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Michael Dante DiMartino Hello everybody! This is Mike DiMartino, co-creator and executive producer of Legend of Korra.
Bryan Konietzko [Brief pause; indicating to Joaquim.] You...
Joaquim Dos Santos Oh! I...
Mike [Interjects.] Naw, I thought it was Bryan.
Bryan Oh, me.
Mike Hey, everybody!
Joaquim Bryan's next. [Mike laughs.]
Bryan Hey. This is Bryan Konietzko, the other co-creator and executive producer.
Joaquim This is Joaquim Dos Santos, the co-EP and co-director, along with Ki Hyun Ryu.
Steve Blum And this is Steve Blum, director of nothing except voicing Amon.
Bryan And, you can hear, he's the professional. [Joaquim chuckles; Mike affirms.]
Steve [Laughs.] Yeah. You can tell... how well I...
Bryan [Interjects.] I think I, I went through puberty at the end of my introduction. [Joaquim and Steve laugh.] The little... that little squeak.
Mike So, I remember uh, comin-you know, finding Steve and the right voice for Amon was definitely a bit of a process, 'cause we had this idea for this charismatic, cool villain, and, you know, he had to be very uh, very charismatic in front of these audiences. He's going to be at these rallies, and kind of... capturing the-the-the masses, and uh...
Steve [Interjects; in a tone of mock confusion.] And you chose me?
Mike ... and you were the one, [Steve laughs.] out of everyone.
Steve Wow.
Bryan Yeah, we didn't want him to be [Steve affirms.] just like, we always say like a moustache-twisting villain. You know, we wanted him to be-to be making good points. And to that point, Joaquim... [Mike chuckles.]
Joaquim I was on Amon's side the entire time. [Mike chuckles.]
Steve [Laughs.] So was I.
Bryan Um, and, to go ba-I mean, Steve is, you know, Guinness, uh, [Joaquim laughs.] Guinness record uh, [Steve laughs.] voice actor. So, he's done...
Steve [In the background.] Huh, bringing that up.
Bryan ... [Laughs.] he's done uh, [Steve laughs.] a million voices. But, one very important seminal voice worth mentioning is uh, he was Spike, in Cowboy Bebop, the American dub of-of uh, the really, really amazing Japanese series, which is not only a favorite of ours, but was probably the initial main inspiration for Avatar. This idea of a anime-influenced road show, you know, like a traveling show. Um, that was the first show that got me back into anime after a long hiatus. And uh, I usually don't, you know, it's pretty, it's pretty known, people hate dubs of Japanese stuff, [Steve chuckles.] usually it's terrible, um, but I think that shows the exception, and-and Steve's, Steve's portrayal of Spike was awesome, and-and always loved it. So, it was really cool to be able to, to work with him on our show.
Steve I feel so lucky. [Mike chuckles.] I really do. And so many of the anime shows were really not up to that standard, and uh, just to be a part of something like that, and eventually to be part of something like this that was uh, you know, in any way connected with that is such an honor.
Mike Yeah, that was probably, wha-you-you-you liked that too, Joaquim, right? You-was that one of your...
Joaquim Cowboy Bebop?
Mike Yeah.
Joaquim That's pillar. I mean, I think that's sort of like "anime 101" for anybody that's coming into animation, [Steve chuckles; Mike affirms.] US animation, especially now.
Steve Uh...
Bryan [Interjects.] It's-it's a good entry point. [Joaquim and Steve affirm.] I mean, 'cause it has really kinda Western sensibilities, so it was really something Mike and I related to. 'Cause there's a lot about anime we love, but, you know, we're also we have kind of American filmmaking sensibilities [Steve chuckles.] too, and I think that one... uh, especially the music, you know...
Joaquim Oh, the-the...
Steve [In the background.] Oh, it's... incredible.
Joaquim ... intro music alone. I remember we were, we would hear it echoing in the studio just 'cause everybody would have it playing on their computers.
Steve Wow.
Mike Yeah.
Steve Well, prior to that show, I got a lot of hate mail. [Mike and Steve chuckle.] There's... fans just couldn't accept dubbed animation. [Mike and Joaquim affirm.]
Bryan Ah, I mean, like you said, usually it's pretty low-low budget, and, [Steve affirms.] you know. But, that one, yeah, I mean, the-the cast was great.
Steve A lot of attention to detail, and great storytelling.
Mike Yeah. So, this is the episode too where we kind of, you know, we had the f-the first episode, which we had to set everything up, and the second episode was kind of...
Bryan [Interjects.] More of the same.
