Fernanda Starling consolidates her career in Hollywood

On the stage of the Dolby Theater, one of the Oscar-nominated songs is performed. Outside, in a truck equipped with state-of-the-art technological equipment, a woman from the mine is among the people responsible for ensuring that, in front of a system called Pro Tools, nothing is wrong with the transmission of audio from the performance.

“At first, I was terrified that the equipment would get stuck,” laughs Fernanda Starling, one of the most sought-after professionals in Los Angeles for positions as a live sound technician, mixing assistant and audio editor. So much so that, on her WhatsApp status, she wrote: “I am and I am not”.

The typical Minas expression is one of the vestiges of her origin – born in Itabira, she lived in the neighborhood of Serra, in Belo Horizonte, until in 2010 she gave a new direction to her life, when she moved to the Mecca of cinema. 12 years later, she comes across Portuguese words in this interview with Hoje em Dia.

Before leaving for the United States, where she began a course at the University of California (UCLA), she worked in the studio of André Cabelo, one of BH’s main sound technicians. Bassist for rock bands and journalist, Fernanda had never before seen audio as a possibility to develop a career.

“Cabelo explained to me that he was going to teach me and that if I devoted myself to full-time, I could, at some point, do a job without depending on him. I wouldn’t get anything at first. It would be like an investment. Luckily, I’ve always been the type to save money,” recalls Fernanda, already pointing out the path strewn with pitfalls to arrive in Hollywood.

“I was always available to be on site, to watch the work of other professionals and take advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves,” he records. So after a day at UCLA, she asked seven-time Grammy Award-winning professor Pablo Munguia if she could accompany her on a day at work.

“Munguia is a playback engineer, doing all the ‘awards’ (award ceremonies) here. I asked, he accepted and, in a short time, I started working as an assistant. People would see me assembling Pablo’s gear, and when someone wasn’t available, my name would be suggested,” he says.

Another Fernanda mantra is “to be at the right time and in the right place, something that happens often here”. In 2013, she noticed a demand for direct sound professionals and invested in the acquisition of her own equipment. A world opens up to her, with appearances in commercials and documentaries.

One of her most recent works is “Strip Down, Rise Up” (2021), made for Netflix, about the world of strippers. The same theme, coincidentally, appears in “Zola”. After a long stint in Los Angeles, the film marked the first time it had a woman in a position above her in the audio department.

One of Fernanda’s current dreams is to resume her involvement in the music of Minas Gerais. “I would like to reconnect with artists from Belo Horizonte and present a new proposal, remix the songs for an immersive sound. I now see an opening in demand for new content,” he adds.

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