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First side effects of the upcoming Christmas holidays: Netflix is now airing Holiday Secrets, which 3Cycle has dubbed into Italian. This TV drama tells the story of a family that gathers to celebrate Christmas and goes back into the past, exploring the intimate complexity of its history.

We had a chat about it with Barbara Castracane (who dubs Eva, one of the lead characters), an experienced dubber, who told us that «Dubbing is a job that entails constant learning; you keep on learning until you’re exhausted, you can learn something new every day, even from a rookie. In order to do it, first of all you must be honest with yourself and realise whether you have good acting skills, a good elocution and if you are capable of overcoming the technical hurdles of acting while you’re simply standing there, synchronisation, etc. It’s not easy. Having a nice voice is not enough. You must be an actor with some extra skills. Often, an actor can be successful because he might have piercing green eyes and the right physique; so he might work for a specific role while not being an acting genius. This category actually includes a number of celebrities. But that’s not possible in dubbing: you must be a top-notch actor, you must be able to act just as someone else acted before you, making sure the viewer won’t notice. Dubbing means working in the dark: if the viewer doesn’t notice it, it means you’ve done a good job.

When I dub, I am driven by passion, I always feel greatly involved and I spare no energies. I put all of myself into it, everything I know, everything I have learnt. I could never do it differently, I wouldn’t even know how to do it differently. Every single product I have worked on is different, but I have loved all the characters I dubbed. Some made me suffer more, some actually amused me, some I actually found hard to dub, for I didn’t share their conduct and I therefore had to put my judgement aside. It’s a different story every time. But whatever I do, I do my best to enjoy it, because there’s no other way you can do this job. If that weren’t the case, I could never resist nine hours locked up in a dubbing studio, working with people I probably wouldn’t even say hello to in real life – because real life is not all fluffy bunnies, we don’t all like each other. Sure, as years go by you tend to grow fond of some people and I actually have some good friends in the dubbing world. But there are also plenty of people I cannot stand, but I still have to work with them and perhaps I might even have to tell them ‘I love you’. And if you don’t like it, it can become stressful.

Grey’s Anatomy, Closer, Mr. Robot: I have fond memories of all the characters I worked on for lengthy periods. Furthermore, I consider these TV dramas milestones, and so I follow the love affairs and professional life of my characters. For example, there’s a film I greatly enjoyed, where I dubbed Fanny Ardant [Chic!, editor’s note]: she is a rather posh and stuck-up fashion designer who is also somewhat unsociable, she cannot stand people. At a certain point she tells her assistant: ‘Please, buy me an island. A desert island’. As I was reading the screenplay I fell in love with that part and I was desperately craving that role. It’s one of the best lines I have ever dubbed!»