Episode 50 (The Power of Voice)

Denise Woods

Paul’s guest for March 2022 is Denise Woods, successful Hollywood dialect coach, theatre professor at the California Institute of the Arts, and author of the recent book The Power of Voice, published by HarperCollins.

In addition to the two dialect coaches discussing the finer points of their profession, Paul and Denise talk about the contentious terms “accent reduction/modification” and how to help clients who believe their accent is holding them back socially or professionally. They also discuss coaching Black actors and delve into the changing landscape of audiobooks and how a single narrator can respectfully voice scores of characters who differ in age, gender, dialect, nationality, and ethnicity.

A native of New York City’s Lower East Side and a graduate and former faculty member of the Juilliard School, Denise has coached Queen Latifah, Will Smith, Halle Berry, Jessica Chastain, Amber Heard, Anthony Mackie, Phylicia Rashad, Ellen Burstyn, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Soledad O’Brien, Morris Chestnut, Taye Diggs, Paul Rodriguez, David Alan Grier, Victoria Rowell, Kellan Lutz, Ray Liotta, Portia De Rossi, Rachel Weisz, Mekhi Phifer, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeffrey Wright, Mike Myers, and many others. She was recently the dialect coach for the Netflix film The Harder They Fall, starring Idris Elba and Regina King, and she coached Don Cheadle in the critically acclaimed Showtime series, Black Monday.

For more information about Denise, visit her website, SpeakItClearly.com.

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)