Mike ... meeting-yeah. [Bryan affirms.] The-the first two episodes were a lot of setup, meeting Mako, Bolin, and pro-bending and all that stuff. And now, this is kind of the first episode where it's like, alright, what are these guys going to do once they get all together and the-and kind of, we teased Amon in the first episode, but we knew this was the one where we're really gonna...
Joaquim chuckles at Bolin's audibly pronounced gasping following his receiving of a large down payment from Shady Shin.
Mike ... show him in more uh... more detail.
Bryan Yeah, I remember the early outlines and stuff that Mike and I were writing. It-I mean, Amon, like you saw him in action right away in the first episode, [Mike affirms.] and I think that was a really good note we got from the network. Uh, not all network notes are bad. [Mike and Steve chuckle.] No... we got a good note that was just like, "slow down. Let's just get to know this-this world, you know, because it's-this is like an update on the Avatar world," and uh, and I-I like it that much more. It's just this creepy...
Joaquim [Interjects.] I know.
Bryan ... whoa, whoa. Who's this guy in this weird bunker? You know, what's going on? So... yeah, this was the first episode we get to see him play his hand.
Mike [Refers to Mako asking Korra if she knows where Bolin is.] Yeah, and here, and funny little tidbit too, remember when uh, our fr-our friend Hasook was the one who got taken by the... [Bryan laughs.]
Joaquim [In the background.] That's right!
Mike ... the chi blockers, or whatever.
Joaquim Wow.
Mike Yeah, the-Hasook, who was the, their failed teammate in 102, was originally the one who got taken, and then we were like, "well, it'd be much more exciting if someone we cared about like Bolin [Joaquim, Steve and Mike laugh.] was the one who... was..."
Bryan [Interjects.] It's funny that we hung on to that for so long, [Mike affirms.] because Mike says that about everything, like movies he sees, [Steve chuckles.] and TV, and like-he's like, "who are these people? I don't care about these people," [Mike affirms; Joaquim and Steve laugh.] you know, if it's not like a main character, Mike's like, "ah, what, I don't care". So, it's funny... [Steve laughs.]
Mike [Interjects.] Yeah, especially in fight scenes too. It's like if it's just focused on like Generic Soldier #2, [Joaquim affirms.] like, I don't care about his fight.
Joaquim I-at some poi...
Mike [Interjects.] It might look cool, but you know.
Joaquim ... at some point, Hasook had a-like a family though, didn't he?
Bryan [Laughs.] Yeah!
Mike [Laughs.] Yeah.
Joaquim He had a whole wife and a kid, and all that?
Mike Oh, he had a whole backstory. [Joaquim affirms.]
Bryan I remember the network was like, "is it just a little weird that he's like an adult with family, [Mike, Joaquim and Steve laugh.] and kids, and a baby on the way? Like, are-is our audience really going to care?" and, [Steve laughs.] you know, like the target demo [Mike affirms.] or something. But, honestly, we, we were just like, I think Mike finally was like, [Laughs.] "I got an idea. [Mike chuckles.] Bolin's the one that gets taken away". And that makes a lot more sense.
Mike Yeah.
Bryan Sorry uh, Sean Gantka, voice of...
Mike Hasook.
Bryan ... voice of Hasook. But you know what, his character was still so powerful that he spawned whole fanart uh, tributes, and that sort of thing. [Steve chuckles.]
Mike Yeah. Uh...
Joaquim [Interjects; refers to Mako and Korra questioning several street urchin kids outside a Republic City train station at night.] I will say this scene, I remember feeling when the-when the footage came back, but this felt like a really real place that, uh, these kids were hanging out in, these street urchin kids.
Bryan Oh, at the train station?
Joaquim Yeah.
Bryan Yeah, yeah.
Joaquim [Refers to the amplified washed-out lighting of Republic City changing the character's color palettes to brownish-oranges.] The lighting, just the vibe. Does...
Bryan [Interjects.] Is definitely...
Steve [In the background.] Its...
Bryan ... definitely like the kids hanging out in New York, you know, in Manhattan, [Laughs.] or something.
Steve [Laughs.] It's one of the things that caught me initially with the show was just the, the believability of the environments. It was amazing. [Mike affirms.]
Bryan [Refers to the street urchin kids running in the foreground, while the tall buildings of Republic City loom in the background.] This is uh, we-we drew a lot of influence and inspiration uh, for Republic City from this really awesome website called Shorpy.com, which is a collection of all these, um, what do they call it, Library of Congress, kind of public record...
