SDCC 2014 Avatar the Last Airbender: Beginning and Beyond Fan Panel
Panelists: Elizabeth Furr, Angela Song Mueller, Josh Hamilton, Gene Luen Yang, and Jessie Flower. Martial arts demonstrations by Sifu Kisu and Sifu Manuel Rodriguez. Moderated by Avatar_Mom.
The transcript was done using the recording provided by Ryan Harvey on YouTube.
I've left out the 'ums', 'uhs', and odd moments of minor verbal stumbling for the sake of clarity. Occasionally, there are moments when a speaker is inaudible either due to moving away from their microphone, the crowd's cheers, a combination of both or that the speaker is mumbling/talking too fast to be heard. Those moments will be indicated with [inaudible].
(Recording opens up to the audience applauding for panelists.)
Avatar_Mom: And we're starting on time so it's even better, yay. Okay so, we do have a beautiful line up for you, as usual. One person that could not make it was Kevin Coppa. And I don't know if you're familiar with Kevin, he's the creator of the Puppetbenders. Okay... but he did send along this really awesome video we're gonna show you and he produced a video years ago here at SDCC. And it included a lot of the fans that were here and it was never shown. And so you're gonna get to see that today as well.
Avatar_Mom: So, we're gonna start the panel with that... so everybody, Kevin Coppa.
(A video plays on the screen.)
Kevin: Hi everyone, I'm Kevin Coppa, creator of the Puppetbenders from the way old YouTube days and the recent Legend of Korra Book 1 DVD. I really wanted to be there for the panel in person. I know my name is on the list but I really just couldn't at the last minute. Regardless, I wanted to make this video because I thought it would be fun to send along a Puppetbender clip that I never got to post to YouTube. And to help me introduce it, I've asked (a puppet Zuko enters the frame) somebody along (the audience squees) to do just that.
Puppet Zuko: Yeah... whatever, stick boy. Tsk, nobody cares. Look, I got better ways to spend my ever shrinking screen time. (a business presentation poster slides into screen) Alright, Avatar_Mom, are you listening? I just discovered an incredible business model for all future conventions and panels. (a Paypal donation logo enters the screen, clearly making fun of DashCon 2014) First, tell everyone here that the panel is cancelled and all attendees have to leave unless they could donate $17,000 to keep it going.
Kevin: Oh come on, this is not what I asked you to do.
Puppet Zuko: Next, tell them Jessie Flower has cancelled. And as a way of apologizing to the people who waited longest in line, offer them an extra hour in an inflatable ball pit.
Kevin: Oh no, stop. Stop. Everything stops, pictures down. Look, no. Gosh. Now I gotta put the disclaimer up, great. (sighs) Zuko come on, you've been a good guy, a good character for so long now why regress to a villain all of a sudden?
Puppet Zuko: Don't try to make me feel guilty. Tsk. Look, I bet you these Korra kids don't even know who I am. Oh here, let me help you. (the puppet bends down and stands up with a fake white beard on its face) Alright, here I am with a white beard. Whoo, geezer Zuko from Korra. Yay. Answer me this, how come Sokka got to look all buff and awesome in the flashback scenes? Whereas I get the Pediasure and wrinkle cream treatment, huh? Thanks so much. Guess I'll go drink my warm milk while you show off home movies you forgot were on your hard drive. (puppet Zuko walks away)
Kevin: You still technically introed the video clip, that means I win.
Puppet Zuko: (off-screen) Whatever.
Kevin: Okay, to set this clip up, I need you to go back in time with me to 2012. Back when the Lonely Island released Threw It On The Ground and it was still relevant to reference. I took a couple of verses from the song, I reworked them Weird Al style, and then I recruited some cosplayers from comic con that year actually, to star in the video with me. So, hopefully you guys are back again all these years later to see yourselves on screen for the first time. So without taking up any more time, please enjoy this lost, super short Puppetbenders clip. Have a great time at comic con, and stay away from any panels that offer time for you in a ball pit.
(A Puppetbender clip begins to play and we see Puppet Aang in a recording booth. Throughout the clip, the scenes switch between Aang in a recording booth as well as ATLA & TLOK cosplayers at SDCC.)
Puppet Aang: I was walking through the halls of Comic Con... When some fans [inaudible] rushed me with their costumes on. "Would you autograph these pictures for us please?" Man, those pics are of me as a little kid! I threw them in the airrr! I ain't your little child, hero. I'm an adult. Maaan, I got a beard now, Avatar fan.
(Puppet Zuko is in the recording booth now and the scene switches between a fangirl showing puppet Zuko a picture on her phone and the booth itself.)
Puppet Zuko: I'm just chillin' when this fangirl comes up to me and says, "I got a photo of your grandson from Korra. He's the backdrop on my cell. He's just so dreamy and he looks just like you. Here, see."
(It's a picture of Dev Patel as Zuko from the live action movie and the music stops with a scratch. The puppet slaps the phone off the girl's hands onto the concrete pavement.)
Puppet Zuko: I burned it to the ground!!! (puppet Zuko firebends at the phone) Girl, that ain't my grandson! Ugh, you gotta be kidding! Man, that's the punk from the movie we don't talk about, got it?
(The video ends with a picture of Aang, Sokka, and Toph as themselves in the ATLA series and the words "DEAD" are on their pictures. Only images of Zuko and Katara in their elder years are shown at the bottom with the words "Zutara Lived". The audience laughs.)
