SDCC 2012 The Legend of Korra panel
Panelists: Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim Dos Santos, Janet Varney, David Faustino, PJ Byrne, Seychelle Gabriel, and Andrea Romano. Panelists introduced by Rick. Moderated by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino.
The transcript was done using the recording provided by Kelly Walker on YouTube.
I've left out the 'ums', 'uhs', and odd moments of minor verbal stumbling for the sake of clarity. Occasionally, there are moments when a speaker is inaudible either due to moving away from their microphone, the crowd's cheers, a combination of both or that the speaker is mumbling/talking too fast to be heard. Those moments will be indicated with [inaudible].
(Video opens up to audience applause and Roland Poindexter walks up to podium to address the crowd)
Rick : Every single time I see [inaudible], I get chills! Did anybody cry? (Audience shouts yes) It's amazing. Wow, thank you so much for being here. My name is Rick [inaudible] I'm senior vice president of the animation department at Nickelodeon. (Audience cheers again) And I want to thank you all for coming here today. (Audience cheers again) I know it's not easy, you guys have been standing in line for what, hours? Ten hours? Anybody get pushed around a little bit? A little too close to some people? Thank you for being here man, it's awesome, you guys are great. The fact that you are here really shows your passion and your dedication to this show so again, we are really appreciative to be doing this panel. Look at this room, 4000 plus people?! (Audience go wild) [inaudible]
(Rick raises his hand above his eye)
Rick: People at the back, how you doing? (The audience at the back of the room roars with excitement) Nice. People in the front, how you doing? (They cheer) Middle section! (The respective sections cheer) Everybody! (Everyone cheers loudly) Okay nice, enough with that. Listen, we've got a lot of material to go through today so I really got to get through this thing pretty quickly but you know, I've watched this show- I've been in Nickelodeon for 16 years so I've seen this project go through the development phase, and it just blows me away that the way it continues to grow and forge over the years and Korra made me especially proud and I'm just so excited to have these guys here. They're just- they're wonderful, talented, amazing creators and just a great group of people so, without further ado, I would bring them up. Ladies and gentlemen, your creators and executive producers, Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!
(Audience claps and cheers. Both co-creators step up to the stage and take their seats nearest to the podium.)
Bryan Konietzko: What's up, guys? (The audience continues to clap) Hello. [inaudible] we'll bring up more people to show up now.
Rick: Yeah, well let me just bring everybody out real quick. The co-executive producer, also known as "Dr. Fight", Joaquim dos Santos!
(The audience claps and Joaquim walks up to the stage and sits next to Mike.)
Rick: And our esteemed voice director and apparently my jogging partner down here at comic con, Andrea Romano!
(Audience applauds and Andrea walks on stage and takes a seat at the far end of the table.)
Rick: Our heroine, the voice of Korra, Janet Varney.
(Audience continues to clap and Janet takes her place next to Joaquim)
Rick: Our hot-blooded firebender and a... little sexy, right? Can you say, ladies? Mako, David Faustino.
(Audience cheers and claps. David walks in with his smartphone in hand as he video tapes the audience.)
Rick: (to the audience) Everybody, group together.
(The audience continues to cheer and clap. David takes a seat next to Janet.)
Rick: The rich girl with an attitude, 'cos every TV show has one, Asami Sato, Seychelle Gabriel.
(Audience cheers again and Seychelle walks up to the panelists table and takes a seat next to Andrea.)
Rick: And last but not least, you know him, you love him, you want to cuddle him. Bolin, PJ Byrne.
(Again, the audience goes wild. PJ walks in enthusiastically with his hands swinging above his head. He takes a sit next to David.)
Bryan Konietzko: Okay, now I'll talk, sorry. I just found out that there's like 4000 people outside that didn't get in. Really sorry that everybody couldn't be a part of this but- So you guys are the lucky few... not so few. Thanks for coming everybody, thanks for waiting.
Mike DiMartino: It's pretty amazing. 2004 we had our first panel at Comic Con and I think we were in a room with about 200-300 people to show the pilot. Some of you may have been there but it's pretty crazy to come this far. All these people, so thank you for all your support over the years for watching the show.
Bryan Konietzko: So big news broke two days ago on EW.com but we got picked up for another 26 episodes.
(The audience whoops loudly. Seychelle and PJ give happy fist pumps.)
Bryan Konietzko: It's quite a long time trying to make these as [inaudible] as possible [inaudible] but total episodes, including Book 1 is gonna be 52. So it's going to be four books. 52 of those episodes will be split into four books so [inaudible as the audience cheers] We're gonna have to-
Mike DiMartino: To get things warmed up here, Bryan and I have asked our esteemed actors and director of [inaudible] questions
but I wanna start with Janet. Janet, who is doing an amazing job as our new Avatar and-
Audience member: WE LOVE YOU!
Mike DiMartino: We got a few questions off the internet-
Janet Varney: He loves you.
Mike DiMartino: And someone wanted to know, how is it voicing the second Avatar and how do you feel you match up to Aang?
Janet Varney: Oh boy... I don't know if I do but I sure love doing Korra's voice. I think you guys made a great point earlier when we were doing an interview that there are just- the two Avatars are so different from one another and it's been really fun playing this sort of headstrong, go get 'em, like she wants to be the Avatar, she's ready to do it, there's no reluctance there so it was really fun to have that enthusiasm from the start.
Bryan Konietzko: Cool.
Mike DiMartino: Let's see, David.
David Faustino: Yeah?
Mike DiMartino: Throw one at you. Is there any particular scene or episode you enjoyed the most recording or seeing afterwards once it was done?
David Faustino: Oh man... I just like the fact that you know, that I can be playing a giant, you know, a big hero. A big tall hero on TV and I wouldn't be able to play that anywhere else and it's an honor, (Janet and PJ pat David on his shoulder) it's great and I love the character.
Mike DiMartino: Thank you.
David Faustino: It's a lot of fun. I love the scene that we have a great quiet scene together once and I can't remember what episode it was. It was Korra and I and-
Mike DiMartino: We might be performing it.
David Faustino: Oh, there you have it.
PJ Byrne: It's like you're stealing it from me.
