March 7, 2014
It may be hard to believe since Book 3 hasn’t even aired yet (SOON!), but we just had the final Korra animatic meeting this afternoon for the Book 4 series finale episode. It’s been bittersweet saying goodbye to so many amazing crew members as their teams have rolled off the production these last few weeks. Pictured here, left to right: Melchior Zwyer (director), Lauren Montgomery (supervising producer), Joaquim Dos Santos (co-executive producer), Ki-Hyun Ryu (supervising producer), me, Owen Sullivan (assistant director), and Mike. In hindsight, I wish we had lined up this shot so it looked like the Mac desktop tiger’s ears were sprouting from Mike’s head. 
P.S. Though we had the animatic meeting, that still means there’s a TON of work left to do on Book 4. That is still part of the pre-production process.

It may be hard to believe since Book 3 hasn’t even aired yet (SOON!), but we just had the final Korra animatic meeting this afternoon for the Book 4 series finale episode. It’s been bittersweet saying goodbye to so many amazing crew members as their teams have rolled off the production these last few weeks. Pictured here, left to right: Melchior Zwyer (director), Lauren Montgomery (supervising producer), Joaquim Dos Santos (co-executive producer), Ki-Hyun Ryu (supervising producer), me, Owen Sullivan (assistant director), and Mike. In hindsight, I wish we had lined up this shot so it looked like the Mac desktop tiger’s ears were sprouting from Mike’s head. 

P.S. Though we had the animatic meeting, that still means there’s a TON of work left to do on Book 4. That is still part of the pre-production process.

August 16, 2013
angelasongmueller:

View from my cube.
Bryan starting to put up some of the fan art he received yesterday at the book signing.

Back on the ATLA production, we were upstairs in the studio and over the years we covered a big wall at the top of the stairs with all sorts of fanart (you can see the before and after of this wall in the “Avatar Spirits” documentary). On the Korra production, we have been moved around the building and decentralized multiple times (I’m on my fourth office in 3.5 years), and for half of that time there was a studio-wide mandate to make things “clean and corporate.” That mandate has since passed and we’ve been encouraged to “personalize and decorate” our areas, and I think/hope I’m in the final office I’ll have on this production. After the overwhelming number of fanart gifts from you generous and talented fans at the signing last night, I decided to start another fanart wall outside of my office. Angela Mueller (character design) caught me in the act of hanging up the first pieces. Once again, THANKS!

angelasongmueller:

View from my cube.

Bryan starting to put up some of the fan art he received yesterday at the book signing.

Back on the ATLA production, we were upstairs in the studio and over the years we covered a big wall at the top of the stairs with all sorts of fanart (you can see the before and after of this wall in the “Avatar Spirits” documentary). On the Korra production, we have been moved around the building and decentralized multiple times (I’m on my fourth office in 3.5 years), and for half of that time there was a studio-wide mandate to make things “clean and corporate.” That mandate has since passed and we’ve been encouraged to “personalize and decorate” our areas, and I think/hope I’m in the final office I’ll have on this production. After the overwhelming number of fanart gifts from you generous and talented fans at the signing last night, I decided to start another fanart wall outside of my office. Angela Mueller (character design) caught me in the act of hanging up the first pieces. Once again, THANKS!

July 18, 2013
To give you a sense of just how long it takes to make animation, and how much overlap there is in our production, here is a photo from a meeting this past Monday to kick off the storyboards for the first episode of Book 4––and we’re not even finished with the last episodes of Book 2 yet! Colin Heck (seated next to Mike on the right, and blocking Ryu) is directing the Book 4 premiere episode, and he also directed the Book 2 premiere episode we are screening tomorrow at the Korra San Diego Comic-Con panel.

To give you a sense of just how long it takes to make animation, and how much overlap there is in our production, here is a photo from a meeting this past Monday to kick off the storyboards for the first episode of Book 4––and we’re not even finished with the last episodes of Book 2 yet! Colin Heck (seated next to Mike on the right, and blocking Ryu) is directing the Book 4 premiere episode, and he also directed the Book 2 premiere episode we are screening tomorrow at the Korra San Diego Comic-Con panel.