Avatar_Mom: (chuckles) So some of you may have seen your faces in that video and if you're here, thank you so much for all of your support in helping Kevin with that video. I know it was a treat for him to do. And again, he's really sorry he couldn't be here but he loves everybody so much. Okay. So now that you guys are all settled and you had your little dose of Zutara... (someone whoops in the audience and applauds) We're gonna introduce our panelists. We always have a fan artist or a fan writer because this is a fan panel. And when Kevin and I first started this, we wanted to always marry the alumni of Avatar with the fandom in some way. Because we just want to keep the celebration of the Legacy of the story going. And so we introduce to you today Elizabeth Furr.
(The audience claps and Elizabeth gives a wave. The powerpoint presentation now has a slide with her name and Amira Ink on it.)
Avatar_Mom: So Elizabeth is one of our fan artists, she's been in the community for a really long time. What, a decade almost now?
Avatar_Mom: Yeah, about a decade. And so we're gonna show you some of her art and she's gonna explain what she's been up to and her history.
Elizabeth: Okay, hi everybody, I am Elizabeth Furr, also Amira Elizabeth, Amira Ink. So, I'm really excited to be here and this is my 7th comic con so... (the crowd claps) I am so excited to be here and be in front of you guys.
Audience: We know. [inaudible]
Avatar_Mom: I know you are very helpful, thank you.
Elizabeth: So being a part of this fandom has meant so much to me and being an artist, (the powerpoint slides begin to showcase her various ATLA & TLOK artworks) and a fan artist has meant so much to me and this has really opened up a lot of doors for me. I teach digital classes in my community, both for teens and- I teach digital classes in graphic design for business and entrepreneurs. I also am right now, I just started my own company about two years ago for illustration and graphic design. Right out of my house, part time so I'm really happy to be like that to have that going. And I wouldn't have had- I wouldn't be able to do that, I don't think without the Avatar fan art and things that I've been doing to- be able to do those things. And these are some of my images and some of my arts that I've done. I'm really excited to show you guys some of the things that I've been working on recently and over the years.
Avatar_Mom: She was actually a part of the PixelDrip Gallery Show. I don't know if any of you knew about that. PixelDrip did this wonderful gallery show for fan art for Korra. It was the art show Deal With It, did you guys hear about that at all? So, some of her images were within that show, we're gonna show you this now. Actually, Angela Song Mueller had a piece of it too, am I correct? Yes. What was the experience like at PixelDrip?
Elizabeth: Oh my goodness. Well, I submitted the two images to PixelDrip and then I was... I got a chance to go out there to LA to meet, to interact with the show and it was amazing. There were so many talented pieces that were being shown and just to interact with the fans and everybody, it was just- it was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I just love being a part of it and I love sharing the opportunity with the fans, with the creators, with staff that ended up coming. It was just- I was on a cloud the whole time. (laughs) So it was just an amazing experience and [inaudible]
Avatar_Mom: Thank you, that was awesome. She has done a lot over the years with Lin, Lin is her favorite character. So if you ever go to her website, you're gonna see a lot of Lin love. Which right now, everyone seems to have. So definitely, check out her Amira Ink. And she's all over the place on the Internet. If you just look up Amira Ink, you'll find her images. Our next panelist is Angela Song Mueller.
(Anglea gives a wave and the audience applauds.)
Angela: Hi guys.
(The powerpoint slide switches to Angela's content and showcases some of her character artwork for the shows.)
Avatar_Mom: Anything you wanna say? Tell us about yourself.
Angela: Well yeah. Equally, I'm so excited to be here. I know Avatar_Mom's been trying to get me- been asking me for a few years. This is actually Josh and I, our first time back to comic con in about 7 years. So we're really excited to see the fans and we got to go to the Korra panel which we were very excited for and- But yeah, it was just- it's been really fun experience to come back and see all the cosplay and people remember the characters, and there's just as many like Avatar you know, I think cosplays, I see Korra so it's kind of- see that it's still just as important to people. You know, it's been off the air for a few years and the fandom still lives on, I should say right now. But yeah,-
Avatar_Mom: You started as a character designer in Avatar: The Last Airbender. You guys know this.
Angela: Yes. Yeah, I came on back in around two thousand and... oh my gosh, three I think? I came on as a character designer. Or actually, I started out as a layout artist on Avatar: The Last Airbender and then they switched me over at the middle of Season 1 to be a character designer. And I've been working with Mike and Bryan pretty much ever since and through the rest of the series and then took a little break, and then when Korra came back, and they decided to bring on the full team of people back in for Book 2 of Korra. I was kind of called back in and [inaudible]
Avatar_Mom: See, that's why I've been begging her to come here for so long. She's pretty much been with Avatar since it was born. And sort of like raised her art along with it.
Avatar_Mom: Thank you so much for coming here today. And then, to her left is Josh Hamilton, who... (the audience applauds) Who's been a writer for Avatar: The Last Airbender and now Korra.
(The powerpoint switches to Josh's name and showcases screenshots of the episodes he has written.)
Josh: Yeah, hello? I am like, hi I'm nervous [inaudible] whatever. This is so awesome. I can't stop looking at Bumi. I remember like coming up at midnight and we're like working in the writers room and we're like, trying to come up with like, Bumi's you know, name and what he's gonna look like and now he's like sitting 5 rows back. That was like 8 years ago. So my name's Josh Hamilton, I was- I started on Avatar like 2003, 2004 in- I was a writer's assistant and the only people there was like Mike and Bryan, Kisu. I remember getting lunch for Kisu one time. (chuckles) Years later, I started writing... my first episode was "The Cave of Two Lovers" which people were singing the song today. (the crowd erupts in cheers and applause) It's just- so awesome to hear. Yeah I started writing as a staff writer and through there, into the series and when Korra came back- When Korra came back on the air, they asked me to join and it was definitely- I jumped at the chance and it's been super awesome and yesterday we got to like, watch an episode of Korra with like, 5000 people. Maybe some of you guys were there (the audience cheers) and it was like, the best experience ever. Anyway, I'm just rambling now so... that's me. (chuckles)
Avatar_Mom: I'm sorry, there's a lot going on. And then, thank you again for coming, Gene Luen Yang. He's been here like, three times now is it then?
