyes on them. They are no longer just a puppet, they are living and breathing.
One thing for sure...I love the puppets that I have from Axtell.
It doesn't take hardly anything at all to give them life when I open a box and see them looking out of that plastic bag at me for the first time.
I start talking to the puppet even before it is removed.
When it finally makes it unto my hand we go to work.
I think the Magic Moments that Steve Axtell has on the Web are a very good example of that.
What I might do with one of my puppets may be totally, totally different of what you might do with a puppet just like mine.
That is what makes it cool.
Keep us posted on how you are doing with this new adventure. It would be great to hear how others go about doing the accent and dialect thing.
May 3 2012, 2:07 PM
Tony has a great idea. Listening really helps. I wasn't aware of CD's. So He has helped both of us. Thanks Tony.
I spent some time in Taiwan with people who wanted to improve their English. One day I noticed a man rubbing his arm. I'm from Southern Indiana and I said, "D'jarm urt?" He stared at me and asked me to repeat what I said. "D'jarm urt?" Then I slowed it down. "Does your arm hurt?"
Cary Grant is an excellent example of someone pronouncing the end of the word just as efficiently as the beginning of the word.
You may find many accents difficult via ventriloquism. I assume the French use their lips to make sounds much more than Americans, for example.
Steve et al: Pretty sure this was the book I spent hours in at the University Library when taking Theater classes. I read it for hours, it is excellent becaue it gets down to the nuts and bolts.
It gives you the "Speed", slants on certain consonants and blends and quirks, making it much easier to mechanically duplicate an accent even without seeing it done. It was invaluable when I did a lot of characters for Conventions and theme parties.
I consider it a terrific resource. In most cases video is superior. But in this case, I consider this book far better.
I'm glad you found it! I intend to order a copy.
May 5 2012, 7:15 AM
Accents for the vent figures are one case where stereotypes may be more appropriate than the real thing. For example, Jeff Dunham's skeleton dummy, the terrorist, has an exaggerated accent, making it more comical. Speedy Gonzalez, the fast mouse on cartoons is exaggerated, as are many southern accents.
One easy way to exaggerate accents is to change i's to lone e's.
For example, if you attempt French then change the th blends to z's. (zeds) AND the i's to long e's.
This is the day becomes Zees ees ze day.
For Spanish change the th blend to a d sound. Dees ees de day.
For East Indian change the th to a hard t sound and bite each word quickly. Tank you for comeeng to my otel. (Now say it again faster.)
A southern accent gets extra syllables, called dipthongs. Say "hi" using two syllables. It can be done. The word slides up a hill and back down again.
May 5 2012, 8:50 AM
Mike C. The book mentioned above also has two CDs.
Pat Fraley is a prolific voice artist and a superb teacher. His 2 CD set on Character Voice Creation and Development has been the central element in my voice library since I found it some years ago. THE BEST instruction on character voice creation, anywhere... and I'm picky.
On Pat's website he also offers "Accents & Dialects" I haven't used this yet, but everything I've gotten from him, I've found filled with usable content and well produced