Updated: Sep 14
I was a young aspiring actress in Rome in the 90s. I found my way into the Film Dubbing industry by silently watching numerous ADR sessions. I politely walked into film dubbing studios and asked if I could attend the sessions and watch more experienced actors perform.
It took a lot of courage to walk in unknown places, meeting people who all knew each other and laughed and exchanged anecdotes, mostly successful actors with theatre credits and voicing major Hollywood stars.
As I spoke English and understood foreign films, I was advised to start working "behind the scenes". This meant working as assistant director, adapting film scripts and so on. When Mr Mario Maldesi, a renowned film dubbing director, needed to fill the role of a new assistant, I took on the challenge.
Alongside my daily job, the director allowed me to say a few lines here and there, playing a waitress or a young passer-by.
Working as assistant director had its rewards, however for someone who wished to be an actress, watching other actresses perform in the studios, can be a punishment.
The event that I will never forget, happened during the dubbing of a film by Akiro Kurosawa, Dreams. I was sitting at the assistant's desk, pressing keys on the control panel, to save the best takes from the actors. There were many famous actors attending the sessions and not many female roles, but one of them was fascinating. It was the character of the Snow Fairy
I remember the director talking to a very talented actress who was cast to dub the role.
The studio was dark and tears were silently falling on my cheeks, I had secretly hoped the director would cast me for this role, as it was my playing age. The actress dubbed the line again and again. The director wasn't happy with the outcome and, after dozen takes, he politely dismissed her.
He then walked towards the bookstand and looking at me said, "Do you want to try?"
It was a magical moment. The director sat at the console desk and I approached the microphone to say the line, succeeding at my third attempt.
"Soldato la neve è calda, soldato il ghiaccio è tiepido"
"Soldier the snow if hot, soldier the ice is warm"
A line I have never forgotten.