Gene: I think this is my third.
(The powerpoint slide changes to Gene's name and features some of his works.)
Avatar_Mom: Yeah this is the third time and he's always really busy at comic con so we really appreciate you stopping by.
Gene: Nonono, I wouldn't miss this. This is crazy. Yeah.
(The audience whoops and claps.)
Gene: [inaudible] Thank you. So we-
Avatar_Mom: So- [inaudible]
Gene: So the corner of the Avatar World universe I'm a part of is very very very small. I'm part of the writing team that works on the comic books. (the audience whoops) When- thanks. When the show was going on, you know, like everybody else, I was a fan, (to Angela and Josh) I was a huge fan. I love what you guys did. Amazing, it was mind-blowing. I thought it was the best, I still think it's the best American produced animated show ever in existence. (the crowd cheers in agreement)
Gene: I would actually bet my entire personal fortune that it will remain that way for about a hundred years at least. Give it another century before another show rivals it. But- you know- I think life is just crazy because when I watched the finale, and Zuko goes into the prison and goes 'What happened to my mother?!' You know like everybody else, I just freaked out so tell me! Tell me what happened? And then to think that five years later, I would be part of the team that would tell that story. It's just an amazing thing. (crowd applauds again) So, thank you, for having me.
Avatar_Mom: Okay, one of the other things we tried to do, is we try to bring some of the voice actor talent to the fan panel. And we've been very lucky in the past to have Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, Dante Basco and today, we have Jessie Flower.
(The crowd goes wild as the power point slide features Jessie's name as the voice of Toph. Various character images of whom she voices is displayed as well.)
Jessie: Hi guys. Oh. Is this on? Check, check. There we go. Okay, thank you guys for all coming out to one of the earlier panels of the day. This is my first comic con and I decided to do this costume the day before I came and it was done in four and half hours so it's not perfect. (the crowd claps) But I just wanted to throw something together. So I joined the lovely Avatar crew around 2005 in the second season. I think it's the sixth episode if I'm correct. Before that I played the character of Meng and I've just been kind of going on since then. I think I stopped- I think my freshman or 8th grade or freshmen year? I don't know, I'm going on my second year of college now so it's been a long time. But I am super exicted that everyone still loves Avatar 'cos sometimes I'm worried that people are gonna be like you know fade off and just be obssessed with Korra and I'm like, no come back and still like Avatar: The Last Airbender- but you guys are still here and awesome so, thank you so much.
(The powerpoint slide features a picture of Melon Lord.)
Audience: Melon Lord!
Jessie: Am I supposed to do the line now? Is it? Is this the time? Okay. (pulls off the microphone from its mic stand) I'll stand.
(The crowd laughs and applauds as Jessie gets onto her chair to step onto the table.)
Jessie: I am not Toph, I am Melon Lord! Muahahahaha!
(The audience cheers and claps as Jessie gets down from the table.)
Jessie: I won't do it again. Sorry. I was never one for rules anyway.
Josh: You almost got in trouble for that.
Avatar_Mom: That's the first time anyone has stood on a panel table. (there's laughter again) Okay, another thing we do with our panelists is- I don't know if you guys have read any- all of the extended universe stories through Dark Horse comics? We usually do this really awesome thing where we do a live reading with our panelists and our voice actor. But before we do that, we're gonna do something else. We're gonna give you a treat. We're going to show you a demonstration with Sifu Kisu and Sifu Manuel. And so they're here today. Oh and your name is Joshua. And Sifu Manuel's son Joshua. He's going to assist him and Jessie's actually gonna learn a thing or two as well. So she's gonna step off stage, over by the screen and they're going to show you some beautiful moving of bending especially the art that helps form The Blind Bandit's movements. Now that's Sifu Manuel's specialty. So if you two can rise and go over and join Jessie on the other side of the stage. (Jessie, Sifu Manuel, his son, and a vounteer dressed as the Cabbage Merchant walk over to the area in front of the screen) I also have a young martial artist that's supposed to come up and help us. If you were given ticket that has a little martial artist on it, could you come up? Where are you?
Cabbage Merchant: Oh, here they come.
(Sifu Manuel begins to do The Blind Bandit pose and Jessie mimics him. He adjusts her shoulders and arms just a bit. His son stands on the other side of Jessie, flanking her slightly.)
Sifu Manuel: (brings arms in) Pull in. (moves arms in a circle) And straight. (punches a fist out and moves arms in a circular fashion again before shooting his fingers out) Finger strike. (brings arms in and hunches over slightly) Come in. (stamps one foot on the ground) Stomp. (brings the other leg in and pushes both fists outwards) Strike. (gives a thumbs up to Jessie) Good.
Jessie: Thanks! Cool, okay. So we do it again?
Sifu Manuel: Yeah, sure.
Sifu Manuel: (crosses his arms together) So come in. (brings his arms in before gesturing his hands out on both sides) This is called The Beggar's Hand.
Sifu Manuel: Okay, Begger's Hand to (brings his left arm down and right hand upwards in a circular motion) Rolling Phoenix Side punch.
Sifu Manuel: (adjusts Jessie's fingers) Knuckle up. There we go. Like that, you hit with the knuckle.
