michael dos santos


Too Many Cooks (GTA V Remix)
by Abstract Mode


MD: The many faces of Tenzin. Tenzin’s design is very realistic, and sometimes it’s difficult for the artists to give him exaggerated expressions in the final animation. Expression sheets like this one are provided to the animators to help bring the characters to life. 

JD: To this day I geek out over a well-executed expression sheet! These drawings aid not only the animators but also the storyboard crew and directors. Unfortunately, due to the schedule, we are not abot to generate expression sheets for every character, but usually all the main characters are given one.

Expressions by Ki-Hyun Ryu. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.



BK: I love how this always feels really realistic to me when everyone’s standing around and they look really awkward and uncomfortable and they don’t know what to do.

JdS: This scene beautifully boarded by Lauren Montgomery, too.

BK: I love seeing the emotion in her dad here.

-TLOK 3.13 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim dos Santos, & Jeremy Zuckerman


MD: I always enjoy it when TV shows jump ahead between seasons. It makes me feel like the characters and the world have a life of their own while I’m not watching. So with Book Two, we jumped ahead six months. Mako is now a cop, Asami runs Future Industries, Bolin’s trying to keep the Pro-bending dream alive, and Korra’s growing more frustrated with Tenzin’s airbending training. And with a new season come new outfits!

BK: Once the looks of the main characters are well established, I like to vary them with costume and hair changes where it makes sense. These variations often end up being production headaches, as we try to keep track of which outfit is supposed to be worn in each sequence. I am quite pleased with how Korra’s long-sleeved outfit turned out; it was meant to be a colder-weather outfit for her time back in the Southern Water Tribe. In hindsight, I wish we had just used it for all of Book two, but that was my bad call not to do so.  Korra outfit design and color by Bryan Konietzko. Below: Korra expressions by Ki-Hyun Ryu. Cleanup by Studio Pierrot. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.

JDS: Mako’s police uniform went through a couple rounds of concepts before we settled on this final design, above. Oddly enough, all the concepts had him wearing his red scarf neatly tucked into his jacket. For the record, I was all for it, but Bryan made a last-minute decision to remove it from his final design. Looking back, I suppose it would be strange if a police officer showed up at a crime scene wearing a ratty red scarf. Mako winter coat design by Bryan Konietzko. Mako police uniform design by Christie Tseng. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.


BK: So yeah, I mean honestly, I was a little worried about adding Kai just because we had so many characters. Nothing against him. And then I was a little worried-I just didn’t know because he was kind of Aang’s age and he was a little Aang-like, a little bit of a trickster. I was like, “Man, I don’t know if people are gonna like them or feel like he’s stepping on Aang’s toes or something,” but talking to the fans at comic con - man, they love Kai.

JdS: Do they like him?

BK: Yeah. I like his hair.

MDD: Yeah, he’s a cool little kid.

BK: Angie and I-we had a tough time with his design. Maybe because I was worried about him being too similiar to Aang or something and Ryu took the one Angie I had done and I don’t think we had done a good job. Ryu gave him these cool suspenders and made his hair really fun to draw.

-TLOK 3.03 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim dos Santos, Tim Hedrick, & Josh Hamiliton


365 days of FC Bayern München


Bayern’s 2006/07 squad From top left: Martin Demichelis, Daniel Van Buyten, Hasan Salihamidžić, Mehmet Scholl, Oliver Kahn, Claudio Pizarro, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Lukas Podolski, Andreas Ottl, Sebastian Deisler, Roy Makaay, Lucio, Willy Sagnol, Andreas Goerlitz, Stefan Fuerstner, Owen Hargreaves, Roque Santa Cruz, Thomas Kraft, Ali Karimi, Michael Rensing, Julio dos Santos, Valerien Ismael, Christian Lell


MDD: We really wanted to make it feel like what Korra did to save the Air Nation took a-as Tenzin says, “a great toll.” And it’s not gonna be a quick bounce back for her.

BK: At the time of this recording (this has not been released and fans haven’t seen this yet). I’m sure people are going to be very upset. I think they think we delight in having Korra go through bad stuff, but it’s not like we’re ‘heheheh’ here. Y'know, evil cackles. You need to have high stakes for these stories to resonate and to be dramatic. And like Mike said, we didn’t just want “Oh and then…” You see these action movies where people get all beat up and the next scene, they’re fine. We didn’t want that. Not only physically is she quite compromised, but emotionally especially.

