What is your name and your current occupation?
Andrea Romano. I’m a casting and voice director.
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Chamber Maid (ALWAYS TIP THE CHAMBERMAID WHEN YOU STAY IN A HOTEL!! Leave at least a couple of bucks!), Counter girl at Dunkin Donuts(put on 25 pounds in a single summer…haven’t eaten a donut since), magician’s assistant, waitress for a catering company serving “bell dinners” in the Hamptons (the kind of dinner where they ring a bell for you to serve the next course)
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
Duck Tales, Animaniacs, Pinky & The Brain, Avatar: the Last Airbender, most of the DC Comics direct to video movies, Teen Titans, Batman: The Animated Series, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Boondocks
How did you become interested in animation?
I was a HUGE fan of the early Hanna Barbera cartoons. When I was offered an interview to be the on staff casting director there in 1984(I was a voice over agent at the time), I jumped at the chance.
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from Westhampton Beach on Long Island…yes, some people do live there year round. We weren’t wealthy Hamptonites..we were the poor locals(I’m one of 8 kids) But what a stunning place to grow up. I moved to southern California in 1979 and was hired to be a (temporary) agent’s assistant for 2 weeks, filling in for Vanessa Gilbert who was recovering from a car accident. Turned into a 3-4 year gig…became a franchised agent within the first year. Worked with Ginny McSwain who was the casting director at Hanna Barbera, she suggested I interview for her job when she decided to move on to directing.
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
I’m typically in recording sessions all day, so my prep work (coming up with casting ideas, preparing scripts for recording) is all done from about 4AM-7AM at my kitchen table. Then I’m in one recording studio or another from 9-1 and 2-6. Spend about an hour or 2 returning phone calls and emails. Then I collapse.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
My favorite part of my job is the actual recording sessions. I like being in the company of actors/artists…creative people. Hearing the script come to life. Usually involves a lot of laughing.
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
Prepping for the above mentioned sessions. There is a TREMENDOUS amount of prep work that goes into getting a script ready to record. I liken the prep to making a cake, and the recording sessions to eating the cake…with a bunch of friends.
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
I fought dealing with computers for years..didn’t even begin to use them until 2000. Now, most of the auditions I listen to are sent by computer. All my scripts come to me via computers. Recording studios are filled with various pieces of tech I can’t begin to understand…I’m so low tech, I still screen cartoons for ADR by 1/2” tapes (VHS).
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Being away from my family and my husband for most of my waking hours.
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
I directed Steven Speilberg in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures…hilarious! I’ve had the great good fortune to work with some of the most talented actors on the planet…but meeting and working with Mel Blanc and Daws Butler was really magical. When I first met Daws and told him that Huckleberry Hound was my favorite cartoon character, he responded in Huck’s voice. I burst into tears!!!
Describe a tough situation you had in life.
I lost my Mom 3 years ago…and a brother last month. Both were indescribably sad.
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
I’m a gardener. I miss the sun and nature all week long because I’m in a dark windowless room most all days. So I garden every free minute I can…Put a healthy plant in good soil, in the right amount of sun, feed it and water it…and it doesn’t go to NY to do a play for 6 months and totally screw up your schedule!
Any unusual talents or hobbies like tying a cherry stem with your tongue or metallurgy?
I CAN tie a cherry stem with my tongue!
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Even though it may seem impossible to break into limited field like animation, THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR EXCELLENCE. Excel in what you do, and there will be a place for you in this industry. And have fun…if you can’t have fun working in animation, you’re in the wrong industry. I spend most of my day laughing.