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Dialogue/Dialect/Voice-Over Coaching Services

Book

Speak Skillfully and Successfully: A Guide to Developing
Diction and Voice-Over Excellence
 (McGraw-HillAmazon, 2005)
by Dr. Diane Howard and Lainie Fraiser


Reference

Contact- Barbara Divisek, Casting Director, Producer-
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2229168/
http://www.divisekcasting.com/Site/Home_.html


Resume

Diane Howard Dialect/Dialogue Coach
Diane Howard Voice-Over Coach and Performer


Recommendations

Dr. Ted Baehr, Founder and Publisher of Movieguide
https://www.movieguide.org/about-dr-baehr
"One of the top dialect and dialogue coaches is Dr. Diane Howard. She has done everything from features to television to commercials. Behind the scenes, she helps actors sound Dutch, Scottish, German, and many variations of other languages and dialects. The good news is that she is a coach who has strong faith and values. Therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends those who want to make powerful movies on a low budget that they get in touch with Diane or others who can take the dialogue and dialect to a higher level. It's an important part of making great stories with morally and spiritually uplifting content and a positive worldview that supports biblical truth…"
http://www.movieguide.org/news-articles/importance-dialogue-dialect.html#.U9_9IfldXa2

George Cisneros, Actor
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3976969/
"Dr. Diane Howard is one of the few professionals in the industry that is a master at dialect/dialogue. I have worked with her before and she is knowledgeable, easy to work with and professional. I recommend her to any actors who want to elevate their acting abilities to higher levels."

Janice Lewison Organic Talent Management Houston Texas
http://www.organictalentmanagement.com/ 
"Diane Howard, dialect and acting coach, has proven time and time again, to be the 'go to coach' in the Texas, L.A. and N.M. area. Diane with her long resume in the Acting Industry, is always able to bond with every actor, gaining their trust and quickly teaching a vast array of techniques to enable learning of the perfect dialect, paired with proper projection, posture and enunciation. I always recommend Diane for any director needing a true expert!

Julie Racoosin
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3651720/
"In 20 minutes of coaching from Dr. Howard...Natalie Racoosin, was able to deliver an authentic German accent for her callback, winning her the role of Young Barbara Leininger in the feature Alone Yet Not Alone. Dr. Howard is an incredible talent."


Clients

Dr. Diane Howard's client list is kept anonymous, unless clients choose otherwise. If clients choose, they may use Dr. Diane Howard's name on their resumes as their dialogue, dialect, and/or voice-over coach.


Interview

https://faithflixfilms.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/dr-diane-howard-professor-actress-director-producer-dialect-coach-voice-over-artist 


Overview

Dr. Diane Howard is a professional acting/dialogue/dialect/voice-over coach and performer, especially for feature redemptive movies.  Having lived all over the world studying and practicing languages and dialects, she has developed a system for assisting actors to perform believable, consistent, and engaging dialect  impressions without sacrificing intelligibility, clarity, and understandability.  

She has studied, directed, and coached dialogue performance for film, television, radio and more for over 40 years, on site and via the telephone. Dr. Howard has earned her Ph. D. in Performance Studies and Communication at the University of Texas, Austin. She has taught university vocal diction and voice-over courses that have included dialogue and dialect work for radio, television, and film for 25 years. 

McGraw-Hill has published Professor Howard's book with Lainie Frasier, Speak Skillfully and Successfully: A Guide to Developing Diction and Voice-Over Excellence. It is available online and on-site through most bookstores.


Process

Dr. Diane Howard works as a performer and dialogue and/or dialect, as well as voice-over, coach for authentic, believable, entertaining projects in the following categories: historical, educational, family, redemptive, faith-based, inspirational, dramatic, comedic, classical and related. She chooses not to participate in horror genre movies or movies with gratuitous foul language or provocative sexual scenes. (See her past credits & work on IMDb.) 

Producers and directors send Dr. Howard scripts for which they would like to hire her as a coach or performer. Once she has read and approved the proposed script and work, contracts for on-site, on-location work and/or private coaching are negotiated.  Dr. Howard provides private coaching, as her schedule allows.  Fees depend on necessary remediation and degree/time required for needed training. 

As well as coaching the performative aspects of dialogue, she has read lines in appropriate dialects in audio files sent in e-mails for film actors and has coached them over the telephone. Dr. Diane Howard has further met with performers and communicators on-site for foreign accent reduction and Standard American English speaking. 

