This breakdown last week called for any number of versions of the Queen's English -- from London posh to Irish to South African (really? South African?). They even said Kiwi was okay, but NOT Australian. They have a very high estimation of the skills and subtleties I bring to the table if they think I can discern the differences between those two!
So I went and did it as best I could. The casting agent said my accent seemed to go in and out. Ya think?
I don't know what the problem is, exactly. I think it's self-consciousness. I'm good with language and phrasing and such, but I think I just feel goofy doing an accent. There are few things worse (or more embarrassing to hear OR do) than a poorly done accent.
I'm sure if I'd just relax and think less about it, I'd be fine. But I find myself working on it, word-for-word, and practicing over and over. And forget about ad-libbing or improv -- I really need to work with the specific words in order to get it down. (At the audition they even said I could do non-British accents if I wanted -- so I could have pulled out the Scotch-Croatian-Farsi accent I did for Gordman's -- but I felt turning on a dime like that would be risky.)
There are dialect coaches and methods and courses and such but, in the end, as with everything else, I think it's really more a matter of letting go.