02 – Best Fronds

[This post is a replica of the original post in the Amphibiacrew Tumblr blogm. Link to it here]

Writing

“Here’s an interesting bit of trivia: “Best Fronds” is actually an adjusted version of Amphibia’s original pilot.  After establishing that Anne was stuck in this crazy new world with “Anne or Beast,” it was up to “Best Fronds” to establish the core relationship between Anne and Sprig.  Not only that but it teases some pretty cool things to come at the end.  I especially like how naturally Sprig and Anne grow closer in this episode, culminating in a pretty big disagreement.”

– Matt Braly

Amphibia is script driven, meaning that much of a story’s DNA and structure are figured out before the storyboard launch.  Here’s an excerpt of a pivotal scene from Best Fronds:

Storyboards

This episode was boarded by Hannah Ayoubi and Aaron Austin.  Revisions were done by Janine Chang.  The script of this story has always felt a little serious so I’m so grateful that Hannah and Aaron were able to add so much comedy and charm at the storyboard stage.  Director Derek Kirk Kim has always been passionate about this story and added some real magic at the end with Sprig falling into Anne’s arms as he nods off.

The first half was boarded by Hannah and really explored the chemistry between our leads.  She was able to make Anne feel very sympathetic as she laments missing her home: 

The second was boarded by Aaron Austin, who birthed one of the episode’s best moments – when Sprig explains why most other kids don’t get him:

It’s worth noting that the whole concept of “friend punch” was authored by Aaron.  It was not in the script.  

Character Design

The water snake in this episode was designed by Brandon Wu. He brought a naturalistic feel to the monster that actually makes it feel scarier. Anne’s swimsuit was specifically designed to feel athletic and cool. Artwork by Joe Sparrow, Erik Elizarrez, Brandon Wu, Andy Gonsalves, Daniaelle Simonson, and Carol Wyatt:

Background Design

It was important to us that the human world feel relatively drab compared to Amphibia.  It helps to convey that Anne has never felt more alive in her new environment.  Artwork by Ian Worrel, Daniaelle Simonson, Joey McCormick, Sun Jae Lee, Elle Michalka, and Amanda Winterstein.

That should do it for “Best Fronds!” Next up is “Cane Crazy!” Thanks and have a good one. 

Storyboard panel by Derek Kirk Kim

[Images in higher resolution from the Twitter post about the entry from Matt Braly]

01 – Anne or Beast

[This is a replica of the original post in the Amphibiacrew Tumblr blog. Link to it here]

Writing

“Matt had the brilliant idea to start “Anne or Beast” from Sprig’s point of view, then switch mid-episode to Anne’s. It was ambitious and a bit risky, but essential to establishing the world and characters the way he wanted. He had complete faith that the audience wouldn’t be thrown off by it, and he was absolutely right. It’s also funny watching that first episode and getting a glimpse of the Plantars pre-Anne, knowing that they’re missing a vital part of their family and don’t even know it yet.”

– Story Editor/Co-producer Jack Ferraiolo 

Storyboards

This episode was boarded by Bert Youn, Yonaton Tal, and Kyler Spears.  Revisions were done by Nate Maurer.  It was one of the first episodes boarded so we were still finding our voice.  Even so, you can feel the world and characters coming to life. The sequence where Anne and Sprig meet for the first time will always be one of my favorites:

Character Design

This episode was key in terms of introducing our core cast as well as some of the creatures that inhabit Amphibia. The shape language of Amphibia’s characters is deliberately soft and volumetric. The creatures and monsters however are intentionally jagged and horrifying. Artwork by Joe Sparrow, Erik Elizarrez, Daniaelle Simonson, and Carol Wyatt:

Background Design

Art director Ian Worrel and his team of did an amazing job establishing the intial look and feel of Amphibia with this episode.  The forest has the perfect blend of wonderment and intimidation while the town feels simultaneously exotic and incredibly cozy.  Artwork by Ian Worrel, Phillip Vose, Jules Itzkoff, and Amanda Winterstein.

That’s all folks!  See you next week with “Best Fronds!”

 – Matt Braly

[Images in higher resolution from the Twitter post about the entry from Matt Braly]