As an actor you are often asked to do different accents. Many of us have only a vague understanding of the accents in our repertoire — even the ones we feel comfortable doing.
Jim has an extraordinary ability to explain accents to you simply and efficiently, in a way that helps you understand not just how to mimic them but to understand why they sound as they do.
I truly don’t understand how Jim has such a discerning ear, but it is amazing. His understanding of the subtle nuances between different accents and his ability to express those differences in ways that are easily understood are unmatched.
You learn not just “Basic English” or “Basic French” but distinct regional dialects from all over the world, including many from different parts of the US. After the class is over he continues to send accent modules out to his students that are GREAT to use when prepping for an audition or VO recording.
I have never encountered anyone else whose deep understanding and love of learning are overshadowed only by his obvious love of teaching what he has learned.Kurtis Bedford, Actor Los Angeles, CA
The Accents Class with Jim Johnson completely exceeded my expectations! After just the first 10 minutes of the class I knew I was in the middle of something that was going to change everything and ‘up my game’ in a remarkable way.
Jim doesn’t just teach how to do an accent, he digs way down to the root of basic language and helps you understand why people speak the way they do as well as the geographic and cultural aspects that influence their choices. The resources are endless and the personal coaching in the class is valuable not only to the person being coached but to the entire class.
What makes Jim stand out is his authentic desire to see you succeed. He is encouraging, honest and extremely knowledgeable. Thanks to Jim, I finally feel like I now have the tools and strong foundation I need to tackle any accent and look forward to auditioning fearlessly.Nance Weber, Voice Actor/Audiobook Narrator Kennett Square, PA
I loved The Accents Class! I came to the class already having had some experience with IPA and accents. I was very impressed with Jim’s knowledge, how wonderfully he communicated with students of all different levels, and how effectively he shaped his instruction to the individual.
He was good-natured and encouraging while still being precise and thorough. Jim’s on-line class and the accompanying modules are an amazing asset for any actor or voice talent who needs to acquire an accent quickly and accurately.
Incidentally, during the last week of classes, I was called in for a same-day audition for Linda Loman in Death Of A Salesman and needed a Brooklyn accent. Jim had just taught New York City accents the week before, so I applied what I learned!Amanda Serra, Actor Fullerton, CA
Thank you both so much for offering the class. I’d been hesitant to take an accents class before learning about Jim’s course, but I’m so glad I took the plunge and signed up. I’ve loved every minute, including Dan’s stories!
Thanks to Jim’s laid back style of instruction as well as the creative ways he guided us through the coaching sessions, I’ve improved my knowledge and skills in ways I never imagined I could. Even Hell’s Corner and Hell’s Consonants don’t seem so intimidating now!Jannie Meisberger, Voice Actor/Audiobook Narrator Gig Harbor, WA
Before coming into The Accents Class, I had a pretty good knack with some accents, I was struggling with others, and then I had a few areas I’d like to polish up on, such as refining my command of the variations of British English. I got far more than I expected, and the price for a month of coaching — and forever-access to materials — was a steal.
What really amazed me about The Accents Class was that it dives deep on so many levels. You don’t just get a breakdown of the rules that drive when to do which pronunciation; you also get the mechanics of how to make these sounds without beating up your voice. If you weren’t born and raised to an accent, there may be parts of its sounds that you’re doing more vocal gymnastics to achieve than you need to.
We also get a deep dive into the specific parts of that accent’s culture that influence it, so we better understand why things sound the way that they do. And last, we get comparison work that helps us differentiate similar accents from each other.
The path we took set us up for success. Here’s an example. We started with English RP, then worked on Cockney. These two languages bookend the spectrum of British English…which meant that we were now perfectly poised to continue into Estuary, which runs the range in between those bookends. Getting comfortable with that made it easier do break down those ranges into Manchester, Yorkshire, etc.
Every step of the way, we know what positions in the mouth each of the critical sounds requires, and we take this further with a basic breakdown of how language works. If that sounds really technical, well, it certainly feels that way on Day One! But by Day Two it starts to make sense, and from there, the ‘ABCs of human mouth sounds’ informs every accent, every dialect, and every exercise.Trenton Bennett, Voice Actor/Audiobook Narrator Riverview, FL
Jim was thorough, meticulous, encouraging and enjoyable to work with. Plus, the extra audio examples we get throughout the course will prove extremely useful whenever I’m called upon or auditioning for a book that requires a specific accent. I no longer skip those opportunities.Tracy Tenney, Voice Actor/Audiobook Narrator Lebanon, OH
Shortly after our Accents Class finished, I was given an opportunity to audition for an audiobook, set in England, that called for a Cockney accent and a Texan accent for the two main characters. To be honest, my very first thought was that it was ‘too soon’ — until I was reminded by a friend and colleague that I’d just taken this class and it’d be a pity to not give it a go. Long story short, I sent in my audition, the author loved it, Cockney and Texas accents and all, and happily I booked the gig.