(The audience goes aww.)
Bryan Konietzko: We got a question for PJ. If you could switch to any other character from season one, of Korra I think, who would you choose? I think animal characters are included.
PJ Byrne: Oh, okay. I kinda like to stick with myself, I think... I'm proud- I like my character, I like what he does. I relate to him. [inaudible as the audience cheers] I love everyone in the house [inaudible]
Janet Varney: I thought we all wanted to be the announcer 'cos we love him so much.
Bryan Konietzko: I think, yeah. I think he got more dialogue than anyone in the entire series.
Mike DiMartino: Then, Seychelle.
Seychelle Gabriel: Yes.
Mike DiMartino: Throw one at you. What do you think you and Asami have in common?
Seychelle Gabriel: One thing I did notice in one of the episodes when she runs to Air Temple Island with Team Avatar is that she is an extremely good actor, which I also- very well known for doing. Also, I just- I kinda relate to her just being a young, independent girl that is kind of thrown into a situation- I mean, I'm not thrown into this but you know, put into a situation that you know, she takes care of herself, she's independent and I kind of, I relate to that and I really admire that about her.
Bryan Konietzko: Cool. Alright we'll soon be- Turn it over?
Mike DiMartino: Yeah, we're gonna turn it over to our amazing voice director, Andrea Romano who has been with us since [inaudible as audience cheers loudly] And what we're gonna do here is run through a little- some scenes from the show.
Bryan Konietzko: Real quick technical thing. Oh good, we can see it. That was it. We thought we have a laptop up here so we could flip through the stuff ourselves but we can so this is gonna be psychic. We're gonna psychically flip through things. Sorry, Andrea go right ahead.
Andrea Romano: Cool. So what we're gonna do is essentially a table read of several different scenes, scenes from the previous season. And so I'll be bringing the stage direction to the actors that I think they need to know that will inform their performance. We could stumble a little bit and they back it up and ask them to do and add some stuff as they go but this is pretty much what it would be like except for the 4000 people here when we do a table- So, let's start with our first scene. We are in the probending arena, Bolin leads Korra to his aclove, she looks at this cavernous arena and the stands are packed with fans. And in the centre, there's this hexagonal ring with a large pool of water. Korra is in absolute awe as Bolin says:
PJ Byrne: So, what do you think? Best seats in the house, huh?
Janet Varney: Whoa. Unbelievable! This place is even more amazing than I imagined.
PJ Byrne: (says his words in a sultry manner) Name's Bolin by the way.
Janet Varney: Korra.
Andrea Romano: And we see two other probending players, Mako and Hasook enter. And Mako notices Bolin with his guest and waves him over saying:
David Faustino: Psst, Bolin.
PJ Byrne: Yeah?
David Faustino: I told you. You have to stop bringing in your crazy fangirls in here before the matches. Get her out of here.
PJ Byrne: Aw, come on Mako. (sighs) All right, look, I kinda promised her she could stay. But man I've got a good feeling there's something special about her. I know it.
Andrea Romano: And he goes over to Korra.
PJ Byrne: Come here, I want you to meet my brother, Mako.
Janet Varney: Mako? Wow, I heard you play on the radio.
Andrea Romano: Mako's already heading out of the player's box, toward the ring.
David Faustino: Come on, Bolin, we're up.
Janet Varney: Or I could meet him later.
PJ Byrne: Yeah, sorry about that, my brother just gets real... focused before the match. Okay, I've gotta go. Wish me luck. Not that I'll need it.
Andrea Romano: And he puts on his helmet, goes out to the platform.
Janet Varney: Good luck. Knock em' out.
Andrea Romano: Very good, next scene. Going back into the players' box later, Bolin and Mako walk off the draw bridge, into the players' box. Korra says:
Janet Varney: You guys were incredible out there!
Andrea Romano: And specifically to Mako she says:
Janet Varney: Especially you, Mr. Hat Trick.
David Faustino: Oh, you're still here?
Janet Varney: Oh, you're still a jerk?
PJ Byrne: (laughs awkwardly) Oh ho! Dippity dip dap.
(Audience laughs as those words were not in the original script)
Janet Varney: Anyway, I've been immersed in bending my entire life but I never learned how to move like that. It's like there's a whole new style here. Think you could show me a few tricks?
PJ Byrne: (slowly stressing each syllable) Ab-so-lute-ly.
(Audience laughs again)
David Faustino: Right now? Come on Bolin.
PJ Byrne: Just ignore him, ignore him. Yeah, I could show you the basics. I'm just not sure how my Earthbending would translate to your Waterbending but we'll figure it out.
Janet Varney: Won't be a problem. I'm actually an Earthbender.
PJ Byrne: Oh, oh. I'm sorry, no, no. I didn't mean to assume. Cause I, ya know, I was just figuring, with your Water Tribe getup... that you are... a Water Tribe... gal.
Janet Varney: No. No, you're right I'm a Waterbender... and a Firebender.
PJ Byrne: Hmm... Yeah, yes. I'm very confused right now.
(Audience laughs again)
David Faustino: You're the Avatar, and I'm an idiot.
Janet Varney: Hm. Both are true.
PJ Byrne: (gasps) No... way.
Andrea Romano: He turns to Mako and whispers:
PJ Byrne: (in a high pitched voice) The Avatar!
(The crowd chuckles)
Andrea Romano: Next scene.
(The audience cheers and claps)
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible as the audience are still applauding)
Andrea Romano: Mako is covered in soot, exhausted, he's exiting the power plant after a long shift. He leaves and darts across the street to catch a trolley and this speeding moped knocks right into him. So David, add an impact as you get hit and knocked into the gutter.
David Faustino: Right now? Oof!
Andrea Romano: And Asami.
Seychelle Gabriel: Oh no! I'm so sorry! I didn't see you!
David Faustino: How could you not see me? I mean I was jus- Whoa...
Andrea Romano: And she takes off her helmet and we see this gorgeous eighteen year old girl with hair flows [inaudible as audience laughs]
David Faustino: I uh- I was, I erm... I.
Seychelle Gabriel: Are you okay? Did I hurt you? I am such an idiot.
