A few preemptive words about Episode 408, “Remembrances”…
In a couple hours the eighth chapter of Korra Book 4 will be released online, and I suppose, if you are none the wiser, a few minutes into it you will feel duped and yell at your screen, “Hey! This is a crummy clips episode!” And that is (almost) exactly what it is––except we all worked really hard to make sure at the very least it isn’t crummy. I’m here to explain why we ended up having to do one. Sometime around a year and a half ago we were similarly duped on a large scale. We got the news from the higher-ups that our Book 4 budget was getting slashed, almost to the tune of an entire episode’s budget. We had two options: 1) let go a significant number of crew members several weeks early, or 2) make a clips episode. We never considered the first option. We weren’t going to do that to our crew, and even if we were callous enough to do so, we never would have been able to finish the season without them. But having grown up on TV in the ’80s and ’90s, we all dread clips episodes, where characters sit around saying, “Remember that time when…” and leftover footage is reheated for no one’s enjoyment. Anyone who suffered through TNG’s “Shades of Gray” knows what I’m talking about.
再過幾個鐘頭，Korra Book4的第八集就要在線上釋出了，我想，要是你們不了解情況，看了幾分鐘後，你們就會覺得被晃點，並在螢幕前大喊「這是一集差勁的總集篇！」而這集情況(幾乎)就正是這樣－除了我們盡全力讓你感覺它不是那麼爛。我在這裡要解釋為何導致必須做這樣子的一集。大概在一年半前的某天，我們也遭遇到類似，而且是大大的晃點。我們收到自上級的消息，我們Book4預算受到刪減，刪掉幾乎是一集的金額。我們有兩個選擇：1)是讓製作團隊的核心成員提早幾週離開，或是2)做一集總集篇。我們從沒考慮過第一個選項，我們不會對我們的團隊做這種事，即使我們夠冷血去做這件事，我們也無法在沒有他們的狀態下完成這一季製作。但看過80、90年代電視節目長大的人，都很怕這種總集篇，在那些總集篇中，裏頭角色坐著說「還記得當時...」，然後炒那些沒人想看的回收片段冷飯，任何經歷過TNG《Shades of Gray》節目的人都知道我在說什麼。
Anime fans know this is a common occurrence in Japanese series as well. In fact, as Mike hung his head in disappointment at our fate, I remembered how one of my favorite anime series, Samurai Champloo, made what I thought was a really awesome and clever clips episode. They mixed about 5 minutes of new footage in with the old, and set up a context where the characters would be reflecting on past events while narrating over them, offering new insights or at least providing some humor. I pitched this angle to Mike and he agreed this was the best way to turn this big old lemon into some lemonade.
Back on Avatar, we had something that functioned as a sort of clips episode, though it was all new animation and really hard to make, Episode 317, “The Ember Island Players.” Our heroes went to a play where they saw themselves and their tales performed by actors on stage. It was simultaneously a reckoning for the characters before they headed into the denouement, and a lighthearted romp where we got to poke fun at our own show before things got really serious in the remaining episodes. Korra’s “Remembrances” ended up serving the same function, albeit with old footage instead of a newly animated play. There is about 5 minutes of new footage, wonderfully animated by Studio Mir, and a bunch of funny and touching narration from the characters. There are also some fun chibi heads and other treats in there to spice up the old footage.
過去《降世神通:最後的氣宗》，我們做過功能類似總集篇的東西，雖然用全新的動畫內容，且花費很大心力製作，那就是EP317《The Ember Island Players》。我們的主角希望有一齣戲劇，能讓他們在舞台上看到他們傳奇故事被演員演繹，也趁在邁向結局前檢視各個角色，同時也是在接下來剩餘集數都很嚴肅的狀態下，對自己節目惡作劇一下的輕鬆時刻。Korra的《Remembrances》最終也變成相同功能，不過差異使用是舊有片段，而不是新的動畫演出。然而仍有約5分鐘，由Studio Mir所製作之出色動畫的新片段，並有著大量角色有趣又感觸的敘述。還有一些有趣的Q版大頭，另外還有其他的加料在舊片段中。
What started out as a reluctant chore ended up being a really fun episode to make, and in the end I truly love it. Mike did an awesome job directing it and storyboarding all the chibi hilarity, as well as overseeing the wonderful script by Josh Hamilton, Katie Mattila, and Tim Hedrick. Joaquim Dos Santos, Ryu Ki Hyun, and Lauren Montgomery drew fantastic storyboards for the new footage (particularly Lauren’s insane Varrick posing). Lots of other folks worked their tails off on this one, namely Amaris Calvin, our animatics editor; Christie Tseng, our character designer who drew and colored all of the final chibi art; Matt Gadbois, our After Effects artist; and Chris Hink, our final picture editor. Last but not least, Aran Tanchum and Vinny Guisetti on foley, Benjamin Wynn on sound design, and a stellar new score with all your favorite hits by Jeremy Zuckerman. And plenty of other fine folks I’m forgetting!
從心不甘情不願的起頭，演變成製作上非常有樂趣的一集，最終我真的很喜歡這集。Mike做了在Q版大頭間的喧鬧上做了出色的導演與分鏡，同時Josh Hamilton、Katie Mattila等人監修劇本，有Tim Hedrick、Joaquim Dos Santos、Ryu Ki Hyun與Lauren Montgomery為新片段畫了很棒的分鏡(特別是Lauren瘋狂的Varrick姿勢)，還有很多其他人在這集盡心盡力，列舉名字如Amaris Calvin，我們的動態分鏡編輯；我們的角色設計師Christie Tseng，她繪製，並上色所有最終的Q版大頭；Matt Gadbois，我們的後製效果師，與Chris Hink，我們的正片剪輯師，最後，但並非全部，Aran Tanchum與Vinny Guisetti在效果音製作，Benjamin Wynn負責聲音設計，還有大家最愛的Jeremy Zuckerman製作了一首傑出的新配樂。還有許多其他，但我沒提到的優秀人士。
So now you know what it is and why it happened. I hope you do end up enjoying it after all, especially as a last lighthearted, nostalgic romp before POOP. GETS. REAL. And then the series is done.
P.S. I forgot to mention our cast’s amazing performances, especially John Michael Higgins’ million words a minute as Varrick in act three!
P.S.我忘了提到我們配音員出色的演出，特別是擔任Varrick的John Michael Higgins在第三幕那個字詞連發。