Profession: Dubbing Director - About How Hollywood Stars Are Voiced

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Profession: Dubbing Director - About How Hollywood Stars Are Voiced
Profession: Dubbing Director - About How Hollywood Stars Are Voiced

Video: Profession: Dubbing Director - About How Hollywood Stars Are Voiced

Video: Profession: Dubbing Director - About How Hollywood Stars Are Voiced
Video: I Learned How To Voice A Cartoon 2023, September

Evgeny Khazov works at the Moscow Satire Theater. The actor's portfolio includes "The Operatives", "The Taming of the Shrew", "The Wedding in Malinovka", "The Libertine", "Moliere" and other performances. However, no less often than on stage, he can be found at recording studios, where he voices Hollywood stars. His work as an actor and dubbing director gives him the opportunity to transform into dozens of characters: from Jesus, played by Joaquin Phoenix in Mary Magdalene, to American comedian Marlon Wayans in the eponymous NBC TV series Marlon. The actor experiences each role in the dub as his own: together with his hero, he cries, laughs, admires, sighs, swears and makes the audience believe in it.

Photo: press service
Photo: press service

© press service

For the first time I got into the recording studio in 2007. They put me on the microphone, put on headphones, gave me a text, turned on a movie on the screen and said: “This is the time when you have to enter (time codes), a single slash is a short pause, a double slash is a long pause, do not force it, do backlashes (pauses), do not forget about the message, feel the microphone, listen to your voice and follow the character. For me it was unusual and even scary, because, rehearsing a role in the theater or preparing for filming a movie, I used to take the text home and carefully parse it. And here it was necessary to read from the sheet and get into the character immediately. This turned out to be one of the main features and difficulties in the work of voice actors: the voice as perceived by the viewer must inseparably exist with the actor in the frame.

Most of the Russian viewers are used to watching movies in an adapted version. In my opinion, the language barrier is the main factor determining the prevalence of dubbing in a particular country. For example, in neighboring Finland, foreign video content is shown in the original language and accompanied by Finnish subtitles. This can be explained by the fact that the local population speaks good English.

Despite the widespread practice of dubbing foreign films in the Russian box office, dubbing artists are little known to the general public. In Germany, for example, since 2000, they have been awarding a local Oscar for the best dubbing. I would like a similar prize to be instituted in Russia someday. This will give an additional impetus to the development of the profession.

In Russia, there are no programs of higher education in the specialty "Dubbing actor". Film scoring is most often done by actors who already have experience in filming a movie or working on a theater stage. The best way to get into the profession and get a role is to start with "gurs", that is, dubbing the crowd scenes in the film. This will allow you to make connections in professional circles.


The actors' speech is overlaid on top of the original soundtrack. The actor must master the technique of speed reading and be able to "beat off" one character from another.


A difficult option for scoring feature films, when the original speech of the characters is completely replaced by the Russian-language version. Particular attention is paid to the accuracy of hitting the character in terms of his character, speech characteristics, timbre of voice. The dubbing actor must speak synchronously with the screen character.

Being a dubbing director influenced me as a viewer. In the cinema, I listen very closely to the voices of the dubbing actors and try to determine how accurately they are selected. Sometimes for me it is even more important than the plot.

Do the actors think about the fact that on the other side of the world they will speak in someone else's voice? And how can they perceive their "stunt double"? I voiced Marlon Wayans on the NBC series Marlon. The role is very complex and emotional. After each shift, I left the studio literally wet. On my Instagram, I usually post backstage voiceovers overlaid on the original video. One of these posts was seen by Marlon himself, made a repost with the caption "Crazy".

Many people think that dubbing movies is easy. In fact, dozens of people can be involved in a single film. So, almost 40 actors were employed in the dubbing of the film "Judy".

There are three main steps in dubbing:

Step 1: Watching movies before anyone else in the strictest secrecy

First of all, I need to see the picture in the original and understand which of the actors could voice the characters. At this stage, I am not allowed to share information about the film publicly. Sometimes the preproduction process is complicated by strict restrictions on the part of content copyright holders. To avoid illegal leaks of content to the network before the official premiere, the actors are shown footage of the episodes during recording in the studio, in which sometimes only the head of the voiced character can be seen. In addition, do not forget that the premieres of new episodes of popular TV series are released simultaneously around the world. And each episode is adapted in the local market literally on the eve of release. A comical incident happened this year in Spain. In one of the episodes of "Game of Thrones" the original phrase was "She can't see us"and in the Spanish version the phrase was duplicated as "Sicansios" (the non-existent word "sicansios"). Social media users have noticed the error. Later it turned out that in a hurry, the translators took the original phrase for one word.

Step 2: Exploring Your Hero

Before dubbing, I try to feel the character and find my own semitones in the melody of his speech. This is very important because my voice should be as close to the original as possible. Although it so happens that the voice of the performer of the role does not always correspond to the appearance or playing age of the character. Then the dubbing artist can fix the situation. I dubbed in the Russian box office the then 43-year-old Joaquin Phoenix, who played Jesus Christ in Mary Magdalene. Dubbing director Yaroslava Georgievna Turyleva, it seems to me, made a wise decision: she wanted the voice of Jesus to sound younger in the Russian adaptation and correspond to his real age.

Still from the film "Mary Magdalene"
Still from the film "Mary Magdalene"

Still from the movie "Mary Magdalene" ©

In dubbing, it is important to follow the psychophysical state of the hero. We are obliged to live every scene with him: cry, get upset, laugh, feel fear. It takes a lot of work to get it done. I can work with an actor for up to eight hours on the dubbing of one role in a feature film. For comparison: a cameo role can be voiced in half an hour.

Step 3: using the dubbing tools

As soon as the translation of the original text is ready, the most interesting stage begins - work in the studio. The process of dubbing one motion picture lasts from two to six working days. A great dedication is required from the director: shifts last 12 hours. During this time, I need to work with a large number of artists, everyone needs to show attention and patience.

The actor who comes to the recording usually does not know what exactly he will do today. In rare cases, the starring actor is sent a film and text in advance for review. Most often, an artist meets his character at the microphone. In this case, the task of the director is to tell about the plot, to explain the features of the behavior and character of the hero. The most important thing for me is to find contact with the artist before starting the recording and make the workflow comfortable. This is important because artists are always recorded one at a time, even if they are involved in a love scene where incredibly strong feelings must flare up between the characters.

It's not always easy to play emotions, because sometimes you come to the studio in a bad mood, and you need to laugh from take to take. But over time, each artist works out a certain technique that allows him to quickly laugh or cry with the hero.

In our field, it is not particularly customary to mark someone or talk about someone. It is believed that the main secret of a successful dubbing job is precisely to remain unnoticed by the viewer's sensitive hearing, conveying an accurate representation of the hero on the screen.>