David Faustino: Oh no, don't worry, I'm fine. My brother hits me harder than that every day in practice. (laughs uneasily)
Seychelle Gabriel: Wait, I recognize you. You're Mako, right? You play for the Fire Ferrets.
Andrea Romano: And he dusts himself off, saying:
David Faustino: Yeah, that's me.
Seychelle Gabriel: Oh great, I just ran over one of the best probending players in the whole city. I'm so embarrassed.
Andrea Romano: She holds out her hand.
Seychelle Gabriel: My name's Asami. Let me make this up to you somehow. Hw about I treat you to dinner? Tomorrow night, 8 o'clock, Kuang's Cuisine. (She accidentally butchers the last word and repeats herself) Kuang's Cuisine. (Audience laughs)
David Faustino: Kuang's? I don't have any clothes nice enough for a place that classy.
Seychelle Gabriel: I'll take care of that. All you need to do is show up.
Andrea Romano: She hops on the moped.
Seychelle Gabriel: So... it's a date?
David Faustino: Uh, yeah. I guess so. I'll see you tomorrow night.
Andrea Romano: Very good. She speeds off down the street. Next scene. We're in the arena in the gym. Mako, Korra, and Bolin-
(Audience interrupts by clapping for the previous scene. Andrea laughs.)
Andrea Romano: They're wearing heavily padded training gear. They spar, they freefall it, all simultaneously strike all at the same time. All three of you please give me one impact as you strike each other. And then as you all fall on your butts. So, oof, oof and then you laugh. Together, and...
Janet, David, and PJ: Oof! Oof!
Andrea Romano: And then.
Janet, David, and PJ: (laughs)
Andrea Romano: Very good. And Mako.
David Faustino: It's been great having you in so many back to back practices Korra.
Janet Varney: Feels good to be back. Although Tarrlok isn't too happy about my leave of absence.
PJ Byrne: Hey, you joined the Fire Ferrets before you joined his task force.
Andrea Romano: And Mako motions them all to gather, saying:
David Faustino: Okay, come on, team huddle time.
Andrea Romano: And they link arms over each other's shoulders.
David Faustino: Now, it's our first match of the tournament tonight. I know the three of us haven't been a team for very long, but even so, the Fire Ferrets have never been this good. Are we ready?
Janet and PJ: We're ready!
Seychelle Gabriel: Not quite. You'll need these.
Andrea Romano: And Asami shows up, she stands next to a cart of padded boxes, she holds up one of their uniforms, now featuring a Future Industries logo on it.
David Faustino: Hey Asami.
Seychelle Gabriel: Good morning sweetie.
Andrea Romano: And he rushes over to her, saying:
David Faustino: All these new uniforms look great.
Seychelle Gabriel: You look great champ.
(Audience laughs. PJ gives a 'whoa' while Janet sticks out her tongue in disgust to be in character.)
David Faustino: Well teammates, I'll see you before the match tonight. Asami and I (stumbles). Asami and I- I'll try that again. (audience laughs) Well teammates, I'll see you before the match tonight. Asami and I have a lunch date.
Andrea Romano: And Mako and Asami leave the gym. Bolin plays it cool, tries to flirt with Korra.
PJ Byrne: Sooo, Korra, there they go, here we are, (audience chuckles and make catcalls.) all alone in the gym. (Janet pulls off a look of discomfort) Just you and me, two alone people. (crowd laughs) Together.
(they laugh again) Alone.
(The crowd laughs even harder)
Janet Varney: Uh... I gotta head back to the air temple to train with Tenzin. See ya!
Andrea Romano: And then we see- Bolin picks up his little tiny Pabu-sized mascot uniform and he puts it against his own beefy chest. We're in the spire attic as Mako now [inaudible]. Mako cooks dinner, Bolin cheerily bathes Pabu in this metal basin. The fire ferret is very upset, knocks the bath, and struggling against Bolin. Bolin says:
PJ Byrne: (let's outfrustrated sigh) Come on. Work with me here Pabu! You wanna look spic and span in your new uniform, don't you? (sighs)
Andrea Romano: And to Mako he says:
PJ Byrne: So, what do you think of Korra. You know, in a girlfriend sort of way?
David Faustino: I mean she's great, but I think it makes more sense for me to go for Asami.
PJ Byrne: I was talking about a girlfriend for me! (the crowd chuckles) Leave some ladies for the rest of us, Mako.
David Faustino: I know, that's what I thought you meant.
PJ Byrne: Well?
David Faustino: (sighs) I dunno Bo, it just doesn't seem like a good idea for you to date Korra.
PJ Byrne: But you just said she was great two seconds ago.
David Faustino: Yeah. Yes, Korra's a great athlete, an Avatar and all that stuff. But I dunno if she's really girlfriend material. No, she's more like a pal.
PJ Byrne: Bro, you're nuts. Korra and I are perfect for each other okay? She's strong, I'm strong. She's fun, I'm fun. She's beautiful, I'm gorgeous!
(Audience laughs loudly)
PJ Byrne: Listen, I don't care what you think, I'm gonna ask Korra out.
David Faustino: Look, it just isn't smart to date a teammate, okay? Especially during the tournament. And keep your head out of the clouds and your priorities straight, okay?
PJ Byrne: Yeah, yeah I know. (sighs) You know what I'm talking about Pabu. (more chuckling can be heard) I'm talkin' about real love.
(The crowd goes wild and they applaud.)
Andrea Romano: Very good, next scene. We're at the arena entrance and Mako intercepts Korra.
David Faustino: What kind of game are you playing?
Janet Varney: Uh, probending? We've got a quarter-final match.
David Faustino: No, I mean with Bolin. You got him all in a tizzy and I know you're only using him to get back at me.
Janet Varney: I am not! We're just having fun together. What do you care anyway?
David Faustino: I'm looking out for my little brother. I don't want to see his heart get broken.
Janet Varney: Wait a second. You're not worried about him, you're jealous. You do have feelings for me.
David Faustino: What? Jealous? Pfft, don't be ridiculous.
Janet Varney: Admit it, you like me.
David Faustino: No, I'm with Asami.
Janet Varney: Yeah, but when you're with her you're thinking about me aren't you?
