Andrea Romano talks about All-Star Superman

Excerpt: You’ve directed your share of voices for Superman. How did James Denton rank in his first foray in animation?

Jamie was a voiceover virgin, or he hadn’t done much, but he was outstanding to work with…. He reminded me of Jensen Ackles…. Jamie was a really interesting choice – it can be difficult to cast some of these Superman films – and he brought some unique interpretations and sensitivities to the role. And that’s interesting for a director – to hear somebody else’s thoughts on what a man like Superman would sound like.

On Christina Hendricks as Lois Lane

It was cute because she was quite nervous coming in with no prior voiceover experience, but her acting instincts are so good, she has the ability to adjust to acting to a microphone as opposed to camera very quickly. I always give people positive feedback, but I was telling her “terrific job” and you’ll see the evidence when you see the piece…. I would use her again in a minute.

On Anthony LaPaglia

The actors I tend to bring in are people I’ve admired from afar and have been looking for a specific character for them – as with Anthony LaPaglia for Lex Luthor. He is such a versatile actor, and his dialect work is so good.


Meet the Joker: Batman Under the Red Hood


In the film, Batman faces his ultimate challenge as the mysterious Red
Hood takes Gotham City by firestorm. One part vigilante, one part
criminal kingpin, Red Hood begins cleaning up Gotham with the
efficiency of Batman, but without following the same ethical code. And
when The Joker falls in the balance between the two forces of justice,
hard truths are revealed and old wounds are reopened.

DiMaggio gets free reign to play the iconic villain amidst a stellar
voice cast that includes Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) as the Caped
Crusader, Supernatural star Jensen Ackles as Red Hood, and Neil
Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as Nightwing.

Best known for his near-100 episodes as “Bender,” DiMaggio has
parlayed his deep, gravelly tones and versatile acting style into a
major force on the voiceover scene for the past decade. DiMaggio’s
credits include roles in Kim Possible, Samurai Jack, Teen Titans,
Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Duck
Dodgers, Jackie Chan Adventures, The Penguins of Madagascar and

Voiceover has so dominated his time that DiMaggio has virtually
abandoned his on-camera career – despite past work as a regular cast
member on Chicago Hope and a number of guest roles in TV series such as Becker, N.Y.P.D. Blue, Felicity, Bones, Without a Trace and My Name is Earl.

Batman: Under the Red Hood is the next entry in the popular ongoing
series of DC Universe Animated Original PG-13 Movies from Warner
Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation. The full-length film will be distributed by Warner Home Video on July 27, 2010 as a Special Edition version on Blu-Ray™ and 2-disc DVD, as well as being available on single disc DVD, On Demand and for Download.

But before you race to Amazon to pre-order your copy, take a minute to get to know John DiMaggio.

What were your initial thoughts about assuming this iconic role?

I was shocked when I got the role, shocked when I came in to record,
and shocked when I saw the finished product during ADR. I just wanted to honor the real true lunacy of the character. I didn’t want to make him campy, but I wanted to pay a little bit of tribute to the past Jokers – and yet keep it original at the same time. That’s walking a fine line, if there ever was one.

It was a little intimidating because it is such an iconic role. It’s
an honor to get this job -- and especially to play the Joker in this
version because it’s so dark and twisted. I felt like I got a really
wonderful opportunity.

Can you remember your early connections with the Batman mythology, and how any of the previous Joker actors might have influenced your
performance in this role?

I think the thing that influenced me the most when I was young is the
television show, which is really sad because there have been so many
great comics and graphic novels and stories about the Dark Knight that I haven’t been able to delve into yet – and yet I know about them. I actually would’ve loved to see Cesar Romero take the role to its darkness. There was a bit of Cesar Romero in what I did, but it’s
Cesar Romero if he was in A Clockwork Orange.

I guess my naiveté in my approach kind of kept it clean. I wasn’t
trying to do a Jack (Nicholson) or a Heath (Ledger). I respect all the
folks that have come before me, and their take on the character. Mark
Hamill is awesome, Heath Ledger was unbelievable, and Jack Nicholson – what can you say? But I wanted to do my own thing.

How do you interpret the Joker’s mindset?

I think the Joker thinks of himself, quite literally, as a necessary
evil. And when I say that, I mean he really feels there is a place for
him, and that he somehow balances the chaos with the non-chaos. It’s a yin and yang thing. And it’s really not personal, it’s business.
Although he can get personal and he enjoys it. That makes it that much more twisted.

You’ve certainly done more than your share of villains. Do you prefer
to go to the dark side?

I love playing the villains. I’ll play anything, I don’t care. As long
as its not tons of walla or gasping, I’m good. I hate the inhale.

When you were a kid, did you ever imagine you’d be voicing cartoons
for a living?

I was a class clown – I basically started acting when I was a kid. I
wanted to play drums, but I couldn’t afford a drum set. It was easier
to be in a play, so it just kind of happened. I walked into voiceover
in New York in 1994. I was doing stand-up (comedy) at the time, and
was looking to get out of it and into acting. An actor buddy of mine,
Zak Orth, said it was a way to make a good living between acting gigs. I moved to LA, because there’s more animation here, and the rest is history. So yeah, thanks Zak – give me a ring.

Your primary focus is voiceovers these days. Do you have any
inclination to do more live-action acting or stand-up comedy?

