Accent archive fun


One of the best things about calling LA home is the opportunity to live unabashedly through your actor friends. If I think I've had a bad day, say, maybe received a couple rejection slips in the mail or some line producer isn't calling me back, my actor friends will come back with something like: "well try standing in a hatefully long line in a bikini top with 300 other girls, waiting to screen test a kiss with a man you've never seen before, and after that being told you should consider having yours ears pinned." Well! The travails of actors are like healing stems of aloe vera to me; everybody knows it's a brutal business, but I'm always shocked by how much I'd never be able to withstand that kind of scrutiny, the kind you're pretty much going to have to take personally. But if they can do all these things and still be operational and still forge on, well then that'll suffice as a proper tableau of hope for me.

Part of this vicarious lifestyle includes helping people get off-book, or support their pledges to speak exclusively in Russian accents until the call-back. Both of which I love to do, and which also brings me to the wonderful George Mason University Accent Archive website, as championed by Zooey Deschanel. It features men and women around the globe all reciting the same passage that begins: "Please call Stella." (And no, it's not ripped from a Tennessee Williams play.) Even if you're not an actor or a proxy, it's a cunning little archive, with interesting biographical data about each of the participants, including age of English onset and other languages spoken. But is it possible that there are those among us who don't need the assistance of such a site? If you can slip into a French or German accent easier than backing out of a parking spot, please do share...