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Write On: 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Showrunner and Executive Producer Albert Kim

February 28, 2024
3 min read time

“I would encourage anyone to lean into the specificity of their personal experience [when it comes to writing]. I mean, we're at a time now, fortunately, where everyone is more open to those kinds of stories… Look at something like Beef. The specificity of that storytelling is what makes it special. It's not like they come out with a logline, saying, ‘This is a story about Asian families.’ It's a story about two people who get involved in the road rage incident, but all of that is set in the context of a very specific community. That's what makes it really special,” says Albert Kim, Showrunner and Executive Producer of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Currently the most popular show on Netflix, Avatar: The Last Airbender is based on the animated Nickelodeon show that premiered back in 2005. There are many challenges going from a beloved animated show to live-action, but Kim helms the show with integrity and his own personal cultural specificity. 

“One of the first notes I gave to the crew and our props and set department was: food is really important. We’ve got to get the food right. Asian families are often, a little reticent about expressing emotions. It's very uncommon, at least in my experience, for parents to tell their kids they love them. Instead, they express it other ways – for example, through food. Whenever an Asian parent comes and asks, ‘Have you eaten? Are you eating enough?’ It's their way of saying, ‘I love you.’ So, food has a lot of meaning in Asian communities,” says Kim.

Kim also talks about his unusual journey to become a TV writer and the surprising way he thinks Avatar: The Last Airbender can bring hope and joy to today’s world. To go deeper into the show, listen to the podcast. 

 

 

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