Steve [In the background.] Oh, okay.
Bryan ... photos of uh, they scan the original negatives, or, you know, the-the giant prints. They scan 'em all at high resolution, and you ca-it's all-you can access this stuff, and they update a few a day. It's mostly from like the Civil War to about the 1940s, and uh, it was just one of my favorite websites, um, as a photographer, and-and just being into-into the Prohibition era. And uh, when you check out the site, I mean, the thing you see a lot of is the kids, just these amazing little kids from the, you know, Twenties and stuff, that are, they just have this [Laughs.] look in their face [Steve chuckles.] that's like, they've seen so much. [Steve affirmingly murmurs intermittently.] You know, and they-they're kind of, uh, Mark Twain-esque, you know, these little scamps. [Refers to Korra wondering why Bolin would get involved with the Triple Threat Triad.] And uh, so, this was-that was a chance for us to show, um, 'cause at this point, Korra doesn't know much about Mako and Bolin's backstory. [Refers to Mako sardonically praising one of the street urchin kid's, Skoochy, money hustling skills.] But it was like, I remember Mike and I thought it was a cool way to show where they came from, that they used to be these kids hanging out, up to no good, [Mike and Steve affirm.] you know, probably scamming people and pan-handling and stuff. [Steve chuckles; Mike affirms.] So... just trying to survive.
Mike [Refers to the sequence of Korra and Mako chasing the Equalist motor convoy through the city streets while on Naga.] So, this begins one of my favorite sequences, action sequences we've had... all-all in Book One. I just love this whole motorcycle chase and fight.
Bryan [Refers to the theme playing in the background.] Jeremy's music here is amazing. [Mike affirms.]
Joaquim I mean, incredible.
Bryan Really cool like crazy rhythms, and asymmetrical... polyrhythms and stuff. [Steve laughs.]
Mike [Laughs.] I don't even know what that means. [Steve laughs.]
Bryan I don't even know if I know what that means. [Mike laughs.]
Joaquim Well...
Steve [Laughs.] It sounds cool. [Joaquim laughs.]
Bryan I mean, maybe-maybe I just made that up, [Steve laughs.] I don't know.
Steve You know people will be quoting you on it though.
Bryan Yeah. [Refers to the motorcycles the five Equalist chi blockers are riding.] My uh, my best friend, Jeff Berry, uh, was my consultant on the motorcycle design. [Mike chuckles.] We had had this-we were trying to come up with like a k-kinda steampunk vintage looking bike, and then, I just-I wasn't happy with it. So... uh, really late in the game, I revised it, but I was like, "can you help me? [Laughs.] I want to make sure like it's at least somewhat plausible and cool to someone who knows about motorcycles," [Steve chuckles.] and he's an expert.
Mike All our motorcycle crossover fans have... [Bryan and Steve laugh.]
Joaquim [Interjects.] That's right. [Refers to the long take of Korra and Mako individually fighting different chi blockers, the camera dollying along the ground as the shot shifts to capture a different angle of their fights.] I think this sequence also speaks really, really well to the uh, kinda the method that we, you know, do a lot of the storyboarding here where it's, it's a really big collaboration. So, I think initially this sequence was boarded by Seung Kim, and then Ryu had some pretty extensive revisions on it. And of course, you know, everybody, you guys both weighed in on it and-and gave notes. And it's really, it's kind of the coming together of everybody's ideas.
Bryan And then the-the animators at Studio Mir did an incredible job on this.
Joaquim Yeah, it took a lot of them.
Mike Yeah, I remember it took-this one took a lot-a lot to get to this stage, [Joaquim affirms.] for sure, yeah.
Joaquim See, but it's cool, you know, you see everybody's efforts kinda come together, and at the end you got...
Bryan And then Matt Gadbois did some brilliant camerawork, [Mike affirms.] uh, in the animatic with After Effects to get those kinda... cameras spinning around, and all that stuff. Which was something e-you know, we knew about that kinda stuff even back on uh, Avatar, but we just couldn't-we just didn't know how to get at it, you know? [Joaquim affirms.] And-and then when we came back for Korra, we said, "we really need to incorporate After Effects into the pre-production". I think we just kept... expecting it to happen in-in main production, you know? And we were like, "oh, they'll, you know, if we just ask for them to do it, and make it like Furi Kuri, it'll be cool," but, [Steve and Mike chuckle.] we hadn't really work it into the, to the plan. [Refers to the montage sequence of Mako, Korra, Pabu, and Naga searching for Bolin on the abandoned nighttime streets of Republic City, the scene fading in and out to various different locales in the city.] I like this seque-I think this makes it feel like a real city. [Joaquim and Mike affirm; refers to the nighttime background shot framed around one of Republic City's suspension bridges, the white light shining from an abandoned trolley station contrasting with the brownish-orange light pollution emanating through the fog and city buildings.] That's a cool painting by Emily Tetri there. I always love that one. That reminds me of Providence, uh, [Joaquim gives an affirming murmur.] where Mike and I went to college.
