The Wheel of Time is a huge project! In my role as dialect coach, I work with the actors doing accents different to their native accent. Much of my work is helping actors with consistence. As it is a fantasy series, there are a lot of storylines, and a lot of characters. Sometimes there is a long time between shoot days for actors, so I can help bring them back to their character’s voice when they’ve been away long. It can also be a very physical project as well as vocal, so I will often lead vocal warm ups to take care of actors’ voices on more strenuous days.
Another thing I do to help with consistency is keep track of the ‘world’ names/words. Words that are specific to this fantasy world go through a detailed process to decide on pronunciations, and once they’re decided its my job to record them, create reference recordings for others to refer to, and monitor that they’re being said correctly. Sometimes, I’ll even correct an assistant director if they’re saying a name wrong, just so it doesn’t get consistently repeated to the actors wrong! I’ve got a spreadsheet of over 500 words from The Wheel of Time that I keep track of. Though, this can get complicated because there are different accents spoken within the world of the show. So sometimes, its up to me to decide if someone is ‘allowed’ to pronounce a world word differently because they have a different accent, or if I think it will be perceived as an inconsistency in the show.
Finally, I need to keep track of geography and characters. Because we’ve got different accents, I need to keep track of where the characters speaking a certain accent are from in the story, and make sure that any other characters that crop up from that place sound like them. This also comes into play when the sound mix begins later in post production, as I am able to inform the people in charge of background voices what kind of accents would be in the background of different geographic locations in the world.
I am also the language consultant for this show, which means I translate all of the ‘Old Tongue’ (which is a language specific to The Wheel of Time world) spoken in the show is translated by me. In the books, it is a dead language, so another aspect of my work is rebuilding the dead language from the remembered bits that are in the books. This meant providing a grammar system, and making up words that didn’t exist yet! I find that really fun and satisfying. When actors speak Old Tongue in the show, I teach them the lines, and coach them to know what they’re saying and how to say it convincingly as a native speaker.