Multi-linguists are often considered intimidating. It’s hard acing one language, imagine someone who has aced many. The cherry on the cake being these amazing language masters speaking a foreign language with the right accent. It seems magical.
But to be honest, it really isn’t. You can become a pro of a foreign tongue as well that too in no time. How? Well by learning the language of course. That doesn’t seem like a sound or quick guide to learning German does it?
The key to learning anything is how good your teacher is. You need to find your Mr. Miyagi to take on the world. If you are an actor or even a general folk, you get my reference right?
Coming to the main agenda. Let’s say you want to learn German with a proper accent for your next exam (because you fear German and skipped classes?) or maybe you have an audition for the role of a German baker or you are reading for the part of a German soldier for a war movie. What do you do when you don’t have time? Well, you try to look up your Mr. Miyagi for German accents.
I went on a search for a good one and stumbled upon Britta Zeimer.
Britta is a German language teacher and dialect coach based out of Vancouver, Canada. She studied law, has a degree in psychology and is now teaching German to children, adults and actors alike. She has been working as a dialect coach for quite some time now and has worked with a lot of actors on different movies and TV shows. She is highly praised for her work by everyone, be it children or actors.
After instantly falling in love with her, I talked to her about her work and how she works with actors who sometimes, as they say, can be ‘different’.
How do you work with an actor?
Ideally, I meet the actor before the actual shooting starts. Before the meeting, of course, I do some research. This means I read the script, get an idea of the storyline and the character that ‘my’ actor is supposed to play. If possible, I also like to talk to the director to get his input regarding the character and his dialect. With all this information I tailor the accent so that it makes the movie the best it can be and I always use the coaching method that works best for the actor.
Is a German accent more difficult than others?
A German accent is a little different to let’s say an American standard accent, since in the American accent the target is clear: American Accent. When looking at the German accent you can play with it a bit more, e.g. you can do a very thick, medium or a very slight accent. Which one we would chose would depend on many factors, e.g. level of education, age, and gender of the character, for example, is it a more sympathetic person or more of a mean character? It is also important to figure out, where the character ‘learned’ English – in Australia, in or in the US? If you have, let’s say an actor from England who is supposed to play a German scientist who learned his English in the US, you have to make sure to also eliminate all possible British sounding sounds.
What accents are your specialty?
I teach High German, as well as German dialects spoken in Berlin, Saxony, Bavaria, and Hesse, German with American or French accent, Austrian, Swiss German, and I also teach sometimes the French accent.
The way she teaches people is not less than amazing. She helps actors ace accents like a pro in no time. So you could read a part for a German American baker living in Switzerland working in a French environment. Sounds like a difficult accent to crack, but with Britta on your side, no accent is difficult and time is never a constraint. A good teacher makes a great student and Britta is an amazing teacher.
The actors that she has coached have nothing but praise to say about her-
Britta, thank you so much for your help. It was wonderful to meet you and work with you. You’re the best.
~Sebastian Roché, actor
Thank you for all your amazing help. You were really a life saver!
~ Jeremy Schuetze, actor
It’s warm and fuzzy feeling that you are feeling right now. When students praise their teachers like that, it makes the hearts melt.
So if you have an upcoming audition or the dreaded German exam, contact Britta. If you don’t reside anywhere near her, no need to panic. She is available via Skype to anyone and everyone around the globe who wants to learn from her. She is a great dialect coach and your accent after working with her will be on point. Trust her. She will transform you. Go to her website and see yourself: www.brittazeimer.com. Go learn and ace the German accent!!