Sifu Manuel: Okay. (brings arms in and hunches over slightly) Pull in. (stamps one foot on the ground and brings the other leg in and pushes both fists outwards) Strike.
Fire Marshal: Fans, please don't stand in the middle aisle. [inaudible]
Sifu Manuel: Cool?
Sifu Manuel: And then now. (does three quick rolling punches) Three. (walks over to Jessie and puts a palm out in front of her) Hit my hand, go. (Jessie does the rolling punches) That's it. Up there. There you go. (returns back to his stance and does the rolling punch) One, two, three. Good. (drops his hands and pulls them up to do the Beggar's Hand) And palms out. Beggar's Hand again.
Joshua: (to Jessie) Elbows in. (Jessie brings her elbows inwards)
Sifu Manuel: There you go. And that's for catching stuff. (demonstrates the throwing motion with his hand) She would often in the series would throw. That's it. Three fingers. There we go. (puts Jessie's hand on his face and pretends to scream in pain) Ahhh. (audience chuckles) Right there. Good?
Sifu Manuel: Good. And the Phoenix Side Fist again. (punches both arms out) One. (brings his hands back to his abdomen) Pull in. (thrusts both palms out) Fire. (rotates his palms) Twist the butterfly. (brings his hands back in) Pull back. (thrusts palms out again) Fire. Is she doing great?
Audience: Yeah!! (applauds)
Sifu Manuel: And then Sifu Kisu's gonna get up and demonstrate some waterbending.
(The audience claps again and Sifu Kisu walks up.)
Sifu Kisu: Do I have a volunteer? (a little girl walks up to Kisu) Are you ready?
(Someone's phone goes off, playing one of the Portal tunes as their ring tone and the Cabbage Merchant dances. Sifu Kisu stands with his feet apart at shoulder width and brings both hands up to commence the tai chi form.)
Cabbage Merchant: (commenting on his dancing) I'm not really good at this. (brings the microphone to Kisu)
Sifu Kisu: Hi. Everyone was talking about their involvement with the show? I first became involved with Avatar in 2002. Before there was even an Avatar. Bryan Konietzko was my student. And we used to train in my backyard and we were talking about you know, all the cool things that were going to be on Avatar and the rest is history. Thanks for having me here today.
(The audience claps and cheers. Sifu Kisu does the commencement movement again before moving his arms to hold an imaginary ball between his hands. He brings one leg in as well.)
Sifu Kisu: So this is waterbending.
(He extends his leg and does the 'parting the wild horse's mane' movement followed by the 'grasp sparrow's tail' movement. He repeats the motion on the right side too before he 'closes' the stance and ends the demonstration to much applause.)
Cabbage Merchant: (gives a small token to the little girl) You can keep this. Alright, thank you.
Avatar_Mom: You can do one more if you want to. You have time for one more.
Sifu Manuel: [inaudible]
Sifu Manuel: [inaudible] demonstrate the Blizzard Hand. Where many of the movements for Toph came out of. (speaks into the microphone) Oh it's okay. My son will demonstrate Blizzard Hands. Where many of the movements of Toph came from. It's a form of Southern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. We practice the Chu-Ka branch.
(Joshua begins to demonstrate a very intricate form of Blizzard Hands and they are reminiscent of Toph's bending movements in the show. He 'closes' his stance and gives a kung fu salute to the audience who applaud and cheer with praise. They then return back to their seats.)
Cabbage Merchant: Glad the building didn't fall down.
Avatar_Mom: I'm sorry, I have goosebumps still. I apologize. Okay, so now we're gonna get to the part where we're actually gonna do a live reading. So, Dark Horse comics has been publishing the extended universe for quite some time now and we're now on a volume that is a story about Toph. The first volume is called The Rift where if you haven't read it yet, I'm really sorry, you're gonna get spoiled a little bit. But we're just gonna drop down in the middle, just really to continue [inaudible] so maybe it'll confuse you enough that maybe it won't be a spoiler? I don't know. But we're gonna read a small part with Jessie today and I'm actually gonna quickly show her where she needs to read so we can start. And then if you were chosen as one of the readers to join us, and you have a little reader ticket, will you come and come read with us? Where are you? Where is my reader? Here we go. So we're gonna let him come on up.
(The audience waits and applauds for the readers.)
Cabbage Merchant: I like how it always takes that one person to start clapping. Everyone is just (does a quiet posture) and then the other person over there is 'OH YEAH!!!' (claps crazily)
(Avatar_Mom starts to brief the readers with their comics.)
Cabbage Merchant: (laughs) I'm geeking out up here.
Avatar_Mom: And you have to forgive me, I'm not a voice actor so... reading for Katara is gonna- It's not going to be as good as Mae was last year. Okay, so we're gonna be reading from page 54 and the 60th. You can see the panels a little bit up on the screen and I know you can't read them really well. But they're as big as they're gonna get but we're gonna go ahead and start reading now. Sokka?
Cabbage Merchant: (squees) That's me! (speaks at Sokka) What is that?!
Gene: (reading as Satoru) The forklift?
Cabbage Merchant: Mind if I give it a spin?
Avatar_Mom: Sokka, don't bother him! He's trying to work!
Gene: You know, the biggest deposit of crystals outside of Ba Sing Se is right here, beneath our feet!
Cabbage Merchant: Rrr. (does the humming of a forklift)
Gene: That's what most of our current operation focuses on, but there are so many other resources we're gearing up to extract! We just have to figure out how to do it. And we will. Like I said, this is the future.
Jessie: I'm impressed! The whole place ticks and hums like the inside of a clock.
Cabbage Merchant: Rrr. Hey! How fast can this thing go? Rrr.
