Webby Awards! Vote before the end of April 20th!!

The video I did with WIRED last fall, which has now been viewed over 3 million times (!!), is up for a Webby. I'm really kind of amazed by this. As far as I'm aware, it's the first time a dialect coach has been nominated for a Webby, or really anything like it. And what's more, we've been leading the voting since the beginning...until we were passed sometime yesterday or today by Conan O'Brien! I just checked again, though, and it seems like we're in the lead again!

Voting closes tomorrow, so clearly we're neck and neck going down the stretch! If you'd like to vote for us and help make history, you can vote here

It's true, Conan is tall. But I'm taller. So surely I deserve to win, right? Here are a few other reasons why you should vote for me and WIRED:

Reddit AMA #2

I was asked to do another Reddit AMA on Wednesday, after the new Wired conlang video started going viral. Thanks so much to all who tuned in and asked questions. I really enjoyed it!

The event is over, but you can still read through it here.

Have a look if you're at all curious about the subject, or about accents and dialect coaching generally. There were some really excellent questions.

New Wired video on #conlangs

A new video I made with Wired went live on Tuesday. It was so much fun to research and to shoot, and the extraordinary Joe Sabia at Condé Nast did an unbelievable job editing it. 47 hours after it dropped, it's had 497,500 some views. Thanks to everyone who's watched it!


TEDx—Saving the world with Arash Derambarsh

Arash with food that  will not  go to waste!

Arash with food that will not go to waste!

I had the great pleasure of working with the brilliant and inspiring Arash Derambarsh for the first ever TEDx event in LA. Arash single-handedly got the French government to pass a law prohibiting supermarkets from dumping surplus food, with a single stroke saving tons of food yearly and feeding masses of people who don't have enough to eat.

It's estimated that more than 7 million tons of food is thrown away in France each year. The figure worldwide is more than 1 billion tons. Arash is now working to persuade governments all over the world to pass similar laws. The power of this idea is astonishing—it takes nothing more than passing a single law to work a massive change that directly affects the lives of millions of people and the future of the planet.

Arash's TEDx talk was his first ever in English. He worked like a demon to make sure it was intelligible and dynamic, and he hit it out of the park. I'll post video when it becomes available in a month or two.

Nerdist's Watch Your Language

Lohan on Turkish TV

I was on Zach Sherwin's Watch Your Language last night to talk about Lindsay Lohan's strange new accent. It was a fun show. You can see it on Alpha now, and I understand it'll be on Youtube before too long. You can hear her sound a little bit Turkish, a little bit...some other stuff in this video.

The quick version of what I said to Zach last night: accent is identity. Identity is a construction of self, even if mostly an unconscious one, and can be quite fluid. However striking Lohan's case is, it's just a pronounced example of something most human beings are doing most of time, even if in a far subtler way.

It was a thrill for me to be on the show with sociolinguist Nicole Holliday. Dialect coaches have a lot to learn from linguistics, and sociolinguistics is particularly applicable to what we do. (I'd also respectfully submit that they have a thing or two they might learn from us!)

1 million views!

The Wired video with me commenting on various accent performances in film and making the case for more prep time for actors has now been viewed nearly 1.2 million times. I'm really floored that it seems to have struck such a chord. But then again, I'm not sure I've ever met a human who wasn't fascinated by languages and accents, so I guess the potential audience for something like this is enormous!

Reddit AMA link

I did a Reddit AMA on Friday 11/18. There were some great questions. You can check it out here:


Reddit AMA

Wired has invited me to do a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) from their offices tomorrow at noon EST. I'm not really a Reddit user and I've never done one of these before, so be gentle!


Wired invited me to blow up Reddit!

Wired's Joe Sabia invited me to shoot a video commenting on various accent performances in movies (both good and bad). The resulting (sixteen minute long!) video was released yesterday, and it seems to be blowing up both on Reddit (6520 upvotes as of this writing) and on Youtube (over a quarter of a million views and counting).

I think Joe did a great job editing it, and I think it came out really well*. I'm particularly pleased that the video ends up emphasizing that it's not usually the actor's fault when an accent doesn't come together, and that it's nearly always a question of appropriate support and prep time.

(*Two minor issues—a small editing oversight seems to have resulted in them classifying Tom Cruise's target accent in Far and Away as Belfast. It was Southwest Ireland. And I made an error in quickly researching Brad Pitt's accent in Snatch. In spite of the fact that I'd always thought (correctly) that it was a Traveler accent, I read a piece by his dialect coach on the film (Brendan Gunn) that said they'd initially been targeting Belfast. Definitely my bad.)