Mike The whole-the whole mood of this episode, I love, just 'cause it's all kind of nighttime, and dark alleys, [Bryan affirms; refers to the fog partially obscuring the buildings in the background.] and foggy, and it's... and...
Bryan [Interjects.] Very appropriate for the, [Mike affirms.] for this location. [Refers to the shot of Republic City Park at twilight, the color palette and lighting now muted bluish-greys.] And the park. This painting by Fred Stewart, came out really cool, [Steve gives an affirming murmur.] this like, just pre-dawn. [Refers to Naga drinking water from a fountain.] We did a reference here, 'cause, you know, dogs, when they drink, they actually scoop their tongues, uh, like backwards. It's-it's not like [Joaquim affirms.] a scoop like a ladle, it-it laps it up. It's kinda counter-intuitive.
Mike So, if you frame-by-framed it, you could see...
Steve [Interjects.] I never knew that.
Bryan Yeah.
Steve Wow. That's attention to detail, right there. [Mike chuckles.]
Bryan Yeah. [Refers to Korra sitting down with Mako under a tree while against Naga, and asking how he and Bolin ended up having to fend for themselves as orphans.] This was a fun sequence. [Mike affirms; brief pause.] Yeah, this wa-the whole idea was for the-the budding romance between, [Steve chuckles intermittently.] uh, Korra and Mako was to not just do something like Aang, where he-the second he opened his eyes, he was in love, you know, with Katara, and knew right away that's who he wanted to be with. [Refers to Korra initially judging Mako for working with the Triple Threats, and Mako angrily retorting he did what he had to do to provide for Bolin.] The idea was to have more of like, [Laughs.] which-which happens in real life, was like, "man, I hated [Laughs.] this person when I first met them, [Mike, Steve and Joaquim laugh.] but maybe-maybe it wasn't hate, maybe they just... like..."
Steve [Interjects.] It's confusion.
Bryan Yeah. [Mike chuckles; Steve affirms.] "They drove me crazy, but I can't stop thinking about 'em. [Steve laughs.] And, and I don't like everything about them, but, you know, but, uh, [In a sultry tone.] they, they light my fire."
Steve "Why do I keep coming back for more?" [Joaquim and Mike chuckle.]
Bryan [Refers to Mako pulling his red scarf over his mouth as he recounts losing his parents.] Ah, the scarf. That was my idea, to-to pull it up over his mouth. [Mike and Joaquim affirm.] I think it's been ridiculed by many a fan.
Mike But I believe, Joaquim, didn't you have the Ma-the scarf backstory? Didn't you? You were-you were very partial to the scarf early on with...
Joaquim [In the background.] I did. I-I...
Bryan [Interjects.] The scarf came from-from your design, [Mike affirms.] and then you were insistent on it.
Joaquim Yeah. I-I-I definitely wanted to give a story to it, [Mike affirms intermittently; Steve chuckles intermittently.] you know, you know, those tragic backstories.
Bryan But yeah, I re-I clearly remember in the development c-period where it was you, me, Mike, and, and uh, Ryu, and I remember you drew that scarf, and wanted it to be red, [Joaquim affirms.] and-and uh...
Joaquim And it's, you know...
Bryan [In the background.] Yeah, it's cool, I like it.
Joaquim ... I-I did a picture of Mako that looked very Charles Dickens, and, and, [Bryan affirms.] just sort of pulling from that.
Mike But it's cool 'cause the scarf has taken on a life of its own. [Steve, Joaquim and Mike laugh.] I mean like, we talk about it all the time. We have s-you know, we're gonna have a whole season's [Joaquim affirms.] gonna be about Mako's scarf.
Joaquim Just the scarf.
Steve I'm smelling spinoff.
Mike [Laughs.] Yes. [Steve laughs.]