JdS: That’s a really important point. You never see that. You never see the emotional toll of violence.

MDD: She’s trying to put on a brave face, but you can tell she’s in rough condition.

-TLOK 3.13 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim dos Santos, & Jeremy Zuckerman


BK: I feel like he’s archetype manly man that you tend to draw. 

JdS: He’s like the dude that when I was a 12-year-old kid drawing barbarians, “This is the coolest guy ever.”

TH: James Remar does the voice and he’s really into thinking of this as him.

MDD: He’s an awesome actor. He brings a great gravitas as Tonraq.

JdS: You totally believe he’s about to mess you up.

BK: I think I had heard that Gina Carano’s dad was in the NFL or something and she was this MMA fighter. And definitely, Korra was inspired by female MMA fighters. Joaquim and I are big MMA fans and when I had heard that her dad was this linebacker or something, that gave us the idea for Korra’s dad. It makes sense. She’s this really athletic person. One of her parents would be this big, brawny athlete-type dude but we wanted to give him this sensitivity. He’s not just this oaf who hands and fists everything. He’s a tender guy. And he really cares about his daughter. He just wants her to be happy and take care of her. 

TH: He just wants a quiet life down here in the south. 

BK: It’s not his fault he's SO handsome and buff.

.-TLOK 2.02 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim dos Santos, & Tim Hedrick


BK: Mike and I are big fans of Park-Parks and-Is it Parks and Rec? Now that I’m being recorded, I can’t remember. Parks and Rec if you’re in the know. And Aubrey Plaza is a hilarious actress who kind of reminds us - once we got to know her through recording, of Katie Matilla, our writing assistant. They have a similar humor - the deadpan style. She’s really fun. She does the voice of Eska. Brought a lot of-Basically executed it exactly like we thought. And it was funny when Mike and I met her, she didn’t know anything about the show I don’t think or Avatar. And she was like, “What does this show look like?” She had no idea even if it was 3D or 2D or super cartoony. And we took her back to one of the offices and showed her the design of Eska and she goes, “Oh. That’s exactly what I thought it would look like.” I was left completely confused.

-TLOK 2.01 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim dos Santos, & Tim Hedrick


BK: We had the teeny bopper love triangle stuff. The writers, Mike, and I, were interested in actually setting that aside now. It was fun for us for the first two seasons, but now we’re more interested in Korra and Asami just kind of getting over that. And through that process actually becoming friends and just exploring that. They didn’t let this little kind of romance thing get between them. They weren’t petty about it. For us, it’s more fun having them as friends rather than adversaries or rivals.

-TLOK 3.01 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, & Joaquim dos Santos

BK: I just wanna point out, I don’t put too much weight on awards. They’re nice to win when you win them and if you don’t-it’s fine, whatever. It’s just an award. But I am…I am chafed that Jeremy has never won an award for Avatar or Korra.

MDD: I’m with ya!

BK: It is a crime and it really doesn’t speak well to these organizations that are ignoring the artistry that you’re doing - I mean, just the level of this stuff.

JZ: Well, thank you.

-TLOK 3.13 with Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim dos Santos, & Jeremy Zuckerman

Made with SoundCloud

MD: Korra’s story in Book Two was about humans moving beyond their ordinary abilities, and becoming something extraordinary. When she loves her connection to the past Avatars and her Avatar spirit, Korra looks deep within and forms a new connection with the cosmic version of herself. In Hindu philosophy, there is a concept called atman, which is defined as the “innermost essence of each individual” or the supreme universal self.“ This is my interpretation of what Korra sees and becomes when she meditates. The giant blue cosmic Korra is a visual representation of her inner essence.

JDS: There were a couple of big animation obstacles we had to hurdle with this giant kaiju-style battle. First, the majority of the fight takes place in Yue Bay, so that means a ton of water animation, which translates to a ton more drawings for the effects animators overseas. To counter this, we tried to stage a good portion of the shots lookking up with the water offscreen (this also helped convey scale). Second was the concept that in order to truly convey the massive weight of the combatants, Korra and Unalaq would have to move more slowly than if they were normal sized. This also equates to more drawings being required of the animators, as now more in-betweens need to be drawn to ensure the slow motion looks smooth. Designs by Bryan Konietzko and Angela Song Mueller. Color by Sylvia Filcak-Blackwolf.