David Faustino: Get over yourself!
Janet Varney: I'm just being honest.
David Faustino: You're crazy!
Janet Varney: You're a liar!
Andrea Romano: And she storms into the arena and a Mako fan waves as he passes by saying:
Joaquim dos Santos: (he voiced the Mako fan in the show itself) Hey Makoo-ooo, oh.
Andrea Romano: Just [inaudible] Next scene, we're on Air Temple Island, the glow from the sun's dyling light bounces off the statue of Aang. Korra sits at the edge of the cliff but she's looking very pensive, she's got tears on her cheeks. And we hear from off-screen, Mako:
David Faustino: (leans away from the microphone) Korra? You out here?
PJ Byrne: (leans back as well) Kooorrraaa!
(He says it in one long extended breath, the audience are impressed and they clap.)
Andrea Romano: We call that [inaudible] And we see Pabu finds her, jumps into her lap, licking her face, chirping loudly. And the three of them, Bolin, Mako, and Asami follow the chirps and find Korra. Bolin says:
PJ Byrne: There you are. Are you okay?
Janet Varney: (sniffs) I'm fine.
David Faustino: Come on, what's wrong? You can tell us.
Janet Varney: (sighs) How am I supposed to save the city when I can't even learn airbending? I'm the worst Avatar ever! I just feel... alone.
Seychelle Gabriel: No that's nonsense, you are amazing!
David Faustino: Yeah, and remember, Aang hadn't mastered all of the elements when he was battling the Fire Nation. He was just a little kid!
PJ Byrne: Yeah and he wasn't alone! He had his friends to help him. Look, the arena might be shut down, but we're still a team, the new Team Avatar!
(The crowd goes wild)
PJ Byrne: Yeah! Let's do this!
David Faustino: We got your back Korra, and we can save the city, together!
Andrea Romano: And Bolin sticks his hand out. Mako and Asami put their hands on top. And finally Korra puts her hand on top of the others and says:
Janet Varney: Yeah, let's do it!
Andrea Romano: We're now in temple grounds, Korra walks Naga into the courtyard where Bolin and Mako meet her.
PJ Byrne: Get ready, Republic City. You are about to be patrolled by Team Avatar.
Andrea Romano: And Asami walks up, looking tough in her racing [inaudible], and wearing this newfound glove that she took from her dad in episode 107. Mako says:
David Faustino: Asami, you always know how to accessorize your outfits.
Seychelle Gabriel: I figure one way to fight Equalists is to use an Equalist weapon.
Andrea Romano: And she sparks the glove momentarily. Korra says:
Janet Varney: Alright. Let's ride.
Andrea Romano: And they all try to climb onto Naga's saddle but they can't all fit. Naga howls and complains and Korra says:
Janet Varney: All right, scratch that. Uh, any other ideas?
Seychelle Gabriel: Hm, I think I have the answer.
Andrea Romano: Very good. Next scene. We're in Pema's kitchen and Mako enters, holding an empty teapot. He says:
(Audience groans sadly)
David Faustino: Can I get some hot water? Korra needs more tea.
Seychelle Gabriel: You're a firebender. Boil it yourself.
(The audience cheers)
Andrea Romano: And Pema picks up on the [inaudible] and says "I'm gonna step out in case you two wanna talk. " and she leaves. Mako looks confused, saying:
David Faustino: Is there something we need to talk about?
Seychelle Gabriel: I've noticed how you treat Korra, how you acted when she was missing. You have feelings for her, don't you?
David Faustino: What? No! She was taken by a crazy bloodbender. How did you expect me to act?
Seychelle Gabriel: I like Korra, but you've been keeping the truth from me this whole time.
David Faustino: The truth? About what?
Seychelle Gabriel: You're really going to make me say it?
(There's a brief pause as David flips the page of his script)
David Faustino: Yes! Because I don't know what you're talking about.
Seychelle Gabriel: The kiss, Mako. I know.
David Faustino: Wha-? Bolin told you, didn't he?
Seychelle Gabriel: Don't blame your brother for what you did.
PJ Byrne: (comically intervenes) Yes, don't blame your brother.
(The audience chuckles heartily)
Seychelle Gabriel: Do you have feelings for Korra or not?
David Faustino: Look, things are crazy right now, okay? Can we just deal with our relationship problems later?
Seychelle Gabriel: Well, there might not be any relationship to worry about later.
Andrea Romano: And she angrily walks out.
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible]
David Faustino: Easy, easy, take it easy.
David Faustino: Asami!
Andrea Romano: And she ignores him, he gives a frustrated sigh. Next scene, we're in the underground hobo camp. Korra leans against Naga, her eyes are open, she can't sleep. Mako from off-creen, we hear his voice.
David Faustino: Can't sleep either?
Andrea Romano: And he sits down next to her.
Janet Varney: No, I have this awful pit in my stomach.
David Faustino: Me too.
Janet Varney: It's so crazy. A few months ago I was in the South Pole practicing for my firebending test, and now I'm in the middle of an all out war.
David Faustino: I know. We didn't even know each other then. And now, I can't imagine my life without you in it.
(Someone goes aww in the audience and they chuckle)
David Faustino: You are the most loyal, brave, and selfless person I've ever known.
Andrea Romano: And she smiles.
Janet Varney: I think you're pretty incredible too but you already knew that.
Andrea Romano: And she stares into his eyes, he stares back. She turns away, not wanting to get hurt again.
(David improvises and covers Janet's mouth with his hand and pretends to kiss the back of his palm. Janet is surprised. This wasn't in the original script. )
Janet Varney: Oh!
(The audience laughs, Janet acts stunned.)
Janet Varney: I should probably get some sleep.
David Faustino: Ahem. Me too. Erm... Good night.
Janet Varney: Good night.
Andrea Romano: And that's it.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah!
Andrea Romano: Way to go [inaudible]
(Everyone, including the panelists, applauds. Janet relaxes and heaves a sigh of relief as she comically relaxes on David's shoulder.)
Bryan Konietzko: Thank you so much for [inaudible] the amazing cast from Book 1. You guys did a great job, thanks for coming down with us. Round of applause for everybody.