About two years prior to taking The Accents Class with Jim Johnson, I studied with another teacher of accents, and while excellent as a skilled professional, that person was not the thoroughly organized and focused teacher I needed.
When I received the email invitation from Dan O’Day informing me of Jim’s upcoming class, I must admit, I was hesitant about putting good money out for yet another accents course. Much to my relief and great joy, after my 4 weeks with Jim I have a better understanding of the very same accents that the previous teacher had gone over in their 4-week program, but the breadth and depth at which Jim taught them — and his obvious desire to make sure each of his students ‘got’ the accents — had a more profound impact on me.
The proverbial icing on the cake for me is that Jim still ‘keeps in touch’ with his students, sending us additional accents to work on each month. They are the complete package, coming in both PDF and mp3 format, and including background material on the accent and its varying forms, vowels, consonants, physical placement and intonation, text examples and practice…in other words, the works.
Thanks to Jim and to Dan, this class continues to be worth every penny I’ve put toward it, and then some. I’m so grateful and I highly recommend it!Karen Richter, Voice Actor Los Angeles, CA
I am so happy I signed up for The Accents Class! Jim is an amazing teacher. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and it was really fun when I got the chance to work with him 1 on 1 in the class.
I was always interested in accents, but through the class I got a great understanding of the key sounds that make each accent and how some accents are very similar even if one thinks of them as being very different accents.
This class is a MUST for anyone who has an interest in learning different accents.Chris Ansoff, Voice Actor/Audiobook Narrator San Diego, CA
The Accents Class was fabulous! Jim Johnson is truly amazing and provides an excellent system for upping the accent game at least several notches.Cindy Piller, Voice Actor/Audiobook Narrator Longmont, CO
So glad this class was offered! Jim is a phenomenal teacher/coach. Previous to taking the class, I could mimic Irish, French, British, Valley girl, New York, Southern, and Russian accents; but did not know how to do them authentically.
Before I took The Accents Class, I was afraid it would be too fast paced, not easily explained, over my head, and I would be embarrassed.
Hearing him speak the various accents and words. Jim made it extremely easy to follow and understand. The most valuable aspects were definitely the one-on-one coaching time with Jim; both as a participant and as a viewer, it was invaluable!Justina McCurdy, Audiobook Narrator Lehigh Acres, FL
I can’t believe how much you packed into this 4-week course. Not just the teaching but also the materials. Jim’s knowledge is stunning, but it’s his passion that pulls you in. Truly his joy in delivering and enthusiasm for the material make what could be a dry subject come alive.
I’ve always had a good ear for accents, but now I feel like I have a much better handle on things. It’s the difference in being able to carry a tune and learning the theory and ‘language’ of the music. With one you can hum, with the other you can compose.
Just the UK stuff alone was worth the price of the course. I’m working on a fantasy trilogy right now. Using Jim’s teaching on the different placement, melodic and rhythmic characteristics of accents, as well as the idea of target accents, I can assign different races to different regions of the UK. It makes it so easy to create unique characters while making each one distinct.
That doesn’t even touch the American and European accents. I have a feeling that I’ll be going back to these materials time and time again. It’s such a treasure trove, seriously.
The live coaching was also extremely helpful. Watching Jim coach other students was such a great way to reinforce what we’d been learning. I even found myself thinking, ‘Ah, that’s what I’m missing’ or wanting to coach along when someone wasn’t quite getting it. And Jim is such a patient and gentle coach.
Suffice it to say, as an audiobook narrator, this investment was well worth the time and money. If you decide to do this course again, I will gladly recommend it.Dave Cruse, Audiobook Narrator Sarasota, FL
This class is a great investment! I have done a few accents for projects in the past that I mostly picked up by listening, but I was never sure of what I might not be doing right. Learning the proper when’s, why’s and how’s of mouth placement and intonation from Jim adds so much clarity to how to use my voice to produce the ‘right’ sounds for each accent.
The online coaching during class, the history and commonalities of accents Jim teaches, the real-life recordings from native speakers are all so useful!
