The Accent Chameleon: Mahmoud Taji Interviews Amy Walker the 21 Accents Viral Video Wonde

May 6, 2009  |  Articles, Interview

Morning Folks, Today’s post is kind of a followup on a previous post of mine called How To Learn Any Accent which itself was a build on another post of mine called Funtime: Accents of the World. In the Accents of the world post I featured a youtube video for Amy Walker called 21 Accents… I will repost it here:

as you can see Amy’s talent is quite remarkable… Amy’s short 2.5 video was posted in January of 2008 and within a few days went Viral… Viral Videos for those who are a little confused by the terms are basically videos that become so popular that the whole internet starts speaking about it… they are called Viral because they spread in popularity like a virus.

Amy’s 2.5 minute video was such a success that it got her an appearance on the Today Show.  Here is an interview with  Amy were she explains her background and the story behind her 21 accents video:

Amy was nice enough to take some time away from her hectic work schedule and answer a few questions for Taji’s Voice Emporium:

Mahmoud Taji
First I would like to thank you for giving me a bit of your time… I know these day’s things are quite hectic for you..so I’ll get right to the questions:

Your Youtube video post caused quite a sensation… 1.5 million views since Jan 2008…. how has it effected your career?

Amy Walker
It blew my mind.  The fact that I can film a piece that I’m inspired to share, and immediately people whom I’ll never meet on the other side of the planet can be inspired by it… it’s incredible.  It woke me up to the power of the internet as a community-builder.  That, in turn, sparked the idea to fund our feature film Connected, by small donations from people around the world, to show what we can do when we unite for a common goal.  I’ve chosen to be empowered by the internet to create the work I feel drawn to, instead of relying on an agent to convince other people that I’m what they’re looking for.  You can feel powerless as an actor or filmmaker in the studio system.  That’s changing now.

MT:
In one of our past correspondence emails you mentioned that you were taking part in several plays … what are they?

AW:
I have several roles in “Under Milk Wood”, by Dylan Thomas, for June, and then I’ll be flown to Kentucky in August for a festival of 4 Agatha Christie plays.  I’ve not been given the titles yet, only that I’m cast in all four.  Normally, I’d be the first to read the pieces before I sign on, but I had a great experience at the New Mysteries Festival last year, and lots of love for the Executive Producer there, and our production team.  I enjoy jumping through so many different characters in a day.

MT:
You also mentioned that some of the show directors requested that you give the other actors dialect lessons… have you had alot of requests like that since the video?

AW:
I’ve been teaching accents for about 8 years.  I probably get more formal requests now, but it’s something I’ve been doing informally for a long time.  I’m just now launching private lessons via Skype Webcam -thanks to your brilliant suggestion! (Taji’s note:In one of my correspondances with Amy I had suggested to her that she provide accent lessons via VoIP… and idea which seems to have taken off for her)  I’m offering sessions for acting, singing, accents, audition skills, public speaking… you name it.  http://www.AmyWalkerOnline.com

MT:
Have you ever done or considered doing voice over work? if so what work have you done?

AW:
I’ve done a few Public Service Announcements for the wonderful Global Child Nutrition Fund, and a few short audio books.  I’m currently recording a series of Creation Myths by Carolyn North, which are Gorgeous.  You can hear our earlier collaborations here (they might still be rendering them, but they’ll appear soon).  I recorded “The Reassuring News About Death” and “Life Post-Mortem”, which are both fascinating.  I switch between I don’t know how many different voices in the latter: http://www.healingimprovisations.net/audio/stories-essays/
I’ve also done 8 radio plays, which were recorded for syndication and resale at the New Mysteries festival last July:  http://newmysteries.org/tickets/

MT:
I also hear you are involved in making a movie… can you tell us more about that?

AW:
I’ve written a feature film called Connected, which my production company SoulFire Films is co-producing with a TBD Seattle-based company.  We’re utilizing donations of $1 from 1 million people around the world.  Everyone who donates will get their name in the credits of the finished film.  It’s about one family’s epic struggle to love each other for who they are, and to find out whether technology makes us feel more or less Connected.  As you can guess, that’s a major theme for me right now, and I think it’s something that anyone with a family and a computer -or even a phone- can relate to.  Universal themes, love, laughs, and the challenges of family.  I am SO JUICED about this project and it’s really starting to come together.  http://www.SoulFireProject.com is the current site, though we’re re-branding with a new site, working with GQ Web Design in London.  http://www.gqdesign.com  I know! It’s a film about connecting and we’re making it by connecting to all of these incredible people we’ve never met from around the world!

MT:
Do you have any favorite accents? or ones that you think you are better at than others?

AW:
It’s hard to pick favorites; it depends on my mood.  I do really enjoy Australian, but I most often find myself in a kind of middle-class British, when I’m not thinking about it, just talking to myself.
I’m better at the ones I’ve practiced more frequently and heard with more authentic speakers.  It’s only one aspect of character development that I got into as an actress searching for absolute authenticity.  I’ve spent just as much time and energy on other aspects of character research, this just happens to be the buzz-topic!  😉
MT:
Are you working on any new accents?

AW:
Inventions, Igor?  Yes.  I call it Franglese.
Um, no. Unless you mean “new to me”, in which case, Yes!  I have to learn Welsh for Milk Wood and teach it to the cast.  I’m still researching, but it’s a Stunning language.

——End of Interview——

Again I’d like to thank Amy for giving me some of her time to answer my questions. You can check out Amy’s Website and take a look at her online one-on-one accent courses… or check out her movie project at Soul Fire Project

If you enjoyed this interview please leave a comment… also remember you can get Taji’s Voice Emporium blog updates via email By Subscribing here

Copyright © Mahmoud Taji 2009. You may not repost or reprint this Interview without Permission of the Author.



2 Comments


  1. Taji, you do us a great service when you present such entertaining and informative material. Kudos to both of you.

  2. What a wonderful person Amy is, I’ve been fortunate enough to have conversed with her and she certainly is one cut above.
    Great interview Taji

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