(Audience goes wlid.)
Bryan Konietzko: And...
Janet Varney: [inaudible] amazing, amazing show for us to be a part of. We're so lucky to be in the cast.
David Faustino: Absolutely.
(More applause is heard)
Bryan Konietzko: If I'm not mistaken, I believe our two main villains for this season are in the audience. Steve Blum and Dee Bradley Baker.
(Audience cheers as both men stand up off-screen)
Bryan Konietzko: We couldn't fit them in this table [inaudible] great actors, we were so honored to have them. Bringing such depth and emotion to our bad guys. We like [inaudible as he talks too fast] (audience laughs) They did such a great job. We love them both and we're sorry we blew the boat up. So...
(More laughter is heard)
Joaquim Dos Santos: I was tell these guys when we started the show that I was actually on Amon's side. And Steve's acting really drove that over the top. [inaudible]
Janet Varney: (jokingly to Joaquim) I don't want to sit next to you.
Mike DiMartino: We just want to thank our whole crew, many of them whom are here today. Also, the first piece you saw here was great editing by our awesome editor, Jeff Adams and [inaudible as audience claps] Jeremy Zuckerman who's here, stand up man. Along with Benjamin Wynn of The Track Team, our sound designer.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah, The Track Team. [inaudible as the audience is cheering] all those guys for also bringing such depth and sophistication to the show and they really [inaudible] after themselves this season so, really honored to be working with them as well. So now, we got some cool stuff. That was a great celebration of Book 1 and we're gonna show you some artwork from Book 2.
(Audience goes wild and shrieking can be heard)
Mike DiMartino: Book 2 will be called "Spirits". [inaudible as audience cheers] So yeah, we're just gonna kind of set it up a little bit, it takes place six months after the end of Book 1. We're gonna show you a clip that will- Where all the characters are-
Bryan Konietzko: An animatic clip.
Mike DiMartino: An animatic clip.
Bryan Konietzko: Not from the [inaudible]
Mike DiMartino: Yes, I should specify that. But yeah, we're done already, all the recording, all the original records for Book 2 so far. We're in the thick of animation and storyboarding and design, and everything else that takes to make this show and put it on the air so- But yeah, we've got some great concepts and characters to-
(Joaquim leans over to ask Bryan something)
Bryan Konietzko: No.
Mike DiMartino: This is the [inaudible]
Bryan Konietzko: So we're gonna show you some concept art, when we're kicking around ideas, and figuring out locations and scenes and also background, like finished background paintings from Book 2. These are both by- these are all by Fred Stewart and Emily Tetri, our amazing, wonder-twin duo of background painters. They're so incredible, so you can go to the next slide.
(There was a strict no recording policy of the concept art at the panel so all the slides are off screen.)
Bryan Konietzko: So these are by Emily, the-
(Recording suddenly cuts off here before starting up again some moments later)
Joaquim dos Santos: -want to say we have the most talented, amazing BGs in all of TV animation, 'cos [inaudible as audience claps]
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible] Next slide. another one by Fred. This is this mysterious location that they're journeying to. The heart of the storm, really cool spooky lighting. I know that it sort of [inaudible] back to the iceberg that Aang was frozen in, it has a sort of similar vibe. I realize like this little nods you know, to the motifs throughout the series. Okay, next. Another cool one by Fred. I love Fred's like, character drawings, there're amazing. This is just a concept piece. This interpretation of Naga is this kind of like, wolf, dog, bear...
Joaquim dos Santos: Looks like the love dragon from the [inaudible as audience chuckles]
Bryan Konietzko: Yes, the love dragon. So, getting closer to this mysterious location and then this is inside of it. I believe this is by Fred. That [inaudible] of ice is just incredible, but got this otherworldly glow emanating from inside. Next. Some really cool concept paintings, these aren't finished ones but the idea with the style of the paintings in Korra was to keep them really loose like concept paintings anyway so, these are the Southern Air Temple location, Avatar fans should know well but we're trying to kind of, spruce it up a bit now that it's 70 years later. Next. Some really cool business there by Fred. Next. Down like kind of peaks of the mountain. Next one. So, we love that misty, kind of Chinese mountains, a cool location. Next. This is a really cool concept by Emily. This ancient airbender's site. It's kind of been growing over next door to the colored version of the location, cool concept. And... as the season is called Spirits...
Mike DiMartino: Yeah, we're gonna take a little journey to the Spirit World. So... [inaudible due to loud cheers from the audience] A lot of cool stuff about exploring more of the mythology of the spirits and the Spirit World and the Avatar itself and how the Avatar began.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah.
(A girl from the audience screams loudly with excitement)
Bryan Konietzko: We have two very special episodes in the middle of the season that would be buried within the series. Alright, next slide. So, we're gonna show you the new costumes. (audience cheers) I always love changing up the costumes between seasons, it's always fun. Always nice to see how fan artists draw their interpretations of the costumes.
Mike DiMartino: You can prepare for cosplay next year.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah. [inaudible as audience cheers] meet some new character stuff from season 2. So next slide. So Korra, this is her- you know it's 6 months later, it's summer in Republic City. Down in the Southern Water Tribe on the other hand, it's winter. So, underneath her parka is her new, kind of like, long sleeved, still very athletic looking but her new costume- I'm always like kind of asymmetrical elements in costumes so she's got this kind of Mandarin style asymmetrical top and then these long sleeves. I just like that she looks a little meaner and has these kind of gym style arm bands. And next slide. Mako's got this cool winter coat.
David Faustino: Ooo, yeah.
Bryan Konietzko: And he still has his scarf. You know, which is appropriate for the winter. Next slide. Bolin's got some-
(Audience interrupts by cheering loudly)
Janet Varney: Nice.
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible] 'cos he went to [inaudible] in his little ice cone gloves.
PJ Byrne: My hands are [inaudible]
Bryan Konietzko: Asami, has taken over... running her horrible father's company. So she's got a little bit more of a business attire. She's sort of girl in the world. Next slide. But she's still badass.
(Audience cheers and claps)
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible] which is kind of fun. Little play on her racing [inaudible]. Next slide. Tenzin's (audience cheers) got some winter cloak. So now he's got like five cloaks.
