NYCC 2013 Extended Report
Here is a detailed set of notes I took while during the panel, aside from the screening of Beginnings, Part 1, where I watched pretty intently the entire time:
They opened the doors at 10:15 or so. There are large pillars in the way, but two large screens so everyone can see the panel
A Reedpop (the company that puts on the New York Comic Con) representative announced that the panel would begin, and went over the other panels in the room throughout the day.
They started playing the Korra soundtrack at 10:30 and fans became audibly excited.
At 11 they put up an image of the giveaway poster of Korra and Wan.
The panel was moderated by Megan Casey, VP of animation at Nick, who largely left the presentation of Bryan after the screening of Beginnings Part 1.
Bryan came out first. Joaquim came out next, then Janet, PJ and then Steve, as "the father of all things Avatar."
Bryan said Mike is currently in India on vacation and trying to meditate. Also, Bryan added that a monkey had just stolen his jacket. He wishes he could be here. Joaquim is Walking Dead's biggest fan of both the comic and show.
In order to recap the previous episode, The Sting, for attendees whose traveling or convention schedule prevented them from watching it, and summarized with Korra's amnesia, and added that "they're all dead," and "have been the whole time," jokingly and getting a good laugh from the crowd.
They screened the first part of Beginnings. At the episode's start there were a lot of hoots and hollering, but it was mostly silent as we watched intently, except for a few choice moments. It ended with raucous applause from the audience
Bryan asked what we thought and said Steve did a good job. He said they came up with Wan's story in 2006 during Avatar season 2, and it was animated by Mir.
Asked Janet the most memorable act of fan love, and after a fan shouted out "I love you," that all the fan art blows her away. Joaquim said they've hired 3 fan artists over the course of the show, and praised the fan art community, and encouraged more.
They made Avatar 11 years ago, and Bryan introduced the first Avatar voice actor to the first Avatar fan artist, Bryan's nephew, who was a little boy when the show premiered, and is now a 6'2" young man.
Asked what he thought of their relationship PJ said his advice was to not be in a relationship with someone like Eska.
Steve Yeun said he was a fan of Avatar before he was cast in Korra. When asked if it was intimidating to be the first avatar he said yes, and was very impressed with everything involved from the creators.
Janet's been voicing Korra for three years, and it has changed her life, improved her bending, allowed her to travel and meet fans and work with the crew, says she is grateful and happy. Bryan says Janet is currently working on recording Book 4.
PJ is asked about going between dramatic and comedic roles. He says its great to do both, the drama helps him do comedy honesty and comedy helps drama by making him want to experiment and do lines differently.
Steve and PJ were already friends before Steve came to work on Korra. Steve had done very minor video game voice work (choking mostly) and this is his first animated show
He said it was intimidating, different and great to work with Andrea. He says he was terrified by watching the episode with the fans here.
Janet's favorite PJ line is when he says with the running/galloping rhythm of riding Naga "I want - to be - on - your back" in episode 103.
ADR (Dialogue Replacement) often includes improv, and always does from PJ.
PJ's favorite line of his is from the first season when asked of they were together Korra says "you implied it."
Asked what he thought of being an animated character, but Steve has a hard time watching the show and separating himself from it and thinking about it, it is mostly horrifying.
Bryan says the episode was inspired by Spirited Away.
The end of the panel is about how the show is made step by step with a scene from episode 10 of this season.
First, writing with a premise, outline and script. They work together in a room and write up notes on the walls to create a short premise.
Then the outline becomes a script, with several drafts along the way.
Then the cast comes in and records together when they can, but sometimes record on different locations and times.
The scene includes a spirit, Jinora and Korra, the spirit voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
Design: Characters, prop and background, even bit part spirits or characters, and as the head of the design, Bryan makes notes and changes and revisions and shows a groundhog-meerkat animal, which loves because they're so similar.
Story boarding: Joaquim is in charge of it. Studio Mir did this scenes story boarding.
A meerkat scolds Korra while she approaches Jinora and a bunch of butterflies.
There are many revisions.
Then they use the voice recordings along with the storyboards to see how it works, and look at timing.
Animatics: Final color models and a tight, clear background.
Image Boards: They then use detailed image boards to plan shadows and lighting.
Layout: They enlarge and clean up the storyboards adding detail and making everything on model.
Key Animation: The average episode of Korra has 1500 drawings with all the in betweens. Final colors are then added to the animation.
Sound Design: Foley Artists then add the effects, and then composer Jeremy Zuckerman adding the score then there is sound mix and finally color corrections
The scene of Jinora and Korra is of the two of them Exploring the spirit world, with a butterfly like spirit and the meerkat/prairie dogs.
PJ asked us to give it up for Bryan and Joaquim and Bryan thanked us for coming.
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