Gene: I'm not sure. It's not really built for speed. It's more-
Cabbage Merchant: Rrr. POP! (the audience laughs) Oops, sorry about that.
Gene: No, it's not your fault. I'm still tinkering with the design.
Avatar_Mom: He's- (chuckles) Sorry. He's just being nice, you know. It's all your fault.
Cabbage Merchant: I know.
Jessie: You built this?
Gene: Yeah. Tsk tsk. (sigh) I'm really sorry, but I'm gonna need some time to get this up and running again. I'll ask one of the employees to finish your tour- (misreads and repeats again) to finish the tour with you. They can show you the next building, where the crystals are graded and cut.
Jessie: Step aside. Satoru... this engine... I can feel it. Every part is precisely crafted- even the parts that nobody will ever see.
Gene: Nobody but you, you mean.
Cabbage Merchant: (mimics Toph fixing the engine and closing the hood) Rrreehhh. Clank.
Gene: That was amazing.
Jessie: No sweat. Even my most novice metalbending students could do that.
Gene: Your students?
Jessie: I run a metalbending school.
Gene: Toph Beifong, is there no end to your amazingness?
Cabbage Merchant: Aww. (the audience laughs)
Gene: Flying ferrets! I've got an idea! What if you and your students came here every now and then, to help out with the machines?
Jessie: The Beifong Metalbending Academy isn't far from here. We're just outside of Yu Dao.
Gene: That's where my Uncle and his business partner are right now, meeting with the city's new government! They want to build a railroad.
Jessie: To connect there to here.
Gene: Of course, we'd pay you and your students for your time.
Jessie: No. They're students, not employees. But you could sponsor a new building for us.
Gene: I think my Uncle would be open to that. It would be like a... a partnership between the refinery and the school.
Jessie: Satoru, I would love to be in a partnership with you- I mean, the refinery. (the audience laughs)
Avatar_Mom: You can go onto page 60.
Cabbage Merchant: Okay, great. I was really sad if we were going to skip this. Is it just me, or is there some serious oogie-osity going on over there?
(The audience bursts into laughter.)
Avatar_Mom: I think it's sweet! We almost never get to see Toph's softer side.
Cabbage Merchant: Toph's softer side gives me the oogies.
Avatar_Mom: (reading as an Air Acolyte) Avatar Aang, is it happening again? And then we're gonna end there 'cos we don't want to spoil you too much.
Cabbage Merchant: Oh wait, no.
Avatar_Mom: Thank you so much!
Cabbage Merchant: We gotta keep going.
(There's applause and Avatar_Mom goes up the young boy who is supposed to read as Aang.)
Avatar_Mom: Oh yeah. No it's okay, have a seat. Okay.
Cabbage Merchant: We lied.
Avatar_Mom: I actually made a mistake. Okay, so we're actually read a few more pages because I thought Aang was on the other page. I'm gonna let him read a small paragraph so we're gonna go on to- a little bit of a spoiler. So, I don't have the actual slide for it so, it won't spoil you too much.
Cabbage Merchant: You would have to use your imaginations.
Aang's reader: Yangchen, you- what are you showing me? Is this what happened already... or what's going to happen?
Avatar_Mom: Thank you so much.
Cabbage Merchant: Oh, yeah!
(The crowd claps once again.)
Avatar_Mom: Yeah, sometimes when technical things happen- 'cos I really try not to spoiler anybody 'cos I know everyone's really sensitive about spoilers and I kind of had a little snafu so I apologize. But our reader was really awesome so thank him, the reader!
(Everyone applauds for the boy.)
Avatar_Mom: Before we go on to the Q&A, we're gonna to do a cosplay contest. Usually, I try to do it at the end. But we're gonna do it early this time. So if you were chosen, you have a ticket, could you come up very carefully and then line up according to your number? 'Cos you should have a number on your ticket. And just make your way to the front and we're gonna line up at the front.
Cabbage Merchant: Right, so number 1 will be right here. Yeah, we kinda angle it so maybe- Number 1... (the cosplayers walk up to the front) One's here, so two... three. Four, five, six. Take a step. Oh, okay.
Avatar_Mom: If you're with any of these cosplayers, or if you're a parent, or a guardian, or just really enthusiastic fan, please stay in your seats for photos. We have to keep the aisles clear in case of emergency and we want to make the fire marshal super happy all the time. (the crowd chuckles) Okay, is everybody lined up? Alright so, because you have tickets that have numbers, we kind of need to see you a little bit so kind of swing out a little bit.
Cabbage Merchant: Okay, I'm just gonna ask you. (the cosplayers step out a little) Nonono, one through five-ish can stay so-
Avatar_Mom: Yeah, we wanna make sure you're in numerical order. I'm sorry we're making this so difficult for you.
Cabbage Merchant: So that you guys can step a little bit more so they can see you clearly.
Avatar_Mom: Okay and so we can get a really good look at you. Maybe we should bring them out one at a time and then go back into the line. (cosplayer #1 dressed as Fire Nation Toph steps forward) And tell us what your cosplay is.
(The crowd cheers.)
Cosplayer #1: I'm Natalie-
Avatar_Mom: Yeah, come turn around and look at us so we can see you 'cos we're the ones that are gonna judge you.
Cosplayer #1: I'm Natalie and I'm cosplaying as Toph.
(The audience whoops and claps.)
Cabbage Merchant: Let them [inaudible] Alright.
Avatar_Mom: Victor? Victor, what number was she?
Cabbage Merchant: Oh, number 1. We're going 1 through.
(Cosplayer #2 dressed as Aang pretending to be an old man steps up.)
Cosplayer #2: Wha- should I say my name?
Cabbage Merchant: Mmm hmm.