Mike DiMartino: [inaudible]
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah, to the [inaudible] Next slide. So, you saw-
(The crowd goes wild and applauds)
Mike DiMartino: Yeah, so in Book 2, we briefly mention them at the beginning of Book 1 and then we saw Bumi arrive in Republic City. But both Bumi and Kya, their sister, will be part of the second book.
(More applause and cheers from the audience)
Bryan Konietzko: Bumi has no blood relation to the old King Bumi. He definitely has that spirit. I thought it would be cute if he had some paint funerals. (audience laughs) With his like old army surplus jacket.
Joaquim dos Santos: I love his like pot belly [inaudible]
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah, in the six months since we last saw him, he got a little pot belly. So... Next slide. Ryu did some awesome expressions based on Bumi [inaudible] so Ryu always can breathe incredible life into our-
Joaquim dos Santos: He's like our art master. We bow to him whenever we come into the studio.
Bryan Konietzko: And next slide. This is Kya.
(Audience whoops loudly)
Mike DiMartino: So she is a waterbender and she's got a little bit of- she's a free spirit too.
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible] a hippie.
Mike DiMartino: Yeah a little hippie-ish. You know, she's good at healing of course.
Bryan Konietzko: And her favorite song is "Secret Tunnel".
(Audience laughs heartily)
Mike DiMartino: [inaudible] tap into the spiritual side of things too so-
Bryan Konietzko: And she kind of has this special bond with Jinora which is cool. Next slide. And you know Senna, this is Korra's mother.
Mike DiMartino: And so yeah, we're gonna be seeing a lot more of Korra's parents in this season which is exciting.
Bryan Konietzko: Next slide. Just a little parka variation which [inaudible] how you saw earlier in Book 1. And then we've got Tonraq, Korra's father. And designed by Joaquim dos Santos. And he's a stud-ly man.
Janet Varney: Whoa.
Mike DiMartino: Both Joaquim and-
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah, they're both very stud-ly. Next slide. And this is him without his parka. He's a big dude. We always imagine Korra's- you know Korra was inspired by Gina Carano, the MMA fighter. (Audience whoops) I once read that her father was like a line backer or something in the NFL. And I love the idea of Korra being a tomboy [inaudible] a huge dad. He's kind of like this nice gently guy, he's just sort of like this brick wall. Next slide. We have some nice... Ryu did these great head studies and expressions and we get to see a little flashback, I think some of you will enjoy this. Next slide. Tonraq looking [inaudible] in his PJs. Or at least half of his PJs.
Joaquim dos Santos: Mmm hmm.
Bryan Konietzko: So, we've got Tonraq's brother, Korra's uncle.
Mike DiMartino: So yeah, the Korra family kind of widens out a little bit. We can see more of her parents and also we're meeting her uncle whose name is Unalaq. And he is the Chief in the Northern tribe. And so we're gonna kind of delve into the backstory of these brothers and kind of how Korra's fate ties into her whole family. And the Northern and Southern Water Tribes.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah, we did end the relationship between those tribes since you know, the war broke out 170 years ago. Next slide. We got this fancy winter cloak.
Mike DiMartino: And whereas Tonraq's kind of a real warrior type guy, Unalaq is much more in touch with the spirits and everything so he kind of becomes like a mentor to Korra. [inaudible]
Bryan Konietzko: He's like a professor. Some more great head studies by Ryu. We draw the character, just give it to Ryu. Alright-
Joaquim dos Santos: He brings them to life.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah.
Joaquim dos Santos: Like just makes some action happen.
Bryan Konietzko: Make it cool. Next. And we'll meet Unalaq's children. They're twin brother and sister and this is the brother, this is Desna. He's got a little bit of his personality from his- Next slide.
Bryan Konietzko: And then, his sister, very [inaudible as audience laughs loudly] Very drawn to this like, kind of creepy-
Joaquim dos Santos: She's got make-up on though.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah, she's got a little bit of make-up and I think she's a little [inaudible], that's about it. Next slide. I love that hand 'cos [inaudible] it's by Ryu. And some great expression sheets by Ryu. Man, I wish we could tell you guys the cast but we're not allowed to tell you that. And he's a great-
Mike DiMartino: This guy is awesome. His name is Varrick. He's kind of a Howard Hughes sort of a- little bit of a playboy kind of guy but he's also a very inventive guy, he's a shipping magnate, and...
Bryan Konietzko: Captain of the industry.
Mike DiMartino: Yeah he's one of our humourous characters. He and Bolin have a great rapport during this season.
Bryan Konietzko: Next slide. He's also very eccentric.
Joaquim dos Santos: He's a magician!
(Crowd laughs again)
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah. He makes money appear from his butt.
Mike DiMartino: He's of Southern Water Tribe descent so he kind of factors into the storyline a bit.
Bryan Konietzko: And these are some amazing... These are expression sheets done by Ryu but they're taken from Lauren Montogomery, our amazing supervising director who is here. Lauren? [inaudible] stand up. [inaudible as audience claps as she stands up off-screen]
Let's see if Ryu is here. Is Ryu here? Ryu can you stand up?
(More applause is heard as Ryu stands up off-screen)
Joaquim dos Santos: Yeah!
Bryan Konietzko: You've been spotted by [inaudible]. So Ryu did these clean-ups of Lauren's amazing storyboard, acting-
Joaquim dos Santos: Lauren has the weird belief channel like 1940s, crazy, zany, over-the-top acting. You know, all her storyboards are so expressive.
Bryan Konietzko: Very cool. So, next slide. And this is just one of many spirits that you'll meet. You're gonna see a sequence right now from the animatics with this particular spirit. (Bryan turns to Mike) See if you wanna say-
Mike DiMartino: You will see no shortage of spirits. (audience laughs) You're gonna be happily spirited out.
Bryan Konietzko: Literally had fun with the design. Joaquim- I based this one on Joaquim's storyboard. It was really fun to do.
Mike DiMartino: Yeah, why don't you explain more about what we're gonna see, Joaquim?