When you include the forty-some more accent modules coming later this year (for free!), I’m confident I can handle most accents by following the same techniques we did in class.
And I certainly don’t want to forget Dan — the class instigator, tech guru and all-around smart and fun guy! Jim and Dan, you are both great at making everyone feel at ease, which is truly a boost for learning. Our class felt like a little family prepping for vacation! Thanks to you both.Alice Mathews, Audiobook Narrator LaPorte, IN
I was exceptionally pleased with The Accents Class. Jim’s knowledge was almost unfathomably comprehensive. Unlike some experts, he was able to distill his considerable experience into a practice that others could understand and utilize. And his manner is collegial, not condescending. I was not one of those coached, but I appreciated his approach to working with individuals with courtesy and easy-going humor.
I have a pretty good ear, and have been called upon to use accents as an actress. Most of the time, I have listened, and tried to intuit what the music of a particular accent is, backing this up with the use of the phonetic alphabet, and perhaps tapes of a particular accent. Never have I encountered the depth of analysis and detail that Jim offered in this course. It will prove an invaluable tool in my work. I highly recommend the course to anyone, should it be offered again.Pat Flynn, Actor Glen Ridge, NJ
I highly recommend The Accents Class to anyone who wishes to expand their acting/narrating toolbox. It’s worth every penny. Especially valuable:
* Jim’s comprehensive knowledge of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and how to use it
* Providing historic background for the various accents, as well as audios not only from himself and his team but from native speakers as well
* Working individually with students in the ‘coaching’ classes and providing corrections in a non-judgmental, non-shaming manner
* Providing videos of students’ coaching sessions to refer to later
* His enthusiasm, which never flagged
* His respect for the students
* His sense of humor
* AND giving us his book on Care of the Voice –invaluable!
Yes, for many artists the tuition is a lot of money, but it’s absolutely well spent!Karen Estep, Actor Houston, TX
I just finished a 14 hour audiobook project, in which I was able, for the first time, to put to use some of what I learned in The Accents Class.
It was an awesome experience, and was so much fun – very different from previous projects, where I spent a lot of time on YouTube, trying to find examples of the accents I needed to employ.
In this project, I headed over to my hard drive, where I have all of Jim’s modules organized, and simply picked out what I needed. I then did a quick review of the terrific samples, noted what I needed to adjust until I felt comfortable, and then applied it to my content.
It was, frankly, a snap.
So, thank you.
As I look back on the class, I was constantly amazed by two things:
– Jim’s facility with illustrating the phonetic breakdown of each accent, and
– his clear love of teaching.
The first of these is to be expected, but the second, in my opinion, is a far more valuable aspect of the class – it helped things ‘stick’ for me, because I felt like I was in a room with someone who really cared about my success, not someone who was showing up to do a job that he was required to do.
I was among the volunteers to be coached in the class, and loved the whole process. The back and forth between Jim and I over the content was really eye-opening, and helped me gain nuances in my accent use that surprised me.
The key takeaway for me in both the class presentations and in my individual coaching with Jim was the process of making the accent accurate but cartoonish to begin with, then slowly ratcheting back the intensity to an appropriate level of application of the accent to the content.
A professional class should be more than just a fun option to fill one’s free time. If you’re going to pay good money for a class like this, you want to see a return on your investment, either in saved time, actual income, or both.
I can already see both quite clearly. I’ve been booked on another project for the same publisher, and it too has accent work in it, so I’m obviously seeing the fruit of this labor. Again, thank you.David H. Lawrence XVII, Actor/Storytelling Coach/Technologist Los Angeles, CA
I was very impressed with Jim’s knowledge and his willingness to share everything he knows. Knowing the syntax, clustering of diphthongs, etc., gave me a whole new insight into how the accents are derived.
I appreciated how he encouraged everyone during the live coaching classes. His “starting” point for each of us was unique, and it gave a sense of accomplishment even though we may not have hit the mark immediately. It brought a more relaxed session as we were being coached because the feeling was never of being a failure. Also, watching each other being coached helped to bring more clarity with each accent practiced.
For all the “giving” that Jim brought to table for each and everyone of us, the cost for the program was very reasonable. At first, it felt like sticker shock, but by the end of the program, Jim gave so much of himself and his knowledge that it more than outweighed the cost of the program. Jim’s ability to approach each of us as individuals each and every time is a tremendous gift. Knowing that we will receive additional accents again and again is far beyond any program I have ever experienced. Again, what a gift!Patrice Smith, Voice Actor Nevada City, CA
Before I took The Accents Class, I thought I had a decent ear for accents, but sustaining them was a different story. I had no real idea about tongue placement or vocal placement or, well, ANY kind of placement, and my “decent ear” was more like “odd blending of several accents from the same-ish Earth-quadrant.”
