Submitted by jpressman on Fri, 11/05/2021 - 11:26

How Was The Casting Of The Harry Potter Voices In Spain?

November 5, 2021

After his experience as vice president of Warner Bros, Jacques Barreau settled in Sitges a few months ago to develop his own voice-over academy with the multinational TransPerfect.

The MEDIANEXT Dubbing Academy presents a new hybrid model in the sector and the importance of tools such as the StudioNEXT platform so that remote dubbing becomes the perfect complement to recordings in physical studios.

Start with the idea of ​​“Democratize this work”, what do you mean and in what way?

Basically let's take the example of Spain. Here there are three large cities where the dubbing profession is concentrated, Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, ​​the most recognized studios and actors are located within this city. So, the problem comes that if you are in another autonomous community you no longer have the same opportunities, on the contrary to develop as a professional you will have to move to the central cities where I have said they are concentrated.

This is the problem we see, the decentralization of the profession and the few opportunities offered within one's own country. Democratizing is giving the opportunity that wherever you are you can acquire the same level and knowledge without leaving your territory.

We help people to have the same conditions and opportunities and get out of the elite cycle, of always being the same actors dubbing all the content that reaches the country.

“We help people have the same opportunities”

Maybe this is because there is a lack of more professionals?

Yes of course! The problem comes from the fact that the profession is limited to a group of voice actors and any producer prefers efficiency and experience. It is a sector in which, as in so many others, time is money, this means that a small group of professionals is in charge of duplicating 80% of the content because they are skilled and, most importantly, fast. The result is that, for decades, as viewers we have had the feeling that many stars had the same voice.

For example, Mel Gibson and Bart Simpson, the problem is not that they are missing but that you have to look for them and motivate them, providing them with the way to become consecrated in the medium.

In order not to limit ourselves to this very small group of voice actors, we must look for new talents who want to be part of the industry and who do not necessarily have to reside in large metropolitan areas. This is where the school's hybrid approach comes into the picture and makes the most sense. From your home you can access to dub content for a medium.

This is a platform that teaches you how to dub from wherever you are. Do we need an instrument to do it?

Yes, the school wants to develop both the actor and the engineer behind the recording. You have two directions when you start the course, this new concept is based on being able to train a larger group of voice actors through a school in which they can develop their technical capabilities to record their tracks remotely, even from home if they want it. Of course, they will have to have and prepare a soundproof environment to record without interference. And, most importantly, it allows them to record their own audio tracks that can later be edited and mixed by sound engineers in dubbing studios.

What do you think is the future of dubbing?

Very good question, I think the future is bright, Spain is part of the permanent dubbing countries such as Italy, France, Italy and Germany. The demand is always more rooted in Europe, that is, in one way or another it is a trade that was developed and is still maintained. A few years ago there was more movement in Barcelona than in Madrid, especially with respect to dubbing content. Madrid had always been more about television, but now I think they are on par. I don't think it is in crisis, there is always demand or even cartoons, it is something that will always be duplicated because children cannot read or follow subtitles quickly.

With the help of TransPerfect, you have founded the MEDIANEXT Dubbing Academy, why have you decided to move to Sitges?

I have lived in California for many years and I have many anecdotes and stories to tell. My wife also worked at Warner and we decided to return not only for the Academy project, but to return home, she is Italian and I am French, in the end we chose Spain, which is in the middle (Laughs). We decided to start here because obviously the entire dubbing movement is done and concentrated in Europe, after so many years of experience we have been given the push to start this in Sitges.

He thinks that in LA the dubbing movement has become a bit obsolete. Dubbing activity is really concentrated in Europe.

I could tell you stories from Hollywood, for example, I supervised the voiceover team for all the Harry Potter films. In fact, in the fourth film we had to change the entire voice team , as the actors in the film grew and changed their tonality, because they were getting older. It was difficult for people not to find out about the change.

“I supervised the dubbing cast of all the Harry Potter films”

I also worked to dub films in Japan, in fact it was complicated because there were sounds that because of the language they could not do it or they did not understand how to capture that sound. Also in a dragon movie, a French comedian had to play the role of two heads, it was a challenge, because each head had its personality and its own voice, one was softer and the other hoarser.

In Latin America it is also complicated because the expressions are different, in fact we made a film in different versions in Colombia, Chile and Mexico. I was also in the Batman movies with Nolan. At the end of the day, dubbing has to be like the Looney Tunes movies where the sounds of the roadrunner or the Tasmanian devil have to be the same all over the planet.

In Japan I met a voice actor who didn't know how to imitate the Tasmanian sound because there was something in his throat that wouldn't let him. I helped him try to find a way to make it work and it was really funny watching him try.