Andrea Romano is an accomplished icon when it comes to voice directing. Her many accomplishments include Disney’s DuckTales, Universal’s Land Before Time, and Nickelodeon’s Spongebob Squarepants. One particular animated series that holds a special place in audiences’ hearts is Warner Bros’ Batman Beyond. Romano celebrated the show’s 20th anniversary at this year’s Comic Con, clearly proud of her work, and rightly so. She talks about how special it is that this show stays relevant even to this day and how different generations of fans can still hold it dear.
Romano emphasizes the true message of the show: that people from completely diverse backgrounds can work wonderfully together. This is clearly a major them of the show, as it uses the contrasting backgrounds of Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne to convey its message. The importance of this message stays true to this day, and therefore the importance of the show itself stays true to this day. Romano describes her relationship with the small community of voice directors, a relationship that once again emphasizes the theme of diversity in Batman Beyond. All these directors come from different backgrounds with different techniques, and they all have a close-knit community that loves and respects one another.
As voice director, Romano must choose her actors wisely. She clearly accomplished this with Batman Beyond, however she goes into her process of choosing such talented actors. The qualities she touches on are a high energy, something that’s important for animated features, and a strong trust in her as a director. Romano talks about her techniques for gaining that trust, giving us a taste of just how talented she is at her job and her passion for creating something as beautiful as Batman Beyond. Though retired, fans can still appreciate Andrea Romano’s artistry in the remastered 20th anniversary edition of Batman Beyond on DVD and Blu-ray.
About | Batman Beyond
The extraordinary Batman Beyond: The Complete Animated Series Limited Edition package features approximately 1,500 minutes of entertainment spread over four Blu-ray™ discs, plus the two bonus discs of enhanced content. In addition to a newly-remastered Blu-ray presentation of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, there are 15 featurettes on the bonus discs, highlighted by two new inside looks at the beloved television series, led by Nostalgic Tomorrow, a gathering of Batman Beyond production talent and cast led by executive producer Bruce Timm and actors Kevin Conroy and Will Friedle, the voices of Batman and Terry McGinnis, respectively. The bonus discs also spotlight four episodes with audio commentary from Timm and select members of the production team. *Source: Warner Bros Home Entertainment
Host: Machelle Noel here over at San Diego Comic-Con 2019! Joining me right now is Emmy and voice director, Miss Andrea Romano. She’s here to talk about, well, actually, celebrate Batman Beyond and talk about the new edition that’s coming out on DVD and Blu-ray in October. Hi Mrs. Romano!
Andrea Romano: Hi!
Host: Thank you so much for being here!
Andrea Romano: My pleasure.
Host: I actually didn’t think I was ever gonna see you again because we keep hearing this retirement but then she’s always here and she’s always back and I’m like “how do I keep missing her?”
Andrea Romano: I can’t resist the draw of the fans and see my friends again who I worked with.
Host: Oh yeah!
Andrea Romano: Just a moment ago I saw all the Teen Titans and it was “aww my children!” so why would I not come? And I am retired.
Andrea Romano: And I’m loving retirement. But I do love coming to these events because mostly its people just saying nice things to me so why wouldn’t I come?
Host: I mean you’re our childhood. This is nostalgia and plus, you know, coming from a female perspective, that’s the whole other thing.
Andrea Romano: Thank you for that! Thank you!
Host: We don’t see that many females in this industry and you being that pioneer opened the doors for us. It’s just so amazing.
Andrea Romano: Thank you! I wanted to do that and I’m glad that I succeeded, thank you for saying something.
Host: Yeah, especially for those geeky girls out there.
Andrea Romano: Absolutely!
Host: They’re just like, “hey you are our role model”.
Andrea Romano: Thank you for that!
Host: What’s it like celebrating this 20th anniversary and looking back at it?
Andrea Romano: I can’t believe its 20 years first of all.
Host: I know right?
Andrea Romano: It’s pretty shocking that its 20 years. And I’m very glad, you know, I do a lot of Comic Cons and I love doing them and I want to do more.
Andrea Romano: But whenever someone- people will bring me their own items to be autographed. And they would bring me the Batman Beyond box set. And I would say “I love this show so much! Why is there not more attention to this show?”
Andrea Romano: And then this came up and I thought, “thank God it’s being paid attention to”. And that it’s still- I watched a bunch of episodes because I hadn’t seen it in so many years.
Host: For sure.
Andrea Romano: And I thought, this is still pertinent, it’s still vital, it’s still contemporary, and it still seems like a show that could take place in the future. And that’s awesome.
Host: Exactly! It’s so relatable to every new generation that comes after that and even after that.
Andrea Romano: I’m so glad! That’s what you want to do when you make a series. You want it to be something that parents will watch and then they’ll have their kids watch it, and then maybe their kids will watch it and that’s beautiful.
Host: Exactly. What important message do you want people to get out of this? Because this is a very interesting original storyline.
Andrea Romano: I think that what the most important message certainly is: unlike backgrounds, people from completely diverse and different backgrounds can work wonderfully together, if they’re willing. And I think that that’s really important in this world today. I mean Terry McGinnis comes from no money, he was just in juvie, he was literally incarcerated, he’s kind of got an anger going on. And then you’ve got Bruce Wayne, who’s retired, he’s a recluse, incredibly wealthy. And they find a common ground together. And a bond and a friendship that’s astounding.
Andrea Romano: Beautiful, beautiful.