July 2, 2013
The Legend of Korra: Original Music From Book One: Composed by Jeremy Zuckerman, our first soundtrack release EVER, is now available for pre-order on iTunes. Benjamin Wynn, the other half of the Track Team, was going through old photos last night and texting me some gems. Among the good memories was this snapshot of a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jeremy Zuckerman at Ben’s workstation in the house Ben and I rented together in Burbank. As best we can figure, this is from late 2003 when Jeremy and Ben were working on the music and sound design for the pilot of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ben took this picture standing at my workstation, where Mike and I sat on my computer and took turns typing up the first treatment for Avatar about a year and a half earlier than this photo was taken.
Jeremy and Ben were both marveling at how humble their setup was when they started working on this project over ten years ago compared to their amazing studios now (here is Jeremy’s and here is Ben’s). It warms my heart to look at this photo and think about all that we have created together, and how much we have grown in our respective crafts. Congratulations again to Jeremy on this release of beautiful music! Love you, brother!

The Legend of Korra: Original Music From Book One: Composed by Jeremy Zuckerman, our first soundtrack release EVER, is now available for pre-order on iTunes. Benjamin Wynn, the other half of the Track Team, was going through old photos last night and texting me some gems. Among the good memories was this snapshot of a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Jeremy Zuckerman at Ben’s workstation in the house Ben and I rented together in Burbank. As best we can figure, this is from late 2003 when Jeremy and Ben were working on the music and sound design for the pilot of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ben took this picture standing at my workstation, where Mike and I sat on my computer and took turns typing up the first treatment for Avatar about a year and a half earlier than this photo was taken.

Jeremy and Ben were both marveling at how humble their setup was when they started working on this project over ten years ago compared to their amazing studios now (here is Jeremy’s and here is Ben’s). It warms my heart to look at this photo and think about all that we have created together, and how much we have grown in our respective crafts. Congratulations again to Jeremy on this release of beautiful music! Love you, brother!

March 10, 2013

arantanchum:

Vinny demoing some snow footsteps with a starch bag.

From Wikipedia: Foley is the reproduction of everyday sound effects which are added in post production to enhance the quality of audio for films, television, video, video games, and radio. These reproduced sounds can be anything from the swishing of clothing and footsteps to squeaky doors and breaking glass. The best foley art is so well integrated into a film that it goes unnoticed by the audience. It helps to create a sense of reality within a scene.

Aran Tanchum, our good friend and longtime foley editor (for approximately the second half of Avatar, and all of Korra), has started a Tumblr blog about the art and process of foley. On the other side of the mic is Vinny Quisetti, the “foley walker,” the person performing the sounds to match the movement in the footage. Unfortunately, Aran can’t show clips from the series, but if you are interested in filmmaking, this is a good look into some techniques and tricks of the trade.

February 20, 2013
Mike says “hmmmmmmmm” at a mixing session at Levels Audio yesterday. We have attended over 70 mixes together through the years, and we still really enjoy the process… unlike retakes.

Mike says “hmmmmmmmm” at a mixing session at Levels Audio yesterday. We have attended over 70 mixes together through the years, and we still really enjoy the process… unlike retakes.

February 6, 2013
The Reckoning. This is where Joaquim, Mike, Lauren, and I meet in Jeff’s edit bay to review the “Take 1” footage of a newly animated episode from the overseas animation studio. We assess the state of the animation and discuss how we are going to divide and conquer the retake process (calling Take 2s, Take 3s, and on), and what fixes we can do in-house. Sometimes it is a joyous occasion, sometimes it is triage…

The Reckoning. This is where Joaquim, Mike, Lauren, and I meet in Jeff’s edit bay to review the “Take 1” footage of a newly animated episode from the overseas animation studio. We assess the state of the animation and discuss how we are going to divide and conquer the retake process (calling Take 2s, Take 3s, and on), and what fixes we can do in-house. Sometimes it is a joyous occasion, sometimes it is triage…

January 20, 2013
Supervising producer, Lauren Montgomery, in her office on Friday. Only about half of her office toy collection is visible in this shot. And this is only her *office* collection. Along with our other supervising producer, Ryu Ki Hyun, and under co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren oversees the episode directors and storyboard department, which (at least on our show) is a gargantuan task. On top of all that, she is a commander in our war against retakes, a battle we always seem to be losing. For all of her efforts, we pay her in toys. Don’t tell the union.

