I'm Northern Irish, I think most of you reading this will know that by now. Ok, technically I'm a 'halfer' or a 'plastic paddy' as my mother is English, but that's for another day... I sound 100% Northern Irish. Especially if I'm in a mood. You'd be surprised how much faster you get service when you turn on the 'nordy' twang.
As a voice actor sounding Northern Irish has never been an issue. In fact it's what we in the business world term a 'USP' or 'Unique Selling Point' (#businessterminology101 #googledit) In fact, I mainly work in my nordy accent. Which is fine, even though I would like to be a russian spy one day (see Gaming Demo here) Hey, you've got to have a dream.
Last week I was approached by a chap from the Guardian who wanted to know how my accent had helped or hindered my career progression. As it transpires more than a quarter of people in the UK feel discriminated against due to their accent and, perhaps more worryingly, 8 in 10 employers admit to 'making discriminated decisions based on regional accents', and that stat is taken from the article itself which you can see here
Look, we've all done a 'calm down calm down' in a jesting manner with Scouse mates, or enjoyed a bit of the old 'get aaaaat of moi paaab' cockney banter from time to time and I'll admit, I have my favourite accents and those that, what's the opposite of favourite, 'make me want to rip my skin off'. But that's personal preference and I would like to think I'd never discriminate against a person based on their accent even in a social situation let alone one which could have an effect on their career.
There are lazy geographical stereotypes out there but the truth is they are the same for every region. People from X sound stupid, people from Y are stingy, don't even get me started on people from Z! But deary me. It's a sad state of affairs when someone makes a judgement on career suitability due to a regional accent. Surely if you are good at your job you can overcome these stereotypes and achieve your career goals? Maybe this is the naive view of someone for whom their accent is a plus. But I'll bet you all the Guinness in Dublin I wouldn't have let anyone stop me from being a lawyer or doctor or astronaut because of my accent. I'd've been the best gosh darn nordy space cadet at space school, so I would so I would. See, I just geographically stereotyped myself there. It's a habit. So it is so it is. DAMN IT!
I'm interested to hear what you think. Has your accent influenced your career in a good or bad way? Have you experienced positive or negative attitudes towards you based on your accent?
Let me know. I'll just be here eating potatoes and kissing the blarney stone. DARN IT!