Host: You helped kick off so many amazing actors into the voiceover world!
Andrea Romano: Yay!
Host: What kind of qualities do you actually look for when you recommend actors into the voiceover world?
Andrea Romano: I look for good acting, number one. Really, really good actors. Because that’s not something I can teach in a session. I can teach mic technique. I can teach you how not to pop on a microphone. I can teach you how to do fight well. I can teach you that stuff, but I need good actors first.
Host: For sure.
Andrea: Then I need people who are high energy. Because animation is big. It’s broad. Actors who have stage experience tend to segue into animation voice acting easier than people who have only been feature film actors.
Host: That’s true.
Andrea Romano: Because feature film is- the camera catches everything. They can work very small. Feature films in animation can work small. Because they have a lot of money and a lot of frames to get little innocent moments.
[Kevin Conroy speaking in the background]
Andrea Romano: Batman. Being Batman means you never have to say you’re sorry.
Host: He’s either photobombing or just somehow getting into our interviews.
Andrea Romano: Did he photobomb you?
Host: He always photobombs me! Oh my gosh, in every interview I go to.
Andrea Romano: He’s unbelievable. But I looked for actors who would trust me.
Andrea Romano: Actors who would let me direct them and even if it seemed like I was asking them to do something ridiculous. For example, some people would have really hard time saying what we would create as words that were swears. So, say the word was, whatever, you know, “blalel”.
Andrea Romano: “Blalel”. And so, they were having a hard time going “blalel! Blalel!” So, I’d say, “say the dirty word first, just say that word, and then right after it, exactly like it, say “blalel” and we’ll cut the dirty word out.
Andrea Romano: And so that works so well for actors. So, I would find tricks like that so they would trust me that I know what I’m talking about and that I’m not going to lead them astray. I’m not gonna embarrass them, I never had any reason to have anyone be embarrassed.
Host: Wow! You take “I play it by ear” to a whole other level. It’s just like, you really do have that talent.
Andrea Romano: Thank you.
Host: I thought I could grab things, but no. You have like, another sense. That’s an amazing gift!
Andrea Romano: Thank you.
Host: The voiceover director community is very small.
Andrea Romano: It is.
Host: What’s it like interacting with people like Wes Gleason and all those people, like what do you guys talk about?
Andrea: We talk about things other than animation voice acting.
Host: There you go! Okay.
Andrea Romano: We talk about what’s going on. Wes has some terrific children that I love to play with and he’s a great guy.
Host: Aww you guys are close.
Andrea Romano: Well I’d go to a lot of parties. We’d be invited to the same parties, so I’d see his kids. And I have very positive feelings about all the voice-over directors because we all were doing the same job with different techniques and different experiences. I was very fortunate that when I came into the industry, I was able to make a name for myself. And by the nature of how many fantastic series I was asked to direct, I built up a very strong reputation, and that was lovely. And so when I retired, I was able to say to these other people, “do good work, treat actors with respect, do your homework, and enjoy it because people would kill to have this career,
Host: Oh yeah.
Andrea Romano: I was well aware all during my career how lucky I was to be doing that work. I was working with people I love to work with, the actors. The creative crew that I worked with were stunning on everything. There was Avatar at Nickelodeon, or Batman and Justice League and all those with Warner Brothers, or Boondocks with Sony and all those wonderful and different- and I loved the fact that there were so many different types of shows that I did.
Andrea Romano: Shows for little, little kids like Spongebob, also for adults, and then the real action shows that were clearly for older people, except, this show which was deliberately created for a younger audience, which I think it did absolutely succeed.
Host: Would there be any project that would make you want to just come out of retirement and be like, “yes just one more”.
Andrea Romano: There’s really many of them. This is one of them. This is one. If they would make a feature based on this, I would absolutely come out of retirement for it.
Host: Now, is there anything in particular that we should look out for in the DVD, knowing that it is remastered, there’s a few new footages.
Andrea Romano: If you haven’t seen the show in a while, it’s such a pleasure. I just watched it myself recently to remind myself what was going on in this so that I could speak intelligently at this panel. And I had forgotten so much of how wonderful a series it is and how it still holds true and how it, again, seems like it could be a show that will take place in the future.
Host: Why stop there? Exactly.
Andrea Romano: Exactly. So, I think everybody will have an absolute pleasure of walking down memory lane and rediscovering.
Host: Oh my gosh, I am so looking forward to it. I hope you guys are too. Be sure to cap that Batman Beyond that’s coming to you guys via digital and Blu-Ray in October. Andrea Romano, it’s such a huge pleasure to finally meet you and get to talk to you
Andrea Romano: Thank you very much!
Host: It just made this whole journey worth it for the last ten years and thank you so much and best wishes to the cause. And cheers to you and everything you’ve done for this community. Thank you so much.
Andrea Romano: Thank you. You’re very kind, thank you. Pleasure.
Host: Thank you. Bye!
Vivian Rodriguez | Writing Contributor
B.A | Film Studies | California Baptist University
Hi! My name is Vivian and I am a Film Production major at California Baptist University. I hope to become a director and cinematographer in the future. I enjoy all kinds of movies, from Disney musicals to epic Marvel films to sappy Rom Coms. When I’m not making movies, watching movies, or talking about movies, I spend my days at Disneyland, the beach, or the local froyo shop. I strive to find positivity and creativity everywhere I go! My motto in life is from the book of Romans 12:21, “do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”. Instagram @vivianrcdriguez | View My Projects
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