Member of the week: Amy Stoller, dialect coach

Aug 30, 2006

This is the first day of our newest feature: Member of the Week. We will highlight interesting aspects of a member's work, and ask a set of questions relevant to freelancing. We choose our member of the week from the profiles in our Yellow Pages, so if you have not created a profile yet, do it now! Our inaugural member of the week is Amy Stoller. Did you ever wonder how your favorite actor learns to speak in different accents and dialects for different roles? Amy is an award-winning dialect coach, helping actors do just this. To learn more about Amy and her work, check out her website and her answers to the questions below.

Amy Stoller

What has been your most interesting project? They’re all interesting! Right now I’m co-directing Cheer from Chawton, a new solo play about Jane Austen. I started on the project as Dialect Designer-Dramaturge, and the playwright-performer valued my contributions so much that she asked me to co-direct with her Choreographer-Movement Coach. We’re all excited, because the show will soon make its UK debut at the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. My most challenging project to date, and therefore one of the most rewarding, was doing the dialect design for the New York premiere of The Daughter-in-Law, by D. H. Lawrence. Because the play was written entirely in an obscure English midlands dialect, it posed special problems for the cast – to say nothing of the audience! In addition to my work with the actors, I prepared an extensive glossary for the program. I’m very proud that the production was so well received by our audience and the critics. I feel extremely lucky that I get to do what I love for a living. Each new project has its own problems to be solved, and that keeps work - and life - interesting. Why did you decide to go freelance? As an entertainment industry professional, I’d always had a freelance career, but supplemented my income with various office “day-jobs.â€? After September 11, 2001, the day-jobs were impossible to come by, so I committed myself to building my own business to the point where it would support me. The first couple of years were very tough, but I’ve never regretted that decision – I’m much happier than I ever was when splitting my focus between performing arts work and subsistence work. What tip would you give to a new freelancer or someone who is considering going freelance? __ Do your homework! There are lots of organizations, including Freelancers Union, that can help you in the planning stages – and beyond. ** What is your favorite spot in the city in which you live?** My neighborhood, the West Village – and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. What is your inspiration? Any good, well-told story. I’m just a fool for good writing.