With a PH.D. in Performance Studies and fifty years of experience in the performing arts, Diane Howard has an extensive knowledge of filmmaking and all that goes on behind the scenes to create works of media art. She’s studied around the globe at seven schools of higher learning as well as worked in front of the camera and behind. Most recently, she’s worked on a number of films as a dialect coach.
When did you first develop an interest in film?
I have been involved in the performing arts as a Christian for almost 50 years in the following capacities: performer, instructor, director, producer, professor, writer… Recently I retired after about 25 years of teaching Performance Studies at a Christian university in Central, TX. When digital film production first began, I began a film program at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, where I had been teaching and leading programs in theater, radio, and television. My students wrote and produced original redemptive films until I retired. My students and I also had talents agents and were also involved in big redemptive movies in Austin such as Temple Grandin, Seven Days in Utopia, Secondhand Lions and more.
What is your educational background?
I have a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of Texas, Austin. I have studied the performing arts all over the world: U. of Oregon (B.A. in English/Music); U. of Washington (M.Ed. in Gifted Ed. and the Performing Arts); NYC (vocal performance and Performance Studies at Tisch School of Arts); Europe (vocal performance, liturigal dance, Christian theater); U. of Louisville/Kentucky (vocal performance, television); U of Portland/Oregon (experimental Christian Theater); training in Austin, TX, in acting for the camera, voice-over, and Ph.D. courses at UT in Performance Studies.
What led to your becoming a dialect coach?
Having lived and traveled all over the world all my life, starting in China during the Communist Revolution in 1947, I have learned to speak other languages and have been fascinated with dialects and cultures around the world. As a singer, I have always had an interest in the musicality of language. As a Performance Studies professor, I taught voice and diction.
McGraw-Hill published my texbook on this subject that included a section on voice-over work, written by a colleague. (This book is Speak Skillfully and Successfully: A Guide to Developing Diction and Voice-Over Excellence, McGraw-Hill, Amazon) Before I retired as a university professor, I was hired as a dialect coach for the redemptive movies Return to the Hiding Place and Alone Yet Not Alone.
What other faith-based films have you been a part of?
Since I retired two years ago, I have been attached to many faith-based feature films in pre-production as a dialect and/or dialogue coach. These have included the following movies: The Prodigal, Ruth, Broken, and The Long Run. I have also been attached to the action-packed, inspirational movie trilogy My Heart Dies With You as the pivotal, redemptive character, Scottish Aunt Eliza and as the dialect coach.
Do you prefer being in front of the camera or working behind the scenes?
I enjoy both.
What are your film related goals for the future?
Having become associated with Dr. Ted Baehr and his team at Movieguide, I am looking forward to participating in the Movieguide Awards and Gala events in February and to my ongoing support of Moveguide ministries. Dr. Baehr has recommended my work as dialogue and dialect coach.
I also look forward to continuing to support excellent redemptive movies for theaters however I can as an actor, coach, and/or writer. Further, I plan to continue to develop my skills as an actor, coach, and writer.
I am the Austin Film Examiner and an AXS Entertainment contributor. I write weekly columns on top redemptive, family-friendly, and inspiring movie and television picks. For the past decade I have mentored redemptive, Christian, faith-based filmmakers in my Facebook group, Pro Films. I am more than willing to serve redemptive movie makers however I can.