Updated: Sep 23
It is a common misconception among many aspiring voice actors that having an accent is a hindrance in the industry. However, the reality is that everyone has an accent, and the ability to recognize and neutralize your own accent can be a valuable asset for success in the voiceover industry.
While having an accent can be endearing and may even be requested for specific roles, most voiceover jobs, especially national commercial campaigns, prefer a "Neutral North American Sound" or "General American" accent. This is because they want the American English spoken without any regional dialect markers to ensure that the pronunciations are not distracting to listeners across the country.
If you are not booking as many gigs as you would like, it is worth considering if your accent or regional dialect is getting in the way. Unfortunately, most people cannot hear their own accent, as it is the dialect they are accustomed to.
To neutralize your accent, it is highly recommended that you book a session with a dialect coach who can provide feedback on which sounds to work on. A basic understanding of phonetics can also be helpful in creating a roadmap for yourself.
Once you are aware of your accent, you can use it to your advantage. Some actors, such as Sophia Vergara, Javier Bardem, and Matthew McConaughey, have made their accents their trademarks. When auditioning, it is perfectly acceptable to include a second take of a read in your natural accent, as it can help you stand out from the competition.
In conclusion, having an accent is not a hindrance in the voiceover industry, and the ability to recognize and neutralize it can be crucial to your success. Seeking the assistance of a dialect coach and having a basic understanding of phonetics can help you achieve a neutral American accent while still being able to showcase your natural dialect when appropriate.