Cosplayer #2: I'm Tyler and name's (speaks in an old man's voice) Bonzu Pipinpadaloxicopolis, the Third!!!
(The audience cheers and whoops.)
Cabbage Merchant: (to cosplayer #3 dressed as Raava) If you can maneuver?
Cosplayer #3: Yes.
Cabbage Merchant: I'm not sure where you face is.
Cosplayer #3: It's right here. Hi. I'm Catherine and I'm cosplaying as Raava.
(The crowd applauds and cosplayer #3 returns back in line and cosplayer #4 dressed as Nuktuk steps forth.)
Cosplayer #4: My name's Wesley and I'm Nuktuk, Hero of the South!
(He flexes his arms and returns back in line as the audience cheers. Cosplayer #5 dressed as General Iroh II steps up.)
Cosplayer #5: Hi, I'm Kevin and I'm cosplaying as General Iroh.
(The crowd cheers and claps. Kevin steps back in line and cosplayer #6 dressed as a humanized Raava steps forth.)
Cosplayer #6: Hi, my name is Stephanie and I'm cosplaying as Raava.
(The audience claps and she returns back to the line. Cosplayer #7 dressed as Appa steps up.)
Cabbage Merchant: Who picked this guy?
(The crowd chuckles.)
Cosplayer #7: Hello, I'm Alvin and I'm cosplaying as Aang cosplaying as... Appa. (chuckles)
(The crowd laughs again and applauds for him. Alvin returns back to the line and cosplayer #8 dressed as Korra steps forward.)
Cosplayer #8: Hi, I'm Emma and I'm cosplaying as Korra.
(She flexes her biceps and returns back to line with applause. Cosplayer #9 dressed as Fire Nation Katara steps up.)
Cosplayer #9: Hi, I'm Lucia and I'm cosplaying as Katara.
(She bows and the crowd claps. Cosplayer #10 dressed as Asami with the arm paddings step forth.)
Cosplayer #10: Hi I'm Alina and I'm cosplaying as Asami.
(The crowd cheers and applauds.)
Avatar_Mom: So now the judges are going to... embark on a very difficult job of actually judging you. And so they have sheets in front of them. They're gonna keep looking at you so stay put for just a minute. And then I'm gonna dismiss you and you're gonna go back to your seat in a few minutes. Aang... And then once you're seated, we're just gonna go on to the next part of the panel and they're gonna judge you, we're gonna tabulate and before the end of the panel we're gonna bring the 3 winners up. So go ahead and judge.
(The panelists whisper and discuss about their choices while the audience also mumble amongst themselves.)
Avatar_Mom: Do you all have sheets? (walks towards Jessie) Do you have a sheet? You can [inaudible] or you can have your own personal preference. And what you're gonna do is the number [inaudible]
Jessie: Yep. Yeah.
Cabbage Merchant: Just to reminder the judges, I'm not a part of the competition. Thank you though.
(Everyone starts laughing.)
Gene: Can you hold up your numbers again?
Avatar_Mom: Yeah, hold up your numbers and you can keep those numbers, I made them.
(There is laughter again.)
Avatar_Mom: I'm a mom, I'm crafty like that. (chuckles)
(There is more silence as the judges talk amongst themselves.)
Avatar_Mom: And yeah, if you have a reader ticket and the martial art ticket, you can keep that as well. That's yours, it's a souvenir, okay?
(There is silence again as the judges continue to discuss.)
Cabbage Merchant: What would the Avatar equivalent of the Jeopardy theme be?
(Victor starts to humor everybody by singing the theme.)
Someone in the audience: My cabbages!
Cabbage Merchant: Where are my cabbages?
Someone else in the audience: Where are your cabbages? [inaudible]
Cabbage Merchant: (comically points to one cosplayers dressed as one of the main Gaang characters) So there's a reason I don't like you.
Avatar_Mom: I would have totally added Jessie as a cosplayer contestant but she would have easily blown everybody away with her [inaudible] cosplay. That's a lot of competition to be against.
Cabbage Merchant: For those of you who didn't get a ticket for the cosplay, we're really sorry, there's so many awesome outfits out there that we can't get everybody up here. We don't have the time for that but we should probably mention now there's a cosplay gathering near the [inaudible] zone. I can do my beautiful voice. Cosplay meetup, 11.30. So right after the panel ends at the rest area outside B20 which is down the stairs and a la derecha. To the right. Yeah.
(The panelists and Avatar_Mom continue to discuss.)
Cabbage Merchant: I'm being told to juggle the cabbages. I only have two so, that's not gonna happen.
(Avatar_Mom takes the votes off-stage.)
Cabbage Merchant: Alright so we'll be tallying those up and continue on in just a moment. Who here has seen the Book 1 bonus for Korra? The Puppetbenders video?
Avatar_Mom: Okay, sorry about that. Everyone's taking selfies. Okay, you guys can now sit down. Thank you for using your stamina to stand up here as long as you had to in your cosplays. They're all beautiful and oh my gosh, I'm in love with so many of them. So go ahead and have a seat and we're gonna call up the winners a little bit later in the show. (the cosplayers begin to disperse) And so now we're basically gonna open up the panel for a Q&A. Now, we do have a mic that's in the middle and I do have a gentleman. Where is my gentleman? (points to the Cabbage Merchant) This is Victor, he's also known as the Cabbage Merchant. He's gonna help line up a few people right in the middle here. You see that microphone in the middle? (Victor runs to the middle of the room to help with the microphone) So we can do a Q&A. So if you have a question, come up to the middle aisle, get in line nicely, no pushing, shoving. And you know, try to be, try to be really respectful. Don't ask any questions like who do you ship? (the audience laughs) Don't ask for spoilers. Definitely no spoilers. But yeah, think about the things you wanted to know about their past, their histories. What they're gonna be doing in the future, stuff like that.