Actors who have needed accent reduction have sent her MP3 files by e-mail of their voices as they are performing lines from a script. From there she has evaluated their voices and determined a plan of vocal assistance. There is no cost to the client until a mutual plan of action is decided. Dr. Howard has read lines in appropriate dialects  in audio files sent in e-mails for actors in feature films and has coached them over the telephone. She has also met with actors face-to-face for dialect coaching. 

In private coaching, once clients send Dr. Howard scripts with which they are working and any significant insights about the character (age, relationship with others, health, physical characteristics, emotional state, psychological issues...), she comes up with a user-friendly, authentic-sounding  impression often with notes, video, and audios files that are easy to use. Sometimes actors will use her notes and audio files to perform dialects in videos for Dr. Howard to evaluate and critique.  Diane Howard can usually accomplish a lot just over the telephone with a client in as little as a half an hour.

Initial Tips for Effective Voice Acting for Live or Pre-Recorded Audio:

When Dr. Howard works on location or in private with dialect coaching, she encourages the client to consider the following questions:

Distinction in use of “Dialect” and “Accent

The same is true when a non- regional speaker carries the speech sounds and pronunciation rules from a native region into a new one.

Samples of Dialect Notes for Clients

See https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmVuOhKMVLVHGga6soP2ngQ.
(Please click on subject to see dialect notes; refresh screen if not showing)

Standard, Non-Regional, American Dialect for Broadcasting

  • Relaxed tongue against back of bottom teeth
  • Rounded and opened vowels
  • R's pronounced with back of the tongue pulled up toward the roof of the mouth and the front of the tongue resting behind the bottom teeth
  • "t's," "d's" and "l's" pronounced with the tongue behind the top teeth
  • Other consonants pronounced inside the mouth toward the front of the mouth with the tongue resting behind the bottom teeth
  • Key words, phrases, and clauses spoken more slowly and deliberately as they are stressed
  • Focus inside and towards the front of the mouth with the tongue resting behind the bottom teeth

Elevated American English

  • resonance toward the front of the mouth
  • actively used articulators: lips, teeth, tongue
  • rounded vowels
  • diminished r's
  • pitch moves up and down, then goes down at the end of phrases
  • formal sounding
  • appropriate for Classical Literature

Texas Dialects

  • resonance toward back of the mouth the mouth
  • hard, retroflexed r's (back of tongue pulled up to hard palate in back of the mouth)
  • elongated, stretched dipthongs two vowel sounds that should sound more like a single vowel are stretched in continuous, gliding motion)- hat would sound like haet
  • dropped g from ing at the end of word- workin not working
  • slow, drawled, lilted (up/down | movement)
  • pitch goes down at the end of phrases
  • uneducated sounding

(Old) Cajun Dialect

  • resonance is focused in the back of the throat
  • full nasal sound which progressively decreases
  • extended upper lip
  • slight dilation of the nostrils
  • emphasis on final syllable of words
  • long "e" in words such as see, speed, knee, free
  • short "i" in words such as city, in, sit, pit
  • long "a" in words such as way, say, day
  • short "e" in words such as feather, whether
  • "er" sounds like ah in words such as alligator, here
  • slow lilting drawl
  • ending "d" dropped such as in word bed
  • pitch goes down at the end of phrases and lines
  • consonants are often not clearly articulated: ask becomes aks, they becomes dey, them becomes dem, three becomes tree, except becomes sept...

Chicago Dialect

  • Focus inside the mouth
  • Slight emphasis or stress on short “a’s” such as in cat (for example, in the word Chicago the “a” is stressed and spoken like “ah” )
  • In general the focus of the dialect is high, across the roof of the mouth with the back of the tongue lifted up inside the mouth..
  • The dialect is generally flat without a lot movement, lyricism, or musicality.

British Dialect

  • resonance focused toward front of the mouth
  • rounded vowels, especially a's
  • diminished r's
  • liquid u such as in duke
  • straight, formal sounding, limited pitch variation

Cockney Dialect

  • resonance focused in back of throat
  • dropped h's
  • elongated diphthongs
  • emotional, great deal of pitch variation
  • glottal stops with such words as throttle, gentleman

Irish Dialect

Southern Irish of Kerry

  • resonance focused a few inches in front of lips
  • musical dialect, lilting downward in pitch during vowels
  • a's pronounced as "ah" as in art, balm; short as in hat, bat; or as "aw" as in broad, morning
  • oy diphthong as in poise, boy
  • long i as in tight, sight
  • long o in grow, toe
  • long oo in blue, soon
  • long e in see beat, meat
  • o's short in shot, tot
  • short e in ten, when
  • rolled r's

