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Joaquim Dos Santos — Director, “Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse”


Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse left some big spider-boots to fill — but director Joaquim Dos Santos was clearly the man to fill them. With Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, the director expanded the Spider-Verse in new and unexpected directions while, crucially, staying true to the first film’s tender and nuanced approach to character and story.

Joaquim reveals how his early obsessions with VHS and comic books led to his first break in storyboarding with Starship Troopers: Roughnecks, through to helming a golden era of US animation, including Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, and Voltron: Legendary Defender. He discusses where he finds inspiration as a filmmaker, talks about the differences between working in TV and film animation, and gives his thoughts on entertaining a new generation. 


Joaquim Dos Santos on Instagram >

Joaquim Dos Santos on IMDb >

Joaquim Dos Santos VIEW Conference 2023 profile >


0:04:26 VHS, comic books, and "Buckaroo Banzai:" Joaquim's backstory

0:08:10 Getting hired for "Starship Troopers: Roughnecks" via a comic book store

0:12:06 Storyboard artists: secret directors

0:15:20 Getting into the "Justice League" animated series

0:19:11 Being compelled to join "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

0:21:37 "Thundercats" or "The Legend of Korra"

0:23:37 Finding his voice and unleashing his artistic expression

0:28:48 "Tron: Uprising" and adventures in the mainframe

0:31:51 Starting on "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse"

0:34:21 Progressing Myles' story

0:38:52 Moving to feature directing from serials

0:41:38 The importance of test screenings

0:45:41 How to follow up "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

0:49:33 How "Spider-Verse" changed the movie industry

0:53:03 Changes in the animation industry

About the author

Christopher Nichols

Chris is a CG industry veteran and Director of Chaos Labs. He can also be heard regularly as the host of the CG Garage podcast which attracts 20,000 weekly listeners. With a background in both VFX and Design, Chris has worked for Gensler, Digital Domain, Imageworks and Method Studios. His credits include Maleficent, Oblivion and Tron: Legacy.

Originally published: November 20, 2023.
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