Fan #1: I don't know, well it's specifically directed towards Gene but I don't know, the whole panel could theoratically answer this. So we've seen a lot of development in how the back story of spirits and stuff throughout Legend of Korra and I know that the comics have gone into a little bit. Will we see information that we learned in Legend of Korra in the comics? You know, expanding that universe together or will they keep this kind of separate route they have now?
Gene: So you're asking how much of Korra's gonna bleed into the comics?
Fan #1: Yes. Yeah.
Gene: Well, the comics- You know, they're set in between those- they're set in those 70 years but they're much closer to the first series than they are to the second. So the world's gonna feel much more familiar to the first series, right? Much more similar to the first series. So a little bit of- we try to hint at a little bit of Korra but not a- not a ton. Yeah.
Fan #1: Alright.
Gene: We want- yeah we want it to feel more like the first series than the second.
Fan #1: Alright, thank you very much.
Gene: Yeah, thank you.
Avatar_Mom: Thank you.
(The audience applauds.)
Fan #2: Hello. Oh, really close? (stands closer to the microphone) Hi. I have a question for Josh, actually and I want to say (thumbs up) good job today Liz by the way. And Josh, I was just wondering... You've written some of my favorite episodes of Avatar and I was curious. Were there any scenes like particularly with The Runaway 'cos Toph's my favorite, way to go Jessie. That you wanted to include bits about Toph that didn't really make it into the episode for time or anything like that?
Josh: Wow, that's a long- When did I write that? It was a while ago. (chuckles) I'm not sure. You know, scenes definitely get cut and I think I was really happy with that episode because it came out as a pitch for like, it's sort of like, she's a scam artist, you know and she can do these kind of tricks and we just kind of- It was on a card on a board forever and then I remember like, we- You know, pitching around ideas on it and then we finally kinda came up with the story around it. And you kinda got some insight into like, into Katara and into Toph's relationship. They're always like butting heads like in every episode I write, they're butting heads. But I don't really- I can't remember specifically what I like- cut out of it but I do know that I like, I really enjoy like getting a glimpse into like, who Toph was and even who Katara was because of their relationship but, sorry that I don't really-
Fan #2: That's okay, it was a great-
Josh: I wrote the- the extras. You know, those Avatar extras that everyone like, probably hates.
Fan #2: No.
Josh: But I- they all go through like sorta of the network but I think I put all of my memories into those. So, maybe watch those.
Fan #2: Thank you.
(The crowd applauds and Victor adjusts the height of the mic stand.)
Fan #3: (to Victor) Thank you. (to the panelists) This question is directed to Jessie. What I'm just- what I wonder is that- when you act the voice of Toph, do you see parts of yourself kind of seeping into the character that she is or are you able to isolate yourself from that?
Jessie: Good question. A lot of people ask me, or have asked me if I did a certain voice or how I prepared for recording an episode one day. And me and Toph are actually very similar. I was- she was just kind of my kind of tomboy alter ego. I have horrible eyesight and I hate shoes (the audience chuckles) so we got along great. (Jessie laughs as well) So- For most of the thing, is I- you know, took me a second to kind of re-enter the World of Avatar but then by the end of the script, I was just all in. If Sokka or Katara said something annoying, I would be angry, I'll just be like. (mock slams hands on table) Gosh get your s-stuff together. I can't get curse... you know, people are gonna get into trouble. (everyone chuckles) So yeah, you know me I connected with the character very well.
Fan #3: Awesome, awesome. Thank you.
(The crowd claps once again.)
Fan #4: This is questions for Jessie also. Well, we obviously all love your performace as Toph and are you doing any more voice acting in the future or what are you studying in college?
Jessie: I yeah-
Fan #4: Just curious.
Jessie: I hope to- I kind of took a break junior year because it got crazy. I'm trying to do a double major of economics and theatre studies. And I know it's kind of interesting but I love musical theatre as well, so that's a thing. (the audience cheers and applauds briefly) Voice acting, I've been talking with my agent and doing a couple of auditions over the summer. It's been hard to kind of get back in but I'm definitely hoping either during undergrad to kind of set up a system with New York 'cos I go to college back East. And then hopefully after undergrad I'll be able to do it more full time. As of now, I'm not in any projects but there was a Legend of Korra episode (the audience whoops) where I came back and played my own daughter in like a flashback. Incident. So, I think that came out last week or this week or close some what? Some people are nodding so yes. I don't have TV so I don't know. Okay. So yeah, as of now, nothing. Nothing is currently being worked on.
Fan #4: Cool, thank you.
(Victor adjusts the mic.)
Fan #5: (to Victor) Thank you. (to the panelists) Hi, I'm Emily. I just want to first of all just thank you for coming here and all your hard work. I can see you guys are amazing. And my question is like obviously, like, there's a huge cosplay thing here and if you had the resources to do anyone from any comic book or anywhere movie like- what would you guys cosplay as?
(The panelists chuckle and there is some murmuring.)
Gene: (to Jessie) You want to answer the question?
Jessie: Well aside from myself, (the audience laughs) I actually kind of obsessed with Sailor Moon (someone cheers in the crowd) so- I'm going to that panel after this one, just gonna go straight there. So I would either do Sailor Moon maybe Sailor Venus. Any of the girls, all of the outfits, all of the hair. The little headbands. I'm obsessed, so that's probably what I'd do.
(The audience whoops.)
Gene: Oh we're going in order?
Jessie: Oh yeah.
