I am Erik Singer, dialect coach and accent expert. You may have seen my video with WIRED breaking down Hollywood actors' accents! AMA!
There were so many excellent questions today, I wish I could have managed to answer more of them while we were live! I'm going to try to get to at least a few more of them in the next few days or so. If I didn't answer yours, have a read through the rest of the questions and comments here—I may have answered your question in another thread. If you can't find the answer you're looking for here, you might head over to the DialectCoaches.com Pinterest Page (https://www.pinterest.com/dialectcoaches/) or the website for Knight-Thompson Speechwork (http://ktspeechwork.com/). If you're really looking for something deep in the weeds, you might find it on the Knight-Thompson Speechblog (http://ktspeechwork.com/blog/), which I edit and write for, along with many other brilliant teachers and coaches. (Warning: the weeds can get pretty deep over there!)
I've gotta run, everyone! Thank you so much for this—I had a blast answering your questions. (Great questions, people!) You made my first Reddit experience an incredibly positive one.
Just remember: Accent is identity. Accent is a layer of storytelling. It's (almost) never the actor's fault when an accent isn't what it should it be. It's usually about not having adequate prep time. (Tell the producers and studio heads!)
I'm a dialect and language coach for film, television & theatre productions, and a voice, speech, and text teacher. I'm also an actor (though mostly just v/o these days). From 2010 to 2013 I was the Associate Editor for the "Pronunciation, Phonetics, Linguistics, Dialect/Accent Studies" section of the Voice and Speech Review, the peer-reviewed journal of the profession. More information at http://www.eriksinger.com.
Watch me break down 32 actor's accents: https://youtu.be/NvDvESEXcgE