I have recently dabbled in voice acting and I'm trying to expand my range as far as performing other age groups and cultures. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on accents?
There are quite a few that I want to get down and not sound like I'm trying.
The first thing to note is that there's not really such a thing as a "British" accent; a Geordie
sounds very different to someone from the West Country
to someone with a Home Counties
accent to the aforementioned cockney. Even within those accents there will be vast differences depending on background and class... the home counties example linked to above is a distinctly posh one.
As for cockney specifically, one of the key things is to largely ignore the idea of rhyming slang. While some terms have entered the general lexicon rhyming slang in and of itself is pretty much non-existent these days. Key points for cockney include:
1) Drop the "h"s at the start of words. "Hotel" becomes "otel" etc.
2) "Th" at the start of words is pronounced as "f". So "three" becomes "free"
3) "Th" in the middle of words can
become a "v" sound... but this isn't universal.
4) "Er" at the end of words tends to become "ah"; "bother" becomes "bothah" (and in extreme cases "bovah")
5) "G"s at the end of words are almost always dropped: "seeing" becomes "seein"
That said, a key point is not to overdo it. Cockney as a general rule is somewhat "easy" to speak; it's about dropping letters where you can and turning harsh individual sounds soft. It should role, flow and sound pretty natural. Trying too hard and putting too much effort makes it sound like a theme-park version of the accent.