Joaquim dos Santos: Yeah. Just keep in mind that these are storyboards, this is actually an animatic so it's sort of the rough template that we give to the overseas animation studios so they know the shots and they know the overall direction. We go a little above and beyond what normal storyboards and animatics look like, we kind of fancy them up with (Adobe) After Effects so there's an even closer representation of what you see in the final picture but they're rough so, bare in mind.
Bryan Konietzko: It's not final-
Joaquim dos Santos: Yeah, we did some cool action sequences you can expect from Season 2.
Bryan Konietzko: Alright, let's go to tape. Always wanted to say that.
(Audience laughs and the room darkens. Recording ends there as panel goers are not allowed to film the animatic and it starts up with Mike speaking after they screen the animatic.)
Mike DiMartino: -fan of work and everything in there is all done in After Effects and it's a- we have an amazing artist that works with us, [inaudible], and he puts all those- he takes all those storyboard drawings and everything and... Somehow, works his magic to make these like, almost you know, they're almost like fully animated scenes. It really gives you like, a very creative picture of all the action and everything. And... if it wasn't for [inaudible], I realize we couldn't set up the fact, might be hard to tell them in drawings but Mako does become a cop for Book 2. And-
Bryan Konietzko: Not a Batman, just a cop.
Mike DiMartino: Just a cop.
Mike DiMartino: And... while Bolin is kind of like, he's trying to find his way in the world so in Book 2 it has a lot of Bolin kinda- trying to find out what his path should be.
Bryan Konietzko: Trying to become a man.
PJ Byrne: Yeah, [inaudible]
(Audience laughs again)
Mike DiMartino: So...
Bryan Konietzko: (to Mike) Is there any more questions?
Mike DiMartino: Yeah. I wanted to ask Andrea, I didn't get to this earlier but you know... After we and the writers have finished the scripts, Andrea's one of the first people to see them other than the people of the crew. So, I was always curious like, what do you- when you get the script, like what do you do to prepare for the record? And were there any like, things you read from Book 1 that you were like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe this is happening! What are those guys thinking?'
Andrea Romano: Oh god. You know, what happened with Amon and Tarrlok was absolutely shocking to me. And you know, we record with the initial record and it goes off to animation and comes back 6-8 months later, [inaudible] I had forgotten what happened on the previous record and we see it again and go, 'Oh yeah. He puts the gloves that sparks and you go, this can't end well.'
Bryan Konietzko: It's a kids show.
Andrea Romano: Yeah, it's a great shock. It's a beautiful [inaudible]. What I do to prep a script is, we work with what we call a shooting script which has all the stage direction as well as the dialogue and so, I read everything that's on the script but I highlight just the things that I think need to be told to the actors that will affect their performance. So, if they're doing a scene with action, running through the scene or they're training during the scene, that would affect their energy. And then there's always the things that I did- as we did the table read, a moment ago where we have to add some impact so you get hit, you hit the wall, you fall down. Or you gasp and then you do the line. Or there's laughter in this scene so I add any of that stuff that can help us with the animation and make them a little more full. And I think I try to make it as easy for the actors as possible. We have a relatively small recording booth that we work at Nickelodeon and so, we can't always all record together and often the actors aren't all available to record together. So something else that they do is try to organize in such that actors who are in the scenes together can actually act off each other. It gets you a better- I'm sure you guys (gestures to the voice actors) can you know, confirm this. If you can actually react to the actor that speaks before you and after, you get a more complete performance than me just reading the actor into the line. You know, if the actor isn't there to work with, I have to get pretty much every possible read from the actor to make sure that we're covered so that whatever cuts together makes the editor's job harder like- So we have a scene that makes sense in continuity and actually stays in the same moment. But every once in a while you have actors recording two-three weeks time difference in between and we'll get the scene back in animation and (whispers softly) one person will be speaking like this. (raises voice) And the other guy in the scene will be speaking like this. (returns voice back to normal) We have to fix that sound [inaudible] (turns to Mike) Did I answer your question?
Mike DiMartino: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we ended up doing- you know, some questions submitted through Facebook and various websites and internets. (laughs) But this one was actually [inaudible] 'cos it says "As creators of the show," this one is to me and Bryan obviously, "what do you actually do while on the job?"
(The crowd laughs)
Mike DiMartino: And I like to say, we just lounge around and have breaks. I wish. What is a typical day on the job.
Bryan Konietzko: Just imagine, we just, just- Yeah.
(Laughter is heard)
Mike DiMartino: So, a typical day for us is... I mean usually we're kind of splitting duties like, right now, I'm working with the writers and we're coming up with stories for Book 3. (audience whoops) And then we're doing meetings with Joaquim to go into storyboards and then, writing, edit, you know, post-production of Book 1. Doing re-takes like... basically it's like, we run the show so we're doing- overseeing every part of the production. It gets kind of crazy sometimes.
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah. I oversee- I'm the art director on the show so, I'm running the art department and we have designers in Burbank with us and we have some overseas and, we're just combing through all that. I mean, it's a crazy amount of design especially when we're in this really complicated locations like Republic City... Tons of people and cars and all that stuff. Just the amount of stuff we have to do is nuts so, we- Yeah, I always tell people, I have said this a bunch of times but it's really true. I have every job that I wanted to have but I have them all at the same time. (applause) It's really, really hard and so, with days chopped up in tiny bits and if I'm doing one thing ,that means I'm neglecting a dozen other things and it's just really hard but we do a little bit of everything.
Joaquim dos Santos: I can say without a doubt, they're the most hands-on creators I've ever worked with to the point where we'll be doing like a storyboard handout or a review and Mike will somehow or Bryan will somehow like in between all the other stuff and go and say, 'Just give me the scene, I'll do it, I'll do it.'
Joaquim dos Santos: They'll just laugh it off and crank away for like half a day and turn in this piece in between all the other stuff they have to do, it's amazing. They're-
Mike DiMartino: We're trying to do less.
