Bryan: Well, Mike and I are both artists so when we were doing the pilot, you know, it was pretty much we just had to do everything ourselves, and then working with the Korean animation studio. But then, I think when we went into full production; it was the directors that we really wanted to handpick some of our friends and colleagues that we've worked with.
And I think Dave Filoni was probably the first person we brought on, and he ended up directing the biggest bulk of episodes for our first season. Yeah, he was a guy who had initially turned us on to the work of Miyazaki, so, I guess it comes full circle.
Mike: Also, one of the big things was to find a really good overseas studio too. That was really important to us, so we took some trips over there, to meet with some different studios, and kind of find one that fit us. We actually use two different studios....
Bryan: .... that we can actually collaborate with.
Mike: Right. We didn't want it so that we just send the stuff over there, like a factory situation, we wanted to be creatively involved on their side of things too.
Bryan: And then also, very important, probably the first person we looked to hire was a writer that we could collaborate closely with. From very early on, we again ended up working with a colleague and a friend that we had worked with before: Aaron Ehasz. So you know, it kind of just grew out from there.... a lot, I mean, a big percentage of the crew were people we have worked with before, or people that we have gone to school with.
Bryan: Well, It's not actually for the creative development; it's for the animation production. And basically, one of the studios we use is very small.... and sort of a start up. And it basically just works out better for them, to have half of the episodes instead of the whole load.
You know a lot of animated, American, shows use more than one studio, and we kind of just alternate. And Avatar: The Last Airbender is a very demanding show.... there's a lot of scenes, there's a lot of artwork, there's a lot of detailed action.... you know, we do a lot to try and hold the standard up really high. So, it helps them too, to alternate episodes I think.
To break up the work, like that....
Bryan: Absolutely. Having to deliver one-a-week like that would be pretty crazy.... .
You mention that one of the first people that you two got to work with on the project, was the lead writer Aaron Ehasz.... Now that you're mostly through the first season, how closely do you work with him on each episode?
Bryan: Ah, very closely. We work with him on almost every story in almost every script. Mike acts as the story editor, so he's very involved on a day-to-day basis with the writing. But yeah, we're all involved in all writing aspects of the show's story.
Mike: There are definitely advantages to it. He and his professionalism too.... he's really good at developing his characters. And he makes sure that the stories we tell aren't just tricky plots, but are also character based and character driven.