Monday, March 12, 2012

Armitage Academy of American Accents






We’re in Day One of  FanstRAvaganza 3 in THE FREEFORM tagteam chain! see my partner’s posts at A is for Armitage and Funky Blue Dandelion.



Don't let this American accent happen to Richard

I’m sure everyone on both sides of the pond and beyond have noticed how many British actors are now starring in US television series and films, and most of the time they’re playing Americans.  Richard Armitage is bound to be in demand for an American role after The Hobbit


He mentioned in an interview that when auditioning in the US for a part in a series some years ago his American accent was found, lets say, questionable. Maybe better to quote him for the full effect:

“And, as with all promising British actors, Tinseltown beckons. He's been to a Los Angeles audition for a role as a CIA agent in a television pilot. Armitage tells a story about his casting session that just about sums up this man's pleasing blend of confidence and modesty. "I'd practiced my American accent really hard so I could get the part just right. When I finished reading, the casting people said, 'Wow! That was great... Now would you mind doing it again with an American accent?'"

But now help for Richard Armitage is here!


The Armitage Academy of American Accents







American Armitage fans felt it was our duty to help him have an accent edge on other UK actors when meeting with US producers and directors. So today we're visiting and doing a little tour of the Armitage Academy of American Accents


 Armitage Academy Village


  
The AAoAA is unique in that we have only one pupil, Richard Armitage, but hundreds of instructors to teach him not only the variety of American accents from Sea to Shining Sea but also the different social and regional cultural basics of being an American.










 In this total immersion program we also want Richard to talk and think like an American when he’s called on to do so. We want him to fit in seamlessly as a Vermonter, Nebraskan, Texan, and New Yorker, to name just a few.


Student Dress code for the AAoAA

To promote a true Total Immersion experience we’ve scouted the nation to find a remote beautiful and peaceful environment to help Richard concentrate exclusively on his studies. 




We've been flooded with applications from around the United States to work as Accent Ambassadors for the Academy and 99% of the applicants have been women.





Our goal is to have a full American accent and culture immersion for Armitage. We have many exciting activities and field trips planned to help us accomplish this and I’ll highlight just a few below:


1. Life is Like High School: One of the rites of passage of any American is High School. We’ve set up a two week full-immersion HS experience for RA. One week he’ll be the school hunk and 



 the second week the school nerd (we’ve managed to secure a loan of some of the wardrobe and wigs he wore as John Strandring). 



Though all of us at the Academy will play his fellow High School students, we've also managed to hire some real High School students for full authenticity.





    2.  Football Time in America:  We’re talking real FOOTBALL here folks, 






   not that soccer game that Armitage thinks is football.  




    We have field trips planned to football games around the country, from High Schools to professional games, with Armitage under full supervision from Accent Ambassadors at all times of course to make sure he's practicing his "American" with the crowd.We want to make sure he doesn't start shouting “GOAL” at some inopportune moment. 




    Of course nothing says culture like food and drink, so we’ll prepare a tailgate party for him during the Super Bowl. 


   We have also secured some genuine football fans for the party to immerse Armitage in the full US Football Fan experience. 



           (It will give him a new perspective on the "Armitage army")

    To get the full cultural immersion and game vocabulary Armitage will have to play football as well.  




  

   We've been having tryouts of our staff and instructors to be part of the teams, though 

I  I’m sorry to say there has been some infighting 
   as to who will be selected to play on 
   Armitage's team 
    


    
    and who and how many will be designated to help dress and undress him in the locker room.  

  Though Richard has had experience with football shoulder pads 






      So we've brought in an outside judge  




     To draw names out of this hat for the teams




       3. What Happens in Vegas: One of the field trips we’re planning is a week to that US magic place of make believe, no, not Disney,  Las Vegas.  In order to make sure our star pupil is always practicing his various American regional accents a select group of instructors representing the different areas of the country will take turns being his Vegas chaperons 24 hours a day every day of his stay.  




    We will have Armitage experience what it’s like to be an Elvis Presley impersonator. 






    Maybe we’ll even add a surprise Vegas wedding in the mix if Armitage is willing. (Don’t worry; we’ve budgeted for extra security for the bride should this happen). 






    We expect this also to be a teaching moment so he can learn the meaning of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.


     We also have some regular weekly activities for our student:


    Reading Practice Evenings:  In order to assess Armitage’s progress in American Regional accents every Friday we’ll have a Reading Practice Evening. Armitage will read great works of American Literature with different character accents to AAoAA instructors and staff in our intimately designed space. 




   I think we're just in time to listen to one of Armitage's readings. 






    Special Programs: One of the strengths of the US is its diversity and I’ve volunteered to have some frequent one-on-one Spanglish sessions with Armitage. We at AAoAA offer the full cultural immersion curriculum.






    The initial Accent Experience should take several months of total 24 hours a day immersion in our lovely facilities.We're just starting with the basics and as you can observe we have a very productive Accent Immersion day planned for him for today.  









