Interview with Director Giancarlo Volpe (Part III)
Interview with Director Giancarlo Volpe (Part III)
Posted by Unbridled Joy of Flight on July 1st, 2006 @ 11:17 AM EST (308)

Here is more from Giancarlo Volpe. I'll just add that it is perfectly okay for other sites to incorporate facts from these interviews, such as the names of episode directors. We want to spread the knowledge to the fan community as whole. We only ask whole sections not be copied, but rather linked back to ASN, and that sites who incorporate these facts provide some reference and acknowledgement to ASN for the effort provided. We'll also be developing later this summer an interview page combining all the segments from this and future interviews. Thanks for viewing!

UJoF: How do you spell 'Sozen' on the scripts? As in the Fire Lord that started the war and first channeled the comet named after him? There's fan uncertainty if it's 'Sozen' or Sozin', and he hasn't yet been listed in the credits.

GV: 'Sozin' is spelled with an "i", according to the scripts.

UJoF: What is the order of production activities for Avatar? It'd assume writing is first, then storyboarding. Where do the voice actors generally do their part? How long does the Korean animating piece take (it was 6 months for TT)? What happens when the animation comes back from Korea?

GV: Avatar production begins with the script, and then the voice actors record the dialogue next. This way, the storyboard artists can listen to the voices when drawing expressions and acting. After the boards are done, they are scanned into the computer to build the animatic (You may already know what this is, but in case you don't, it's like a black and white "slide show"-style cut of the episode, complete with voices synched in. The idea is that you can watch it and get a feel for the timing and flow of the story.)

I should mention that simulaneously during all this, the design team (character, background, and prop designers) are tackling any new characters, locations, or props that will appear in the episode. For the record, props include weapons, vehicles (like the tank train) and elaborate doors (like the ones appearing in 103 and 108). All of these things need to be designed and figured out before it's shipped to Korea.

We also have several kung fu sessions per episode, where we meet with Sifu Kisu of the Harmonious Fist. He helps come up with martial arts moves to go with specific bending scenes. We video tape the whole meeting, so that both the storyboard artists and overseas animators can reference it. It's always really important to Mike and Bryan that the kung fu feel "real".

Then, the show is shipped to the Korean studios to be animated and digitally ink-and-painted. I think it takes about 5 to 6 months before we get it back. Once we get the animation back, the scenes are all cut together using the animatic as a guide and the voices are synched up. Also, at this point Ben Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman add sound effects and music.

I'm sure I'm leaving out a lot of mini steps in-between, but that's the gyst of it.

UJoF: You mentioned which episodes you will be directing for the rest of Season 2. Any word on which episodes will be done by the other directors?

210 - Me
211- Lauren MacMullen
212- Ethan Spaulding
213- Me
214- Lauren
215- Ethan
216- Me
217- Lauren
218- Ethan
219 -Me
220- Mike DiMartino

So, the season finale will be directed by none other than one of the co-creators himself. Looks to be a very exciting ending and segue into Season 3!
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