Northern Donegal County Irish Dialect

  • where the Southern Irish Dialect of Kerry is focused more towards the front of the mouth, the Northern dialect of Donegal County is focused more like Scottish dialects inside the mouth against the palate (The Donegal is focused more towards the soft palate and the Scottish towards the hard palate.) 
  • tongue is active high in the mouth
  • tongue pulled up against soft palate- R broad like car, girl, tire (initial r’s always broad like arms) & R slender (th & r with air released afterwards) work , carry
  • southern Irish lilts downward and Donegal, like the Scottish, lilts upward. In the Donegal dialect upward lilts are on stressed syllables.  
  • more uniformity in vowel durations in both Scottish and Ulster dialects than in other English dialects
  • long vowels in unstressed syllables are shortened but are not reduced to schwa 
  • centralized pronunciation of the diphthong in words like mouth or mound - ah-oo sound.
  • dipthongs in words face and goat tend to be monophthongized 
  • “oo” in “goose” is pronounced very far in the front of the mouth (as in Scottish)
  • start with a higher pitch at the beginning of a sentence, move the pitch down in the middle of the sentence, and slightly up again at the end of the sentence (lilts upward on stressed syllables, which are often at end of sentences)

Scottish Dialect

The dialect is focused inside the mouth. It is lyrical, moving up and down and up with the pitch rising at the end of phrases and sentences. More specific characteristics are as follows:

  • resonance is inside the mouth, under the tongue
  • tongue is active high in the mouth
  • r's are “retroflexed,” produced with back of tongue raised toward hard palate of the mouth
  • glottal stop substituted for medial and final t's, such as in bottle, bit, bitter
  • g dropped in ing endings, such as in singing, prancing
  • doesn't have external musical lilt, but does have internal vowel lilt with upward rise in pitch during vowels and diphthongs of stressed words
  • ah-oo in words such as house, mouse
  • long a in words such as great, way
  • long o in words such as grow, bow
  • long e in words such as see, meat
  • long oo in words such as blue, tune, goose- produced in front of the mouth
  • short oo as in could, stood, boot
  • uniformity in vowel durations
  • long vowels in unstressed syllables are shortened but are not reduced to schwa (lack of clarity)
  • centralized pronunciation of the diphthong in words like mouth or mound - ah-oo sound.
  • dipthongs in words like face and goat tend to be monophthongized (or shortened)

Russian Dialect

  • tone or resonance focused high and in back of mouth
  • rolled r's
  • w's become v's
  • ending g's become k's
  • long a in great, they.
  • long o as in go, home
  • short a as in cat, bag
  • short i as in sit, sin
  • short e as in get, met

Yiddish Dialect

  • tone or resonance focused tongue tip and front of teeth
  • musical lilt with pitch rising at end of stressed words and ends of phrases
  • ending g's become like k's
  • w's become v's
  • long e in such words as see, me
  • long a in such words as great, day
  • long oo as in duke, boot
  • long o as in snow, slow

German Dialect

  • resonance focused at top edge of bottom front teeth
  • often dominating, hard, reserved sounding
  • ach is guttural
  • short "i" in words such as sit, still
  • short "e" in such words as get, tent
  • short "oo" in such words as good book
  • th pronounced like a d in such words as they, therefore
  • w becomes a "v" in such words as where, was, what

Dutch Dialect

  • resonance focused at top edge of bottom front teeth
  • th pronounced like a d in such as in father (fader)
  • ending d like t in such as in Lord (Lort)
  • v pronounced like f such as in love (lof)
  • r's slightly rolled
  • w pronounced like slight v such as in we're (vere)
  • ending g not hard as in Russian going (goink)
  • short "i" in words such as sit, still, list

French Dialect

  • resonance is focused in the back of the throat
  • full nasal sound which progressively decreases
  • extended upper lip
  • slight dilation of the nostrils
  • emphasis on final syllable of words
  • long "e" in words such as see, speed, knee, free
  • short "i" in words such as city, in, sit, pit
  • long "a" in words such as way, say, day
  • short "e" in words such as feather, whether

South African English Dialects

  • varied but most are marked by an "e" pronounced like "ee," such as in feet, with this sound common at the end of words ending in y, such as usually
  • formal sounding, spoken toward the front of the face like British English.

