When thinking of a creative hero, for me it’s hard to go past the creators of one of my favourite shows; Bryan Konietzko and Mike Dante DiMartino (often referred to by fans as Bryke). While not strictly in ‘my field’, I very much look up to Bryan Konietzko and Mike Dante DiMartino and would love to be able to emulate their work ethic (and subsequent success).
Both Konietzko and DiMartino went to university for animation and started work at Film Roman, on projects like Family Guy and King of the Hill. Both had a steady animation job but moved to Cartoon Network because they wanted to make more original exciting content. This lead to the development of Avatar: The Last Airbender and it’s subsequent series The Legend of Korra. As writers, animators, producers and directors, over 13 years Bryke developed the world of Avatar from the initial concept all the way to two large scale production television shows.
While having clear ideas about where they want their shows to go, they both use the process of creation in order to gain new ideas as they work. This is especially relevant as an episode of Avatar took 9-10 months to make and an episode of Korra took a year to a year-and-a-half. At one point production was taking place on up to 30 episodes at the same time.
Bryke are not only dedicated to making the best show possible, they are also dedicated to surrounding themselves with a team of equally passionate people. On their shows they work closely and collaboratively many people, particularly Joaquim Dos Santos (Co-Executive Producer) and Lauren Montgomery (Producer).
Towards the end of the production of Legend of Korra, the show encountered many problems, with budget cuts and then the show not being aired on television and only online. It was important to Bryke to retain staff despite budget cuts, so they developed a whole episode that reused old footage instead of letting staff go.
Not only do I admire their work ethic, but also their creative passion and commitment to what they feel is genuine storytelling. Bryke pushed the boundaries of children’s television, dealing with serious themes in an honest way, and never speaking done to their audience. They never allowed fans to influence the show and always told the story on their own terms.
Overall, I greatly admire and am inspired by Bryan Konietzko and Mike Dante DiMartino. I hope to be even just a fraction as genuine and hardworking, and hopefully one day I can create something that I am as passionate about as they are about their projects.