Bryan [Refers to the scattered posters for the Revelation rally, all depicting a stylized Amon with light rays emanating from his outstretched hand.] This stuff-this stuff was fun to do, uh, as a-as an illustrator and a-a fan of graphic design, and stuff, to reference and research old propaganda posters, you know, from Soviet-era, early like Bolshevik revolution, and all that stuff. Um, so it was fun to do all that stuff. I wou-I would... I did all those posters, [Refers to the Chinese characters on the posters.] and we got S. L. Lee, our calligrapher, to do the writing.
Joaquim [Refers to the Equalist protestor yelling to the park policeman that Korra, currently lifting the protestor off the ground, is oppressing him.] This guy's scream is amazing.
Steve Yeah. [Laughs.]
Bryan Yeah. [Joaquim laughs.] That's Carlos, right? Trying to...
Mike [Interjects.] Carlos Alazraqui.
Joaquim Carlos.
Bryan Yeah.
Mike He's...
Steve [Interjects.] Amazing.
Mike ... done a bunch of voices throughout the years... on the show.
Bryan Tho and Due.
Mike Yeah.
Bryan Or is it Due?
Mike Due and Tho.
Joaquim Due.
Bryan [In the Southern accent used by the swampbenders.] Due and Tho.
Mike In the old series.
Joaquim [Brief pause; refers to Mako and Korra finding the location of the Revelation rally by putting together the segmented parts of the map for Republic City located on the backs of the Equalist posters.] I remember this being kind of a... bit of a thing to figure out like how they... [Bryan chuckles.]
Mike [Interjects.] Oh, the old...
Joaquim ... how we were going to have this...
Mike ... map thing, yeah.
Joaquim ... [Laughs.] map on the back of the... [Mike affirms.]
Bryan [Interjects.] This was, this was definite-well, the solution was influenced by uh, by my... slight involvement in rave culture [Joaquim and Steve laugh.] as a younger man. Uh, where basically these parties, you can't disclose the location blatantly, it's gotta be a little bit of a mystery.
Joaquim Right.
Steve [Brief pause.] You never know what information's going to be valuable later on. [Mike chuckles.]
Joaquim That's right.
Mike We draw on a lot of, like, [Bryan affirms; Steve chuckles.] experiences.
Steve It does! That's pretty awesome.
Bryan [Refers to the industrial area the rally is taking place in, the buildings in the background shrouded in fog.] These are some, I thought, some... [Laughs.]
Steve [Interjects.] Didn't even occur to me.
Bryan ... some cool backgrounds. [Steve laughs intermittently.] And some familiar, with kinda misty, industrial and stuff. Definitely influenced by... for me, the influence, by uh, my time in New England, [Joaquim gives an affirming murmur.] in college.
Steve And the warehouses you were raving in, too.
Joaquim That's right.
Bryan [Laughs.] Nah, I wasn't that cool. [Steve laughs.]
Joaquim [Refers to the Equalist rally doorman.] And this is uh, "Big" Bill Rinaldi [Bryan laughs.] here, the uh, [Steve chuckles.] doorman, [Bryan affirms.] and our martial arts videographer.
Bryan Ryu, basically, the history of this is that Ryu is always, whenever we have a meeting, he's always drawing everybody. Usually these just, just scathing caricatures of people, but, but also just right on. I mean, he's-he's an incredible artist, and uh, he loved drawing Bill, he would always draw Bill in profile, and uh, [Steve chuckles.] and, so, fin-he just had the idea, he's like, "hey Bill, I'm going to put you in the show." [Mike chuckles.]
Joaquim [Refers to Amon being elevated out from and onto the rally's stage via an elevated platform.] Here's the big moment. [Mike affirms.]
Bryan There is Steve.
Steve Alright, quiet everyone, I'm on stage. [Joaquim, Bryan and Steve laugh.]
Mike One point, we had so much more buildup to this [Bryan affirms.] moment. [Refers to the woman in glasses to the left of Korra among the rest of the rally attendees.] Like, we had the uh, the girl standing next to Korra actually used to be screaming like a fangirl.
Bryan Foaming mouth girl.
Mike Foaming mouth girl, [Steve laughs.] who was going to be a descendant of foaming mouth guy, but totally just didn't...
Bryan [Interjects.] Ryu-Ryu redesigned it...
Mike [Laughs; in the background.] Yeah.
Bryan ... Ryu did a little comic about her. [Steve laughs.]
Mike Yeah, tonally, it just didn't quite match.
Steve I met her at the last convention...
Mike [Interjects.] Scene. [Bryan, Joaquim and Steve laugh.] You probably did.
Bryan Foam all over you.
Steve Yes.
Bryan Um...
Steve [Interjects.] I'm wearing her DNA now.