                                                           *Some R&R for RA


    We also understand Armitage will have to travel for work occasionally, so we have American Accent Squads only a phone call away ready to follow him wherever he goes to continue the seamless immersion experience. 








    
   Hope you enjoyed your visit to the Armitage Academy of American Accents.





   

     (Thank you to Ricrar for inspiring the idea for this post during a chat about RA and American accents)

*  *Not RA in this photo
F

     For more of THE FREEFORM tagteam in FanstRA 3, see my partner’s post  A is for Armitage and Funky Blue Dandelion. Tomorrow, THE FREEFORM tagteam continues aMelanie's Musings, An Obssessed Fanatic, and Do I Have a Blog? . All F3 links can be found here.





55 comments:

  1. Love this post - I had a good giggle and could only sigh at the thought of 24 hour immersion! Very creative and funny as heck. Have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello and welcome! Thank you so much, I'm so glad you enjoyed The Academy. All for RA of course.
      Enjoy FanstRA!

      Delete
  2. What a wonderful post! I'm still giggling! Sign me up for the Reading Practice Evenings. If I was sitting in that chain, in front of the fireplace, listening to RA read American literature, it would mean I was truly in (RA) Heaven!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my, wouldn't that be RA heaven, I agree. So glad you liked it!

      Delete
  3. Love it! That quote from the interview is just so sweet! Where can I sign up to become an AAoAA assistant? Sounds like a great job :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! I think you just applied and I'm happy to offer you an AAoAA assistant position. RA is the best student ever :)

      Delete
  4. Wow, this is absolutely fantastic -- even better than its advance press. Love the football jokes and found myself laughing to wet my pants more than once! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Servetus! I am so glad I made you laugh. Thank you for the compliment :)
      Maybe we can get accreditation for the Academy?

      FanstRA is off to a great start!

      Delete
  5. This was hilarious! How could he turn down an opportunity like this? :D

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    Replies
    1. I can't imagine he would :)
      Thanks judiang!

      Delete
  6. Haha, brilliant! We can also teach RA "the wave." Make sure not to wear short pants or you may stick to the seats. Don't ask me how I know that. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bccmee! OK, I won't ask - LOL
      I think RA needs special assistance from you to learn "the wave". So glad you liked it.

      Delete
  7. So hilarious! I would gladly volunteer to be on the opposing football team. I'll even allow him tackle me...all for the sake of his education of course. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hello! We all have to make sacrifices :)
      Thank you!

      Delete
  8. This is a scream, Fabo! Will there be credit through the Institute of Armitage Studies, I wonder?

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    Replies
    1. Hey there! Glad you liked it.
      Great idea! I think we can give RA extra credit for extra curricular activities.

      Delete
  9. Absolutely hilarious!! The 'immersion' and 24-hour surveillance aspects of the program are without a doubt the secret formulas to AAoAA's success!

    I am worried (working in London) that I have been picking up far too much of the British vernacular as words like 'rubbish!', 'bollocks!', and 'crisps' have made their way into my speech with alarming regularity.

    I have recently taken measures to actively counter this Anglo-cultural assimilation by addressing all male co-workers (regardless of professional rank) simply as 'Dude'. I'm sure this standard form of address is already covered in your 'Fundamentals of Western Dialect' accent material! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Thank you for your great comment and so glad you liked it :)
      I love your "Fundamentals" idea and from now on you are in charge of that part of the curriculum for The Academy since you have experience on both sides of the language divide.

      Delete
  10. LOL - great post!! Maybe we should start an Australian branch: "Armitage Academy of Australian Accents" ... although we don't have much of a film industry at present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! An Australian branch is a great idea. We need to expand the Academy :)
      We used to see some wonderful Australian films years ago and so many wonderful Australian actors.

      Delete
  11. You gals are hysterical!! I for one can confidently volunteer our ranch as THE perfect place for any and all "immersion" activities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! I think RA should go and check out your ranch to see if it will work for some special extra training :)

      Delete
  12. Great post. I of course volunteer to be on standby 24 hours (does it matter that I have a Canadian accent instead...eh?)

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    Replies
    1. Hi gracie!

      Since most Hollywood films are filmed in Canada, I think RA needs a Canadian accent, we'll add to the curriculum!

      Delete
  13. Thank you Fabo for the exhilarating lesson!

    The AAoAA is really a fantastic University to attend, but can I say we would keep the student here in the Decadent Old Europe (DOE)? His accent is simply perfect (as everything is in him) and we love it exactly like that! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Glad you enjoyed the visit :)
      I agree that I love his accent as it is now and would miss it -but you know he loves to learn new skills!

      Delete
  14. Thank you Fabo,it was hilarious! :)
    "Those Americans always have more fun"she said mumbling to herself >:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello! Glad you liked it!
      Come on over and join the fun.