On-camera acting is fun, but I don’t miss it. Voiceovers are quicker,
and you get to work with such amazing, talented people – it’s a blast
to play in the studio with these actors and writers and directors.
With (on-camera) acting, there so much more waiting around, and my
patience has run thin. Plus it beats the hell out of slinging jokes
six nights a week at a Chuckle Hut in East Bumbleblard.

SAG near videogame deal

Source: Variety - By Dave McNary

In a sign it may be moving toward a videogames deal, the Screen Actors Guild has scheduled a series of member meetings about the talks.

SAG had no comment about the Sept. 8 caucuses in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. The guild disclosed the meetings Thursday in a message to members, saying only that it would provide an update on the negotiations.

SAG has kept mum about the talks, which launched several months ago. People familiar with the bargaining have indicated negotiators have been making progress in recent weeks toward a tentative deal, which would replace the pact that expired last year.

If the vidgame deal is concluded, it will be the sixth SAG contract that's been wrapped up since April -- including commercials, feature-primetime, TV animation, basic cable animation and basic cable live-action, the last of which was ratified Wednesday with 93.7% support.

AFTRA agreed late last year to a one-year extension on its vidgame pact with a 3% increase in initial compensation for all session fees and a 0.5% gain in health and retirement contributions. That deal will expire at the end of this year.

The SAG contract covers performers for such publishing giants as Electronic Arts and about 70 other gaming companies. The SAG and AFTRA deals in 2005 gave members a 36% increase in the base rate of $556.20 per session for vidgame voiceover work.

Virginia Madsen discusses her new role as Hippolyta

Oscar nominated actress Virginia Madsen discusses her upcoming role as Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons in the upcoming animated film "Wonder Woman" coming out in March, '09.

 A brief glimpse - " Voiceover work reminds me of old-time radio. When I was little I used to sneak and stay up at night and listen to Mystery Radio Theater – I loved all those old radio plays. A radio play actually ended up being the first acting job I ever had. A lot of times when I'm on camera, I'm playing characters that are more like myself, and I don't get to do a lot of real character work. But when you're doing animation, you are the very epitome of colorful characters. I think I'm just really into make believe. In animation, there's silly things I get to do with my voice. I get to have a wider
range, so my voice gets to dance more than it does on camera. So it's almost like I get to be more theatrical when I work in voiceover. 


In the booth with Bob Bergen


Last weekend, I had the distinct pleasure of spending two days learning about character voiceovers from Bob Bergen. As most of you probably know, Bob is best known as the voice of Porky Pig as well as countless others. But a good portion of his time is spent teaching eager students the art of character interpretation and performance.

The weekend starts off with a morning session featuring Bob detailing his experiences along his own journey and an in-depth look at the world of animation voiceovers. You are also handed copy for the two characters you will be performing during the weekend. It's a fun and open discussion which had me taking many notes.

There's a lunch break that is a working lunch with more discussions so I was glad I grabbed a quick bite to get back as soon as possible.

Then it's off to the studio and into the booth!

Bob has a unique ability to assess your approach to a character and bend and shape it so you walk out of the booth completely satisfied. If you give a great first take, he'll make you dig deeper into the role or completely turn you around to a different vibe. If you're holding back, he gets the most out of you. It's all done with encouragement and ease so as never to push anyone to an uncomfortable position. Everyone that left the booth did so with a smile on their face and to a round of applause.

The second day continues the booth work, with another working lunch discussing marketing. The weekend ends with some more discussions and a Q&A.

Not only did I learn a lot from Bob, but also from the rest of the class as well. It was a well balanced group of people that covered the full spectrum of talent. I couldn't imagine a single person leaving without being fully satisfied with the experience.  

So, if you get the chance, I highly recommend spending a weekend in Bob's class. I hope you get as great a group as I had the pleasure of being the part of because it made the experience that much better.

Kudos to Bob and Marian Massaro for putting together a fun weekend.

Also, Zane from John Marshall Sound for making us sound great!

Andrea Romano Discusses Casting of Wonder Woman Animated Feature


Great interview from with animation casting/dialogue director Andrea Romano. Not only about the upcoming Wonder Woman feature but many other topics about animation voiceovers as well.

A brief snippet:

 For people who seriously want to get into voiceover acting, clearly the most important thing is that you must be a good actor. That comes first. That's why celebrities get so much work in voiceovers - we've seen their work, we know they're good actors. So take acting classes. Then take voice acting classes - and there is a difference. There are techniques specific to voice acting that you must learn. Not popping your Ps and how to stay on-microphone, especially during the physical scenes, and how to create the impact sounds. Getting punched and throwing a punch are two different sounds. Sneezing, burping, whistling and kissing all require silly little tricks. These are very specific techniques, and all are taught in voiceover classes.

Once you feel very secure in your acting and voiceover techniques, put together a voiceover demo - and only showcase your best work. Include things that are novel and new. If you do impressions, great, but let it be an impression that's unusual and different. We don't need to hear John Wayne. Include examples of accents, dialects, singing, singing in character, character voices. And you don't have to be massively versatile if you have an interesting voice and you're a good actor. Sterling Holloway and Ben Stein are good examples of people with interesting voices. But you do need to be able to act through your interesting voice. Finally, once you've put together your demo, you need to get it to all the agents and casting people and animation companies in town. Follow-up and keep following up, and hopefully somebody bites.

Check out the whole interview!!