“There You Go” with Dino Andrade: Part 1

So today I have a special surprise for everyone. Thanks to my friend Stewi, I had the privilege to interview Dino Andrade, a famous voice actor who did one of my all-time favorite characters, Scarecrow from Batman: Arkham Asylum. He’s been in numerous other things as well, such as Wolf’s Rain, World of Warcraft, so on and so forth. On top of all that, he’s the founder of a geek dating site called Soul Geek, and all of you can check out his own website here. Furthermore, you may notice on his website that he does voice-acting lessons, so if any of you are interested in that, make sure to head on over there.

Additionally, I’d like to thank Dino once again for agreeing to do this interview and I would also like to thank Stewi for helping me with the interview process.

I hope all of you enjoy it. Unfortunately, what I have transcribed as of current is not the full interview, and I will be posting it in numerous installments—so most of my other reviews will be on hold until I get all this up, maybe—and I am also trying to figure out how to edit and post the recording of the interview for everyone, so you can all look forward to that eventually too. There are some things Dino said that are a little hard to transcribe; he did do the Scarecrow voice for us, after all.

Anyways, enjoy!

MadameAce: So I know that you started off as an actor on the stage and you did some comedy improve before you went over to do voice overs. Did you always know that you eventually wanted to get into voice acting?

Dino Andrade: Not necessarily voice. It just seemed to be a very, very natural fit for me, because I have been a life-long fan of science fiction, horror, fantasy, animation. I’m one of those guys that while in acting class, along with everyone else studying, I was studying Batman comics. I mean, I always wanted to be part of great works of imagination. I’m a long-time fan of Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry. All of these people created great works of imagination. I love the books of Ray Bradbury. I’m a huge Twilight Zone fan. Star Trek fan from way, way, way, way, way back. I’ve lived, ate, and breathed sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. And I really wanted to be part of it.

A couple years ago when everyone was going gaga over the performances in Brokeback Mountain and deciding who was going to win the Oscar that year, that year I was aching as an actor with envy over Adrian Brody in King Kong. You know, because he got to be in King Kong! So it’s like that’s the kind of guy I’ve always been, where that’s the type of work I’ve always wanted to be involved in.

And animation has been the real ticket for that, for me in particular, as I am primarily a character actor. And in animation and in voice work, I’m not limited by my five-foot-four frame and my Hispanic skin, you know. I can pretty much be anything or anyone that my vocal talents will allow me to be. It’s like it’s the ultimate blank canvas.

And then as well in animation, your likelihood of doing work that is fantasy-based is much higher. If you look for example, the whole geek world is exploding. It’s hip to be geek now, you know. Geek is now the new cool: Batman films making a bazillion dollars at the box office alongside The Avengers and everything else and there’s not a problem.

And the whole reason for that is, my theory, is because of the video game generation. Because the video game generation basically grew up, you know from kids just starting with Nintendo and you work your way up—And it you look at all these video games, ninety-nine percent of them are fantasy-based. Not all of them are Grand Theft Auto or a football simulator or something. A lot of them, especially the Nintendo games, are fantasy-based.

And so kids today who’ve grown up with video games, folks in their twenties and so on, and who have had video games all their lives—I mean, I will be forty-nine in a couple of weeks, okay? The most video games I grew up with was Pong, all right? And you know, any little game you could figure out Casio Calculator. So you know, I grew up old-school geek. I grew up with comic books and could after get my ass kicked for walking around with comic books as the nerd.

But today’s generation grows up with fantasy storytelling form day one thanks to the brilliance of video games. And if you look at video games, for the most part, they are interactive animated features.

Stewi: That’s how I view them personally.

Dino Andrade: Right. And so, essentially, we are looking at whole generations influenced by fantastic storytelling, greats work of imagination, often being realized by voice actors such as myself. So it’s a great, great time to be involved in this, in being able to do the things that I love.

Stewi: Now did you grow up in the LA area?

Dino Andrade: I grew up just outside of Los Angeles.

Stewi: So that made it easy for you to work on getting into acting?

Dino Andrade: Yeah, actually, it did. My father was in the Air Force during the Vietnam years, and so I grew up in the Air Force community, and I was constantly surrounded by people from various parts of the world and the country, and so I was always hearing different accents from different types of folks, and so that had an immediate influence on me when I was younger, on characters and dialects and all of these things. And so it was something in my upbringing that carried with me.

And then, yeah, when I turned eighteen, I left the small town that I was from just outside of Los Angeles and came to LA. And I’ve been here ever since.

Stewi: Nice.

MadameAce: All right. So can tell us about your very first voice acting role and how you got that part?

Dino Andrade: Well, the very, very first thing I did was a bit of walla that was done for a film called Girls Just Want to Have Fun. It was made in the ’80s and I was basically just doing background voices. And that job came about because a friend of mine was auditioning for it and his car broke down and he asked me to give him a ride. I did, and while I was there they asked me if I wanted to go ahead and read, ‘cause somebody liked the quality of my voice, and I was selected to be part of the background voice team. And that immediately led to an interest in doing other kinds of stuff like that.

And one of the things that I‘ve always been good at has been creatures and monsters and that type of stuff. This got the attention of the post-production team that were working on a film for Steve Miner. I think he did one of the Friday the 13th films. Steve Miner was doing a horror film called House with William Katt and Richard Moll that was eventually released in ‘85, ‘86—I think ’86—and they needed somebody to do the voices of these tiny little demon creatures. And so somebody suggest me. I got up in front of the mic there and did them, and Steve said “Great! Let’s do that!”

And so I wound up doing all these creatures in the movie. That was also my first experience in Hollywood disappointment actually, because the movie premiered in Westwood, and my family, girlfriend, and I all went to the premiere and heard me on screen—which was fun and wonderful—and then the movie ends, and the credits roll, and I’m not credited.

Stewi: Ooooh. That sucks.

MadameAce: That’s terrible.

Dino Andrade: So yes, I’m not credited in this film. It’s still a fun movie though. And it’s kind of hilarious and it has its own comical little odd story in that Steve Miner was basically very excited about this movie that it was going to be the next Exorcist. It was going to be the next great, true horror film. The movie poster itself was this zombified hand ringing this doorbell, and it says “Ding-dong, you’re dead.” You know, House, the next horror masterpiece or what-have-you.

And then all of the reviews came out that cited it as being the great horror comedy of our generation. All of the movie posters were immediately pulled and replaced where they changed the line that says “Ding-dong, you’re dead” to “Well, there goes the neighborhood!”

And Steve Miner started doing all of these interviews where he’s basically saying “Oh, yes, it was always supposed to be a comedy. That was always our intention from the beginning!” And of course, all of us who worked on it were like, “Yeah, right.”

And that’s also why House 2 with John Ratzenberger was so terrible, because they were trying to be funny. But the first one, the humor in it is purely accidental, I assure you. That was basically the combination of my two first gigs right there.

And unfortunately, that’s going to be all for now. I just want to say that Dino Andrade is a great guy to interview, because he’s so informative and this was a really fun experience. On the flipside, I am slowly learning how difficult transcribing can be. But just keep an eye out in the future, and I’ll have some more up.

Till next time!