The Dialects Archive
The Dialects archive is a great tool to help actors improve accents and dialects. Enya Hendrics is recommending this website, as it is different to other similar websites in the way that you can choose which specific gender, age, profession, area and background you want to read out the text to you. This ensures you listen to someone as closely to the accent you are trying to portray as possible. Say you need to touch up on your German accent; it has 25 different voices reading several minutes worth of speech. If you need a 33-year-old female German accent but with an ancestry of Russian and Venezuelan, it has that too!
There’s so much to get started on, but we suggest this tool is ideal if you need a touch up on very specific accent. There’s so much more to explore on the website, and it is free! In case you work better with a teacher present, the Actor’s Centre offers private, half an hour accent workshops every Saturday for the mere price of 25 pounds.
The Vaults Festival
If you’re in the creative industries, you probably know about the Vaults festival. But in case you don’t, the Vaults Festival is a massive fringe arts festival that runs in the beginning of every year since 2012, this year between 23d of January – 17th of March, Wednesdays to Sundays. This year it features more than 400 shows from more than 2,000 artists, so it’s safe to say it’s London’s biggest festival for arts and mainly theatre. If you haven’t been before, make this your year. There are numerous shows that celebrates new writing, cabaret, circus, comedy, drag, late night events, immersive theatre – there is something for everyone!
The Vaults is based in Waterloo, in an underground space of disused railway arches, so don’t be alarmed if you hear the trains during your show – it’s part of the experience. You’re even likely to see some of our very own Play Actors performing there.
The Donmar Warehouse always aspire to put on world class theatre and they’ve done it again with Sweat. The play, based on endless interviews with the people of a small town in Pennsylvania, is written by Pulitzer prize winner Lynn Nottage. It really captures the misery in a country that inevitably leads to the election of Donald Trump – although it doesn’t take a lot to realise the message is global. This show is remarkable because of its fantastic cast and impeccable acting. But hurry, it’s only on till the 26th of January.
Another thing to note about the Donmar Warehouse, is that if you are under the age of 25, you can sign up for the YOUNG+FREE. They want to encourage young people to engage with them and therefore they ballot a certain amount of free tickets every month and you could go see great theatre – completely free.
Nofilmschool.com – A website that offers advice to aspiring filmmakers on just about anything from setting the right light to pitching your film to a producer. As an actor, it’s always good to know the difference between a cap and a cheat on set and, maybe, there are some tricks to steal from your fellow filmmakers as well. Successful directors are incredibly good at selling their films, after all…. Finally, you can also find the latest Hollywood film scripts on there – something to take to your acting class.
It’s January, so if you’re a freelancer, you know it’s that time of year again. With the deadline coming up to file your HMRC Self Assessment online, Lory has found that the 1tap receipts app has taken the stress out of filing a tax return, and has helped her organise her receipts, expenses and invoices all in one place. The app extracts all the important information, such as the supplier, date, amount and then categorises it. The only thing that you need to do is email or take a picture of the receipts, bills or invoices, and that’s it! You’ll be able to track your all your taxes. It also saves everything on the cloud for the next 7 years, so you won’t have to worry if you end up losing a receipt. With less than a month to go, it’s a great way to not only get last year’s tax ready, but also organise this year’s tax so you’ll always be prepared for the January 31st HMRC deadline!
Daniel has been experimenting with the Pomodoro Technique recently. It was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s, who would use a tomato shaped kitchen timer (Pomodoro, italian word for tomato). The technique consists of using a timer to break work down into 25 minute intervals, separated by 5 minute breaks. After 4 Pomodoros, you can then take a longer break, of 15 to 30 minutes. Daniel says it’s helped him considerably with his time management by dramatically reducing the time it takes for him to sit down to work, as well as the time he usually spends procrastinating during tasks. There are loads of free versions available for both iPhones and Android, so just google “Pomodoro Timer apps” and get yourself on the right track this New Year!
Even on a small budget, there’s no need to have a haircut that looks like the Cookie monster… if you bring a bit of patience with you, that is. Trainee hairdressers at Sassoon Academy and other high-end salons offer very affordable cuts, or even free cuts (bonus!) to willing hair models. The sessions can take up half your day so make sure to bring something to read and snack with you. But, if you’re lucky, you’re getting a cut worth a few hundred quid in return. And as Joan Crawford once said “I think that the most important thing a woman can have – next to talent, of course – is her hairdresser.”
The Voice Café website was first launched in 2009 in response to requests from students about where to find authentic examples of accents to practice with.
The Voice Cafe is an interactive tool for learning accents & dialects that enables you to Explore Accents from, Britain, America and around the world! Each accent has approximately 30 minutes of native speaker recordings, plus a self-record My Voiceover Practice area to help monitor your progress, and even save your best samples for a sketch voice reel or oncoming presentation draft. You can make a one time purchase for (each dialect pack costs £2.99) and includes lessons for vowels, diphthongs, monologues etc. and also has some useful information and tips about the accent you’re trying to learn.
Calin has used it to brush up on his RP (modern) and says that “you can’t deny the usefulness of the app when you’re not a celebrity who can hire a voice coach yet.”
Where to find more information: The official Website
When Daniel had a pretty bad case of stress-related insomnia about two years ago he decided to finally give mediation a go. And it changed his life. Meditation helped him to be more present (very beneficial for actors), become more self-aware and helped him develop a less pacey, more focused and centered mindset from which he has since benefitted in all areas of life. He just finished Deepak’s 21-day meditation experience. He releases a new one a couple of times per year and you can do it for free. This was his fourth one. He strongly recommends you give it a go!
In the 21-Day Meditation Experience, Oprah and Deepak guide you on a free online journey to enjoy the life-changing benefits of meditation in an easy and inspiring way. Each 21-Day Meditation Experience focuses on a unique theme, offering deep wisdom, practical tools, and refreshing insights to help you grow and evolve each day. Inspired by the notion that it takes 21 days to create a habit, each 21-Day Meditation Experience offers: Daily audio meditations, motivational messages, thought-provoking journal questions to anchor the day’s teachings, articles, videos, and tips to help create a thriving meditation practice.