Supervising producer, Lauren Montgomery, in her office on Friday. Only about half of her office toy collection is visible in this shot. And this is only her *office* collection. Along with our other supervising producer, Ryu Ki Hyun, and under co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren oversees the episode directors and storyboard department, which (at least on our show) is a gargantuan task. On top of all that, she is a commander in our war against retakes, a battle we always seem to be losing. For all of her efforts, we pay her in toys. Don’t tell the union.

January 20, 2013
Michael DiMartino, in his office, in front of his cool Canadian Rockies photos, leading an ADR spotting session. Mike is on Tumblr too, in case you didn’t know.

Michael DiMartino, in his office, in front of his cool Canadian Rockies photos, leading an ADR spotting session. Mike is on Tumblr too, in case you didn’t know.

January 20, 2013
Benjamin Wynn, lead sound designer on Korra and Avatar, 1/2 of The Track Team, recording artist Deru, my former roommate, in my office the other day before a music/sound spotting session.

Benjamin Wynn, lead sound designer on Korra and Avatar, 1/2 of The Track Team, recording artist Deru, my former roommate, in my office the other day before a music/sound spotting session.

January 17, 2013
In this photo (by Benjamin Wynn), I can be seen in my office attempting, as I do most days, to remove my scruffy head and replace it with a new and improved one.
I’m still trying to get fully unpacked and settled into my fourth office in under three years on Korra. It should be noted that I never got unpacked in any of the previous three offices. Hopefully this will be my last move for the duration of the production. The crew was split in two on two different floors all last year, so it is nice to have everyone in one general area. It feels more like a unified team.

In this photo (by Benjamin Wynn), I can be seen in my office attempting, as I do most days, to remove my scruffy head and replace it with a new and improved one.

I’m still trying to get fully unpacked and settled into my fourth office in under three years on Korra. It should be noted that I never got unpacked in any of the previous three offices. Hopefully this will be my last move for the duration of the production. The crew was split in two on two different floors all last year, so it is nice to have everyone in one general area. It feels more like a unified team.

January 17, 2013
After experimenting with different production models (which we frequently do, for an endless variety of reasons), we are back to an Avatar-like, robust, in-house design and storyboard crew on Korra. There is an invigorating energy around the office these days because of it, which is welcome motivation at this point in our journey to get all these episodes delivered. (Journey? Hmmm… maybe blood-soaked battle is a better way to put it.)
Joining the battle once again is veteran Avatar character designer and longtime friend, Angela Song Mueller, seen here today in her cubicle. You can find her on Tumblr and deviantart. It is great to have her back.
I am planning on doing more “behind the scenes” type posts again, like I did when I first kicked off this blog almost a year ago. They may not razzle dazzle the masses, but I think those kinds of peeks into our process are of interest and provide inspiration, at least to creative types trying to make their own art or tell their own stories, big or small. Who knows, maybe some tidbit found here will help an individual unlock the door to a truly wonderful creation that eclipses everything we have ever put out into the world.
It is possible, but mainly I got a fancy new camera so I just want to shoot pictures and post them.

After experimenting with different production models (which we frequently do, for an endless variety of reasons), we are back to an Avatar-like, robust, in-house design and storyboard crew on Korra. There is an invigorating energy around the office these days because of it, which is welcome motivation at this point in our journey to get all these episodes delivered. (Journey? Hmmm… maybe blood-soaked battle is a better way to put it.)

Joining the battle once again is veteran Avatar character designer and longtime friend, Angela Song Mueller, seen here today in her cubicle. You can find her on Tumblr and deviantart. It is great to have her back.

I am planning on doing more “behind the scenes” type posts again, like I did when I first kicked off this blog almost a year ago. They may not razzle dazzle the masses, but I think those kinds of peeks into our process are of interest and provide inspiration, at least to creative types trying to make their own art or tell their own stories, big or small. Who knows, maybe some tidbit found here will help an individual unlock the door to a truly wonderful creation that eclipses everything we have ever put out into the world.

It is possible, but mainly I got a fancy new camera so I just want to shoot pictures and post them.

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