Gene: It has to be- the question does it have to be in the World of Avatar?
Jessie: No. Anything.
Gene: Oh. Well I would choose something in Avatar. I would wanna do the entire Earth Kingdom continent. (the crowd laughs) So little Earth Kingdom citizens running all up and down my body, that'd be awesome.
(The audience laughs hard and Josh applauds for Gene.)
Josh: I think someone picked what I would do which is Nuktuk (the crowd approves) because you know. I don't know, little clothes on, I like that. (everyone laughs)
Angela: I actually always wanted to do the Song character since actually Josh based her off of me technically. Like my name everything and Bryan actually kind of based her off of me even on the designs so- That would be kind of fun but-
Josh: Too easy, no.
Angela: I know. It seems pretty easy though.
Elizabeth: I would- I'm learning how to bead on fabrics so I'd probably pick like, a costume that's covered in beads from like, Downton Abbey or something like that or- that's probably what I would do.
Avatar_Mom: Can I answer this question?
(The audience cheers and A_M smiles.)
Avatar_Mom: That's actually the last question we're able to do 'cos we're gonna announce the winners now. Okay, alright so if your number was number 3, Raava. Number 3. You're third place, come on up.
(The audience cheers and applauds. Cosplayer #3 walks up to the front. Avatar_Mom and Victor walk up to her with the prizes.)
Avatar_Mom: So, if you were in here when Bryan Konietzko surprised us. He dropped off some original drawings from Studio Mir. They're amazing, they're beautiful. And they're being awarded to our cosplay winners and so all three of you today will get one.
(The crowd applauds. Victor takes an art drawing and shows it to Josh and Angela.)
Cabbage Merchant: [inaudible]
Josh: Oh there you go. (laughs)
(Victor shows off a drawing of Nuktuk to the camera which is then given to cosplayer #3.)
Avatar_Mom: Okay. So, this is a really popular time for this character. Second place is Raava, number 6.
(The crowd applauds and cosplayer #6 walks up, giving a wave to the camera.)
Cabbage Merchant: I actually got the pleasure of meeting Jonathan Adams, who does the voice of Vaatu. He's a hilariously awesome guy. And that's his real voice. So you're just like talking to him like- This is so cool.
(Avatar_Mom hands a drawing to cosplayer #6 and it features Mako and Korra officially ending their romantic relationship in the Book 2: Spirits finale.)
Cabbage Merchant: It's oh so quiet. Shh...
Avatar_Mom: Okay. The winner is.... Number 2, Aang Pipinpadaloxicopolis!
(The crowd erupts into cheers and cosplayer #2 heads to the front of the stage.)
Avatar_Mom: I hope you got a car or something... [inaudible]
(A_M walks up to the winner with a huge print in hand.)
Avatar_Mom: This is actually from Amira, she donated one of these prints. (hands a Studio Mir drawing to the winner) And then please get a poster tube for this right away. This is from Studio Mir. This is an amazing original drawing of Korra. (lifts up a bag of books) And then you have enough Dark Horse swag in here to keep you busy today.
Cabbage Merchant: Probably for the year.
(The crowd erupts into cheers and applause again. The camera focuses on a drawing of Korra with her hair down in the Book 2: Spirits finale.)
Avatar_Mom: So we have just a few minutes before we're done and we finished on time too. This has been the best! Okay. So please, everyone give them a great big hand. (the audience claps for the cosplayers) These are so hard to accomplish. But before we finish off and wrap up, Jessie Flower would like to make an announcement.
Jessie: Oh? Okay, I'm doing that, great. So, from 2 to 4 at the Dark Horse Comics booth, there's a signing. I'm going to be there, Mike and Bryan, and then (picks up the comic) the people who did the lovely artwork for these and (gestures to Gene) him as well are all going to be there signing autographs for 2 hours. I think there was some sort of ticket things you might needed to get- there might still be some left? I don't know where to get those, where do you get those?
(There is some silence as Avatar_Mom walks up to the microphone beside Jessie.)
Avatar_Mom: Yes, okay. You would need to have a wristband in order to get in line for the signing. So, I know they were given away this morning and yesterday. So make sure you have your wristband when you go to Dark Horse for the line up, okay?
Jessie: And also- Okay, I was younger when I first started doing Toph so I wasn't able to kind of keep in touch with my fans as much. I made an official Facebook page now so- And I also have like an email and like a blog thing, it's great. So if just look up Jessie Flower on Facebook, I think there are like only 3. One of them's mine, you can like the page if you want. For my email, if you guys just wanna have any questions, random things, whatever, it's Mic. firstname.lastname@example.org 'cos my actual name is actually Michaela. My acting name is Jessie, (Avatar_Mom gasps loudly) you all probably know this. If you don't know that, surprise. I came up with the name Jessie when I was 6 'cos I didn't like my other name. But anyway- (the audience chuckles) So yeah, those are just kind of a random thing. You can kind of find me more now and ask questions about the show and I know there were people in line who didn't get to ask questions and if there were any of those were for me, you can ask them. So, yeah okay, I'm done now.
Avatar_Mom: Thank you everyone for coming. I want you to give a great big hand to our panelists. (the crowd cheers and claps) Elizabeth, Angela, Josh, Gene, definitely Jessie, Kisu- Sifu Kisu, Sifu Manuel, thank you so much Joshua. Next year, come back!
Cabbage Merchant: And a big hand to Avatar_Mom for putting this altogether. You guys have no idea the amount of work she puts into this.
(The audience cheer one last time and applaud.)
[Recording ends and the panel ends there]
Transcriber's note: Again, a huge thanks to Ryan Harvey for recording the panel.
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