Bryan Konietzko: Case in point, Mike and I because you know, we've started over in a [inaudible] with Joaquim and give him a much bigger role and a lot more responsibility. Mike and I were able to write Book 1 together, just the two of us which was really fun and... But, as a result, all my design duties fell- (he laughs) you know, we fell behind and then for Book 2 we brought in Josh Hamilton, Tim Hedrick, our two writers from Avatar and so Mike and those guys you know, formed a new management. And I being there more initially in the beginning, you know, it's always proved valuable to being there and we kinda coming up with the general overview, the main characters and stuff but any time I spend with the writers in the meetings means the designs aren't getting done and I get a lot of angry people. And then we've been kicking around, sneaking away with the writers and meet them for Book 3 stuff which is really exciting so, it's crazy. Yeah, anyone who wants their own show, I just- Beware...
Bryan Konietzko: It's not a cake walk.
Mike DiMartino: So we have more, I think we have time to do one last- (looks over to Rick for confirmation) Yeah we have one last little treat for you for Andrea. You explain-
Andrea Romano: I assume you guys know what walla is right? It's group sounds that are made and as I said, we have a very small recording booth at Nickelodeon so, [inaudible] to have more than 5 actors but if you remember in some of the probending scenes where you see the arena, there are thousands of people and guess what we have here? Thousands of people.
(The crowd goes wild and claps)
Andrea Romano: Want to? Want to be my actors?
(The audience cheers once again)
Bryan Konietzko: [inaudible] gonna record with this 'cos Ben... Ben, do you have your recording equipment? We need [inaudible]
Andrea Romano: I know.
Bryan Konietzko: 'Cos Ben-
Andrea Romano: I wish-
Bryan Konietzko: -we need a file that sounds excited and then disappointed and then mildly interested and he's like "Dude, that doesn't exist in the sound library."
Andrea Romano: Right. So what I'll do is I'll record the five actors that are in the room with me and we'll address any specific characters that we see doing something very clear in a close up and we may do three, four, five passes and then they both [The Track Team] supplement that with soundtracks but, let's have you guys do it okay? So I'm gonna direct you.
Andrea Romano: So the first thing I wanna do is, I want to do anticipatory walla. So the very first scene that we rehearsed today for you, they're getting ready to watch the big probending fight and so I need all of you to just kind of act the way before this panel began and kind of like quiet "Oh, I'm so excited, this is gonna be so much fun I can't wait to see." So it's not too big, not too loud. I want everybody to do it, I'm gonna give you an 'And' and we'll do it together. Ready? And!
(Andrea gestures to the audience to whisper to each other. The panelists have their smartphone cameras out to record.)
Andrea Romano: So excited-
(The crowd does the anticipatory walla. Andrea silently urges them to continue. Then Andrea does a "cease" motion with her hands and it takes the audience a few seconds to quiet down.)
Andrea Romano: Good, excellent.
Andrea Romano: Now, I want you gasp and I want to do one short, sharp "Huh!" Ready? Everybody together, and!
(The audience gasps sharply. The panelists laugh after that. David gives a thumbs up.)
Andrea Romano: And then I want you to do one long breathy "Huh..." type gasp. Ready? Together, and!
(The crowd does the long gasp.)
Bryan Konietzko: You've just seen Amon's scar.
(The audience laughs)
Andrea Romano: Look how good you are. Now, you see some- You see Pabu doing something incredibly cute so it's like a "Aww..." Gentle. Everybody and!
(The audience goes 'awww' and Andrea laughs with happiness)
Andrea Romano: Beautiful. Now I want to do laughs. Right? Laughs. So here's what I want to do, I want to do only women. Women first. And not big, not huge, just laughing. So maybe, you know you've watched something happen in the probending fight and Bolin falls on his butt and makes you laugh. So all the women only. And!
(The women in the audience laugh. Andrea silently gestures at them to keep going. After a short while, she does the "cease" motion with her arm.)
Bryan Konietzko: None of the guys thought what you were doing was funny at all.
(The audience chuckles)
Andrea Romano: Men now. Men only. A little bit bigger than the ladies just did, a little bit bigger laugh. And!
(The men laugh and like before, Andrea silently urges them to keep going before gesturing at them to stop a few moments later.)
Andrea Romano: Excellent. And now, kids. Only people under sixteen years old, I want to hear you all laugh. Ready? With me and!
(She's greeted with silence)
Andrea Romano: There's no one here.
Andrea Romano: I don't know if there's kids here.
Bryan Konietzko: To be honest, I think it's because-
Andrea Romano: I [inaudible] know there's kids here. We're gonna do it again.
Bryan Konietzko: No, they were four years old when [inaudible] came out so no one [inaudible]
(Crowd laughs again before clapping and cheering.)
Andrea Romano: I want to do one more pass. Are we good? We good, yeah.
Bryan Konietzko: We're good. [inaudible]
Andrea Romano: Okay cool.
Bryan Konietzko: Actually this is it.
Andrea Romano: Okay here's the last one I wanna do then. I wanna do like the... you're waiting, waiting, waiting to get the results out of the probending match, waiting for the referee to tell you who won and you find out sure enough it is the Fire Ferrets and they won. Don't applaud, because we add that as sound effects or foley but I want big cheers from everybody so it's gonna be silence, silence, silence and then immediately and we're all just gonna burst into a huge cheer of approval. Big roar. "Yay, our favorite team won." Ready? Quiet everybody. Quiet. And!
(The audience roars and cheers with excitement. The panelists cheer them on. Andrea does the "cease" motion with her hands but the audience keeps going on. The panelists start clapping.)
Andrea Romano: Big hand for yourself!
Bryan Konietzko: Yeah-
(Bryan is interrupted by applause)
Bryan Konietzko: We just want to thank you and everybody from the Korra crew [inaudible] We just want to thank them for all of their hardwork and sacrifice so [inaudible as audience applauds] Alright.
Rick : Thanks for coming guys and I want to tell you these guys are going to be signing down at the booth, the Nick booth, at 4113.
Bryan Konietzko: At what time?
Rick : I think at 2030 I'm not sure... Check the schedule.
Bryan Konietzko: And tomorrow at Dark Horse at 2 o'clock.
David Faustino : Thank you everybody.
Rick : [inaudible as audience cheers] Thank you.
(The panelists stand up and take their leave.)
[Recording stops and the panel ends there]
Transcriber's note: Again, a huge thanks to Kelly Walker for recording the panel.
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