Bryan [Refers to Amon's speech to the massive crowd about how a firebender extorted and killed his family before scarring his entire face, forcing him to wear a mask, and using it as an example of the suffering bending has brought to the world.] Yeah, this was tough for, like, you know, kids show, to have like a-a rally, [Mike and Bryan chuckle.] a propaganda rally...
Steve [Laughs; in the background.] Yeah.
Bryan ... you know, where a guy with a mask, so you can't even see his mouth moving, is giving a long speech about... you know, social oppression. It's not your usual like kids fare I guess, but I find we say that a lot.
Steve That's... time they learned. [Bryan and Steve laugh.] Cartoons should be educational.
Bryan [Refers to Korra, wearing Mako's red scarf as part of her rally attendee disguise, pulling it over her mouth, faintly shrinking back when the crowd starts to boo Amon's mention of the Avatar.] Ah, Korra did the same little scarf move. So, she-the idea was that she borrowed Mako's scarf to help hide her face.
Joaquim And Mako's scarf gets her out of the jam later on.
Bryan Yeah.
Mike That's right. Has a... big, big role in this. [Bryan and Steve laugh.] Um... so, I don't know, when you first came in, Steve, did you-were you familiar with the old series at all? Or was this kind of a...
Steve E-I was familiar with it on a limited basis. I had watched a lot of episodes out of sequence, so I didn't really know the timeline, and-but I was pretty familiar with the-the universe and the characters and, and the feel of it, certainly. So, just to have anything to do with it, I was screaming like a little [Mike and Bryan laugh.] eight-year old schoolgirl to, you know, get that gig.
Mike That's cool.
Steve It was funny, when I-I remember when I first read for this, I was thinking that like a lot of the big villains that I do, I-I'd be over the top and yelling everything, or overly dramatic. And I-I remember how you guys were bringing me back, you kept pulling me back, and you wanted to keep it real and...
Mike [Interjects.] Yeah, that's right...
Steve ... subtle. Much more subtle.
Mike ... for a-yeah, especially for this episode. I think... I think what happened is that we had you, we did that, and then it was like too subtle. [Bryan laughs; Steve affirms intermittently.] Like, once we saw it animated, o-or like, you know, in animatic form, it was like it didn't seem commanding quite, quite commanding enough, so then I think, yeah, we had you come in again to...
Steve [Interjects.] Wanna-pitched him up a little bit too, [Mike affirms.] 'cause I started out deeper than that. [Bryan and Mike affirm.] Now...
Bryan Yeah, you want him to be like... strong, and-and then kinda making an argument, you know? [Steve affirms.] So, we had to-we just had to find that-that sweet spot. But... and then would be moments later in the season where he would crank it up a little bit. But yeah, [Steve affirms.] we never will have the, [Imitates a villain laughing.] "mwah-ha-ha."
Steve Yeah, yeah. [Laughs.] No, it was so refreshing to be able to play a character like this, and-and bring some of the nuance into it... that happens in real life.
As Amon orders his men to let Lightning Bolt Zolt have the chance to fight the Equalist leader, Zolt, in his heavy accent, informs Amon that he'll regret doing so, to which Bryan laughs.
Bryan I love it. [Steve laughs; imitates Lightning Bolt Zolt.] "You're going to regret doing that!". [Mike, Bryan and Steve chuckle.]
Joaquim [Refers to Amon taking on Zolt by himself, evading his bent bolts of lightning, closing the distance between them and binding the bender's limbs with his own.] I think it's great though, because Amon's sort of like a, you know, he'll show you how it's done, he's not-he's not going to hide behind anything; [Steve affirms.] besides his mask. [Bryan chuckles.]
Steve Yeah. Doesn't have his henchmen do it for him.
Joaquim Yeah.
A brief pause in commentary as Amon, having the arm Zolt is still generating lightning with in a hold pointing up toward the ceiling, takes the gangster's bending away, with the bent lightning turning to a stream of fire before petering out completely.
Mike Yeah, we knew too this moment had to [Bryan makes a "phwoo" sound as Zolt's firebending ceases.] be pret-was pretty-going to be pretty important, [Steve affirms; refers to Korra's unnerved expression as Amon tells Zolt his bending is gone.] 'cause it had to be the-the moment Korra that realizes kinda who she's dealing with.
Bryan I thought that was a-wi-a cool little thing we worked in there, which was uh, if lightning is sort of the highest level of firebending, as he's sapping that... you know, he's kinda blocking his chi paths, you see it going from lightning to fire, [Joaquim affirms.] and, you know, and then it just kinda...