Jim really breaks down the sounds and intonations of each accent, and he does it in such a way that even the most difficult-seeming dialect seems achievable. He exudes excitement about accents and what — historically and geographically — has made them the way they are, and his enthusiasm is infectious. I’d wholeheartedly recommend this class to anyone and everyone!Joan Kubicek, Actor/Voice Actor Los Angeles, CA
The class was one of the best times I’ve ever had learning something. Partly because I really wanted to learn, but mostly because Jim is the best teacher I’ve ever had (and I had my mom for 7th grade science!). Jim truly cares, truly loves teaching and teaching accents, and his passion is only surpassed by his nerdiness!
Before the class began, I wasn’t sure whether the course fee was worth it, but it was SO worth it! It has not only boosted the quality of my accents, but my confidence in doing them properly as well.Kent Barnard, Voice Actor Wild Rose, WI
I am an actor and have studied accents & dialects in college and in other courses outside of school. I’m a pretty fast learner, but always found it a bit frustrating learning IPA or Lessac all over again and still not always understanding how to make certain sounds.
Jim’s course is so extensive. He gives you so much to work with. What I loved the most about his course is how he would teach a pronunciation over and over again in different ways. It gave me a better understanding of each accent.
When I was frustrated with the French “R,” for example, and none of his examples seemed to work for me, he shared treating it like a “g” in the back of the throat — and I got it! Then I understood why he shared so many different ways to approach a sound. Taking his course has made me feel confident to tackle any accent, and now I have the materials and tools to do so whenever I please.Tatum Langton, Actor Los Angeles, CA
As a voice over artist hoping to voice audio books one day, I knew being comfortable with different accents would be a great asset to my career. When I first watched the promotional videos about The Accents Class, I knew instantly that it was going to be a course of extremely high quality. Having been a teacher myself, I certainly appreciated the obvious talents of Jim Johnson. There was no doubt about his expertise.
Yet, when the price was given, I did hesitate initially. Later, when I received the email with the deadline date for registration, I realized that if I didn’t take this course, I would regret my inaction. What really adds to the value is that you have access not only to all the learning materials from the course, but to an ongoing download of other accent materials. What a precious resource — practically priceless!
During the course, it was invaluable to watch coaching sessions…and to participate ourselves was amazing. Jim is really a stunning pedagogue who takes great pleasure in finding new ways to be incredibly helpful, all done with a robust sense of humour. Very glad I made the investment!Rebecca Davidson, Voice Actor Brossard, Quebec, Canada
In the course of starting my training in a second career as a voice actor, many of my colleagues mentioned The Accents Class. I speak a few languages and always thought I had a good feel/ear for accents.
Well, this definitely upped my game. Besides the wealth of knowledge from Jim (and he really does have accents broken down to the molecular level), the amount of material received is a reference library unto itself.
The Accents Class was sort of like my college education. In college I learned how to learn. In The Accents Class, I learned how to learn accents. It is unrealistic to expect that you just take a 4 week class and then you’re a master at any accent that comes your way. But what you do have after your 4 weeks are all the building blocks and resources you need to learn whatever accent you may be interested in learning.
As it is with any course like this, the initial fee is “expensive” on the face of it. But the lifetime access to the learning library and your training videos is definitely worth the price of admission. I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning how to approach accents. As good as you think you already are…check your ego at the door and listen to the master teach you.Hopper Stone, Voice Actor Los Angeles, CA
The Accents Class has been a terrific experience for me and I would (and have!) whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone looking to expand their vocal repertoire. Jim Johnson is clearly a master at his craft, but he’s also an excellent teacher and an overall great guy.
I had some pretty dynamite accent training at university, and I found that Jim’s teaching met me at my level of experience and also that of others who were newer to the work or more advanced than I – and I learned at least as much from watching him work with others as I did with working with him directly.
The cost of the course is high, but when you factor in having access to the Lifelong Learning Library and a full range of accents that will be consistently updated, it turns out to be quite reasonable indeed. I know it will serve as a valuable resource for the rest of my career – as an actor, an audiobook narrator, and as a teacher.Angela Davis, Actor/Audiobook Narrator Dallas, TX