      Delete
  15. Thanks for these laughs! Just remember to send him to teach him some Spanish in the craddle of the language before to start with Spanglish. I promise to send him back well prepared. He can come back to Spain for a full inmersion later. LOL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hola Antonia! Claro que si.
      Of course, we'll send him over for special Spanish immersion extra credit, I'm sure you'll be a great teacher.

      Delete
    2. Antonia, just because I know you would need teachers for the different exercises to learn spanish, I volunteer.

      Anything in the name of Ri..ahem... Spanish culture.

      OML ;)

      Delete
  16. That was fun! Great post!
    Ana Cris

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  17. Am volunteering my services for the definitive Jersey accent which he could use while playing a Mafia don or even for a guest appearance on MTV's Jersey Shore. Imagine RA as Snooky Bait!

    You might want to rethink Judge Judy - she might decide to forget picking the right staff and just lock him up and keep him for herself.

    Fun post that really got me thinking!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are in as Accent Ambassador Phoebe. I can just see a new version of The Sopranos starring RA with your help :)
      Glad you liked it :)

      mmmm...I'll keep an eye on Judge Judy

      Delete
  18. As a foreign speaker, I'm not the best person to discuss accents in the English speaking world. What I know is that I just love MrA.'s northern English accent. I wouldn't want to hear him speaking any other language, neither my own, Italian. It'd be so awkward!
    I heard Richard pronouncing my own name as John Mulligan: he whispered "Maria" with a very angry menacing tone and ... well... he made me shiver. But his pronunciation was so awkward (maybe not for you, of course)
    I really hope he won't be asked to act in a fake American accent in any of his future works. I can understand your hope but ... I prefer his natural prosody and pronunciation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Maria for your thoughtful comments. Has given me much to think about. As someone that has always lived between two cultures and two languages my own name is pronounced very differently depending on who I am with, so I'm used to it - LOL

      Rest assured I have no desire to have Richard speak in other than his own gorgeous accent. I swoon just to hear him say "mosquitoes" :)

      Delete
  19. Wow! expected to be one of the first to comment and see I'm rather late to the party:)

    Loved your post, Fabo! Would like to suggest perhaps scheduling a brief visit for RA, with each of his American fans, might also serve to give him an edge with our diverse accents. Maybe installing a GPS anklet on his person would help insure his safe return, in a timely fashion, to your academy.

    Now, I must seriously examine the great map above of authentic regional American accents. Has always been one of my strongest interests.

    Thank you for the fun, interesting post.
    Enjoy all the other RA happenings this week - just think, we're only a few mos away from Richard's The Hobbit promotion appearances. Hooray! No doubt it will feel like a dream come true for everyone.

    Ann

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    1. Hi Ann!

      Thanks for the inspiration for the post :) I love your suggestion of having him visit each fan at home, we'll add to the curriculum. The GPS device - LOL

      Delete
  20. Having lived in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a number of years, I would be more than happy to assist RA in perfecting a "Yooper" accent!

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    1. Hello! I think the "Yooper" accent would be a great addition to the Armitage accent arsenal!

      Delete
  21. LOL .... the only bad thing about this course is that I cannot apply as a volunteer, my English has an accent, but not the one that you're looking for....

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    1. I think we should expand the Armitage Academy to include other accents!

      Delete
  22. I loved your post! Hilarious, and so useful! I'm sure RA will be pitch-perfect with his American accent thanks to his diligent tutors. Wish I could be one...
    As a resident of Ohio, I'd like to mention that the mountain range to our southeast is properly known as the Appa-LATCH-an, not Appa-lay-chee-an, Mountains. Just in case you all wanted to know. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think he needs some language lab time with you to learn the correct pronunciation :)

      Thank you Saralee - so glad you liked it!

      Delete
  23. YAY!!! Wonderful Fabo!!!! I love Your idea!!!

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  24. Major Giggles, Fabo!
    I love all of the detail you put into this essay! And to paraphrase, "What happens in FanstRAvaganza 3, stays in FanstRAvaganza 3". Ha!
    Cheers! Grati ;->

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's our new saying Grati! LOL

      So glad you liked it!

      Delete
  25. Thanks for the incredible post Fabo!! Can't stop myself from giggling. I really admire your creativity. I looove the FanstRAvaganza!!!

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    1. Hello! Much Thanks and so glad it made you laugh. Yes, FanstRAvaganza Rules!

      Delete
  26. Great post! I'll drive & take care of the tunes during RA's road trip to Vegas :)

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    1. Hi Fanny! You are the Music Road Trip Director!

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  27. Brilliant! So thoughtfully, respectfully and hilariously presented! Perhaps we should do this accent thing in stages? We could try a Christopher Plummer accent first? Maybe RA could get his tongue around that?

    fitzg

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much fitzg :)

      Christopher Plummer? Would you say his accent is Canadian/British? Maybe he can be our Distinguished Visiting Faculty - great idea.

      Delete

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