Nigerian English Dialects

  • spoken more inside the mouth than the South African
  • musical, lilting dialect
  • pitch goes down at the end of lines

English Speech with a Brazilian Accent

In Brazil, as in most countries, there are varying dialects. Some regions sound more like Spanish and others more like French. Brazilian Portuguese has elements that sound like Spanish, French, and Italian.

However, there are some basic characteristics of Brazilian Portuguese that we can use for an English speaker with a Brazilian Portuguese accent. (Accent is used for a single speaker. Dialect is used for a cultural group of people.)

Basic characteristics of Brazilian Portuguese:

  • It does not have a great deal of variation. It is not melodious. It is more characterized by stressed, unstressed patterns, which can sound like a slightly rolling sing-song pattern. It is can sound somewhat like American English in its downward pitch in the unstressed syllables in this sing-song, stressed/unstressed pattern. Word endings tend to be unstressed and less articulate.
    • Brazil, the name of the country, often sounds like "Brasiu."
    • Tonic (initial) vowels are stressed, as are second to last syllables.
  • In Brazilian Portuguese all five vowels [a e i o u] are usually pronounced clearly.
  • In Brazilian Portuguese there are no mute consonants.
  • Ending consonants are not strongly articulated: p can sound like b, t like a d, and k like a g.
  • R's are produced in the back of the mouth much like a French r or as in the English word “pressure." The tongue moves from the palate towards the bottom of the mouth and rounds a little in the tip.
  • The alphabet is just like the English Alphabet.
  • All the vowels are pronounced.
  • Most consonants are pronounced exactly like in English (with the exception of the X) and are regular in pronunciation.
  • The tongue is used high in the mouth and actively with the palate, top of the mouth.

Spanish Dialect

  • resonance is focused at the front of the mouth behind the top teeth
  • single and double trilled or tapped r's with tip of tongue behind top teeth
  • th sounds like d
  • z sounds like s
  • g dropped at end of ing
  • aggressive tongue
  • long "e" in words such as speed, knee, tree
  • short "i" in words such as pit, sit, split

Spanish and Standard American English for Broadcasting
(sample of expanded notes for clients)

Here are a few more insights concerning the difference between Spanish and Standard American English (SAE) for Broadcasting:

  • In Spanish dialects, vowels are often more closed and fluid than they are in Standard American English (SAE). Vowels in SAE are more open and straight. SAE is slower, straighter, and more open inside the mouth than Spanish. For Broadcast Standard, focus more toward the front of the mouth.
  • Resonance in Spanish dialects are focused often at the front of the mouth behind the top teeth, whereas with Standard American English (SAE) the focus of the resonance in the middle of the mouth and for Broadcast SAE more toward the front of the mouth
  • In Spanish single and double trilled or tapped "r’s" are pronounced with the tip of tongue behind the top teeth, whereas with SAE "r’s" are pronounced with more with the back of the tongue pulled up toward the roof of the mouth and the front of the tongue resting behind the bottom teeth
  • The most significant differences are the focus of the dialect (behind the top teeth for Spanish and inside the mouth toward the front of the mouth with the tongue resting behind the bottom teeth with SAE)
  • The general placement and activity of the tongue is more aggressive and fluid behind the top teeth for Spanish and inside the mouth behind bottom teeth for SAE
  • "Th" sounds like "d" in Spanish, whereas in SAE the "t" is pronounced with the front of the tongue under the top teeth and the "h" sounded with aspiration (forced breath out the front of the mouth)
  • In Spanish "z" sounds like "s", whereas in SAE "z" is pronounced with the top and bottom teeth almost touching and the front of the tongue pulled up toward the top dental ridge
  • In Spanish "g" is dropped at end of "ing," whereas in SAE the "in" in the "ing" is produced with the "g" pronounced with the middle of the tongue pulled up toward the middle of the roof of the mouth to produce a nasal sound for the "g"
  • In Spanish the tongue is aggressive and fluid, whereas in SAE the tongue is more relaxed inside and at the bottom of the mouth and behind the bottom teeth. Few sounds in SAE are pronounced with the tongue behind the top teeth where "t's," "d's" and "l's" in SAE are produced
  • The most significant differences are the focus of the dialect (behind the top teeth for Spanish and inside the mouth with SAE) and the general placement and activity of the tongue (more aggressive and fluid behind the top teeth for Spanish and inside the mouth behind bottom teeth for SAE).
  • In general one trying to speak SAE needs to speak slowly and to relax the tongue, let it rest behind the bottom teeth, and use it more inside the mouth.