Joaquim [Interjects.] I remember that was a big, yeah, that was a big point that you had made in the uh, in the board pitch. And it-it totally reads...
Steve [In the background.] To me, you...
Joaquim ... [Refers to Zolt failing to firebend at Amon, falling to the ground, powerless.] "look at this poor, blubbering idiot". [Everyone laughs; refers to the theme that plays as Mako explains his diversion plan to Korra.] And the music here. [Bryan affirms.] Oh man, the plan's coming together.
Bryan [Refers to Mako trusting Korra to create the steam cover he needs to get Bolin away from the Equalists, and Korra accepting the plan without hesitation before wishing him good luck.] So, I [Laughs.] honestly think of this little scene between them as the beginning of their romance. [Joaquim give an affirming murmur; refers to Korra sleeping against Mako's shoulder in the park after their talk about the latter's past.] I mean, I know we had that little scene in the park, but to me, this is where they... will...
Joaquim [Interjects.] Kinda gel?
Bryan ... yeah! They-they-they s-they are able to set aside like whatever kind of like, [In a petulantly peeved tone.] "well, he annoys me," or whatev-you know, like they set that stuff aside, and they just cut through it, and uh, are kind of honest to each other, you know? [Joaquim gives an affirming murmur.] And-and I feel like uh, o-or open to each other, and they have to trust each other. I f-I don't know; to me that was a-a big moment.
Joaquim [Brief pause; refers to the Equalist doorman accosting Korra as she tries to break open some steam pipes.] Bill. [Mike chuckles.]
Bryan [Refers to the doorman bluntly asking what Korra is doing.] It's funny hearing Bill, it's always weird when we have a character that's so right on the money, [Joaquim and Steve laugh.] and then like Kevin Michael Richardson's voice comes out of it. [Laughs.] It's like, "wait, where's his Boston accent?" [Steve and Joaquim laughs.] and it's supposed to be Bill.
Mike [Refers to Korra wrapping Mako's scarf around the doorman's hand, pulling the entwined scarf to fling the doorman into the steampipes on the wall.] C'mon Mako's scarf!
Bryan Yeah!
Mike Save the day!
Joaquim There he goes!
Mike Whoo! [Mike and Steve laugh.]
Joaquim makes a "bough" sound, imitating when the doorman impacted on the metal pipes.
Bryan So... [Refers to Korra holding onto the still intact scarf.] it's a really good thread count in that scarf. [Steve laughs.]
Joaquim That's right. [Bryan affirms.] Fur length on that...
Mike [Interjects.] I remember there was even talk, we're like, "oh, she's still gotta be carrying the scarf when she runs off," like, [Refers to the scarf not being on Korra's person when she saves Mako and Bolin from the Lieutenant.] we-we lost it for a second there.
Joaquim Yeah, [Mike chuckles.] I think at some point, she tucks it away in her... [Mike chuckles.] in...
Bryan [Interjects.] The coat?
Joaquim ... yeah, in her coat, or something.
Steve chuckles as Bolin, now brought before Amon to have his bending taken away, greets him and tells him this situation is a huge misunderstanding, his tone a mix of terror and earnestness.
Bryan P. J. is hilarious in this.
Joaquim This is fantastic.
Steve So funny.
Mike Yeah, even in like these super drab moments, he can be very funny, and...
Bryan He's the-it's like the, you know, [Imitating the broken, pleading inflection of Private Hudson from the movie Aliens.] "game over, man!"
Mike [Laughs.] Yeah. [Steve laughs.]
Bryan You know, it's like...
Joaquim [Interjects.] Total Hudson.
Bryan ... you know, you-yeah, you could keep the tension, but it's just that's that guy's personality.
Joaquim Yeah. [Refers to Amon backing and fading into the steam permeating the rally area.] What a cool escape.
Steve That's just great.
Joaquim Backs out of there. [Steve affirms.]
Bryan Always really hard storyboarding in steam or fog. This happened in like the-109, in the old series. Like, when you cut from steam to steam, it just looks the same, [Joaquim affirms.] so the characters kinda pop around. It's really hard. [Refers to the sequence where Amon's Lieutenant takes on Mako and Bolin using two electrified kali sticks.] Alright, so, Joaquim, uh, always humble, but, [Mike chuckles.] this incredible fight here was uh, pretty much all Joaquim, and it came out really well.
Joaquim Yeah, with the uh...
Steve [Interjects.] Lieutenant is terrifying.
Joaquim He's awesome.
Steve He just...
