“That’s a shame”: Batman: The Animated Series Success Hinged on One Practice Reinforced by Andrea Romano – Today’s Hollywood Has Abandoned it

The casting director revealed the one thing the cast of animated series did that seems wholly absent from the industry now.

batman the animated series, andrea romano
credit: wikimedia commons/Pbrks

SUMMARY

  • Andrea Romano talked about what gave animation back in the day a leg up over modern animated projects.
  • The DCAU casting director revealed the importance of rehearsals and table reads and how it affected performances.
  • Table reads and rehearsals allowed for actors to take more liberty with the script and get creative with the material provided to them.
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Batman: The Animated Series remains one of the most definitive adaptations of the character in modern media. The cast and crew that worked on the show would go on to become seasoned Batman veterans and produce multiple versions of the character in and outside the DCAU.

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Batman: The Animated Series
Batman | Source: Batman: The Animated Series

Andrea Romano was a key contributor to the DCAU, being a powerhouse for the franchise, looking towards casting the iconic voice talent that would become synonymous with the show and the characters that they play. However, there was another key matter in which Romano’s contribution was invaluable, one that has been since discontinued, and left the industry for worse.

Andrea Romano was a big fan of ensemble readings

Batman: The Animated Series [Credit: Warner Bros. Animation]
Batman: The Animated Series [Credit: Warner Bros. Animation]
There are a lot of things that are unique about the animated medium, especially when it comes to the production of projects that choose it as their medium of choice. One such feature that has since become part of animated projects is isolated readings, where voice actors record their lines independently and in isolation, which are then sent back to the studio to string together in an episode.

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However, there was a time when animated shows had table reads, which would allow actors to get to know their castmates, and hence deliver a performance that felt more natural and grounded. Andrea Romano championed this approach of recording, telling Starburst Magazine what shame it is that it is not continued:

“Unfortunately, now very few people have the time to do a table read or rehearsal. And that’s a shame, because that’s when a lot of problems are solved.”

When a production is able to work through rehearsal and table reads, a lot of problems with the script can be immediately rectified. Furthermore, apart from allowing the actors to deliver a more natural performance, it also leaves room for improvisation, something that becomes a very tedious process if actors are not all assembled in the same place at the time of recording.

A rehearsal or a table read can go a long way for an animated show

Batman: The Animated Series
Batman: The Animated Series

When doing table reads or rehearsals, the performers have a lot of opportunities to play around with the characters that they are given, as minute changes can be immediately communicated to the whole group, without any trouble. However, if any sort of deviation happens when actors are recording solo, communicating it to the entire cast can become tedious and hamper the creative process of the show.

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Shows like Batman: The Animated Series benefited from the candid portrayal of the various characters, which was only possible thanks to its entire cast putting in the effort to be present together while recording or rehearsing. The fact that the practice is becoming increasingly rare in the animation industry might be indicative of the drop in the quality of the projects in the future, but production managers are always creative with their approach toward delivering a good product, which might just bring the trend back, given enough time.

 

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Written by Anuraag Chatterjee

Articles Published: 625

Anuraag Chatterjee, Web Content Writer
With a passion for writing fiction and non fiction content, Anuraag is a Media Science graduate with 2 year's experience with Marketing and Content, with 3 published poetry anthologies. Anuraag holds a Bacherlor's degree in Arts with a focus on Communication and Media Studies.