Mike [Interjects.] Yeah.
Bryan [Refers to the Lieutenant getting beaten by Korra, with two earthbent pillars driving him right into a metal wall.] He gets, [Laughs.] he's like the new Zuko though. He gets smacked around [Mike laughs.] more than [Steve affirms.] anybody this season.
Joaquim Yeah, Lieutenant Get-Thrown Guy, [Steve affirms.] you should call him.
Bryan [Refers to the Lieutenant backflipping over the wall of earth that Bolin bends out from the street.] So, Joaquim always bringing some cool parkour, kinda tricking stuff into it.
Joaquim Yeah, it's alwa-you know, I think we do our due diligence with-with hiring the right people, and looking up the right reference, and-and uh, I think it's what really sets this show's choreography apart from other, you know, American productions.
Steve You guys try out every one of those moves in the studio here too.
Bryan [Laughs.] Sometimes. [Steve laughs.] Well...
Joaquim [Interjects.] Actually, we prefer...
Bryan ... with professional...
Steve I know! [Bryan affirms.] I know.
Bryan Um, yeah, and Joaquim, I mean, the second you joined the Avatar crew in uh, the second Book, you just brought such a cool dynamic sense of like posing...
Joaquim [In the background.] T-nah.
Bryan ... and staging to the action. I mean, you know, we had great, um, martial arts con-consultation and stuff, but it was also just how it was executed. I think you really leveled it up.
Joaquim That's, I mean, you, you let the kids in the candy store, right there. [Bryan, Joaquim and Steve laugh.]
Bryan [Refers to Bolin, bouncing up and down while being carried by his shirt in Naga's jaw, asking to ride on her back, punctuating each bounce with a word.] P. J.'s uh, [Steve laughs.] all his ADR here of the like...
Joaquim [Interjects.] Oh, it's incredible.
Bryan ... [Imitating Bolin.] "I want... to be... on... your back". [Joaquim and Steve laugh; refers to Bolin getting electrocuted by the Lieutenant with his kali sticks.] And then earlier, we were talking over it, but earlier when the Lieutenant was zapping him, when he was just like, [Imitates Bolin's jolted cries of pain; Joaquim, Steve and Bryan chuckle.] it was like this.
Joaquim [Brief pause; refers to Korra and Tenzin discussing the revelation of Amon's ability.] At some point, was this scene-oh, no, no, no, we had a whole other scene where they were at the park.
Bryan Oh, we did!
Joaquim And then, that got cut.
Mike Oh yeah, there was, that got cut. Yeah, [Bryan affirms.] with Ma-there was a little wrap-up scene with Mako and Bolin and Korra.
Bryan Too much wrap-up. You know, there's...
Joaquim [Interjects.] Right. It's a double wrap-up, [Mike affirms.] you can't do a double wrap-up. [Mike and Joaquim laugh.]
Bryan [Refers to Korra's disturbed and pensive response when Tenzin asks her if she's alright.] And it was weird, 'cause she was happy, and then she came here, and she was worried. [Joaquim affirms.] 'Cause she was like happy the brothers were together... and, but then she came back, and she was worrie-and, it was like, "ah, we just need her to stay in the... serious vibe."
Mike Yeah, it's just interesting when you're like in, you know, in the script phase, or even the storyboard phase. It's like, [In a mock aggressive tone.] "no! This scene has to be here, Joaquim chuckles.] definitely!" [Steve chuckles.] and then when we watch it at the end, we're like, "why do we have this scene?". [Steve and Bryan laugh.] And we-so, it's like...
Bryan Like, what do you think about...
Mike ... it doesn't happen a lot, 'cause obviously we don't have a lot o' extra animation [Laughs.] in these episodes, [Steve chuckles.] 'cause we pretty much animate it two time. But, there's always a few, you know, trims here and there we make.
Bryan It is funny, we'll fight for a scene, and, yeah, people will do all this work to draw it, and then Mike will be like, "hey, what do you think if we cut that?". You know, [Joaquim chuckles.] it's six months later, I'm like, "yeah, let's cut it". [Everyone laughs.] And it's just, you-it's-it's that problem with being precious with something, being too close to it and thinking you need it.
Mike Especially when there's so much time between writing and storyboarding, and then the final...
Bryan [Interjects.] Yeah.
Steve There must be some level of pain to let that go though, after...
Bryan [Interjects.] Naw, usually we're like, "we just have to get this down to time."
Steve Yeah, really?
Bryan [Laughs.] Yeah.
Steve Well... [Mike laughs.]

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