A Short Film celebrating love, life, and family as a Music Video

Customer Story #3

Oliver Unseth composed a ballad to show love in all stages of life and was looking for an animator who could do the visuals and add even more creativity to the lyrics' story.

The Client

Oliver Unseth is a poet, producer, and singer in the United States.

As he is a talented artist starting his musical career, this music video was meant to be an investment to create his greatest portfolio piece possible. Something that would make an impression on agents, labels, and, of course, the viewers' hearts!

So, he was looking for an artist that would truly be involved in the project when I, Mar (project director) listened to the song and fell in love with it. I contacted him right away.

"I decided to work with Mar because there was no copy/paste text in the (project) proposal."

Oliver Unseth

The Challenge

One of the most ambitious parts of this project came from building an interesting story that matched the timing of the lyrics. You must be original to get viewers' attention while making sure what you show is consistent with the song itself. The visuals are not distracting, they add to the experience.

Also, in most scripts, the interest is kept by adding conflict and drama: 'What is going to happen next?' But in this project, the story is so sweet and close to the lyrics that adding mysteries wouldn't work. Of course, with the fast pace of the story and years jumping almost from cut to cut, it is somewhat easy to keep the viewers engaged. But to help in that, our team had to create magic: a world and characters that would be interesting to look at even if everything goes smoothly all the time. Choosing the right artistic team to create the art was a key part of this challenge, as well as selecting wisely where to add more animation complexity and where to keep things soft.

With the right short film story enhancing the song, the music video would stand out more both to the public and, hopefully, to the agents!


"You nailed it!"

Oliver Unseth

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The Production

After listening to the song I felt an instant connection to it. Truly, the love story made me go and hug my husband and think warmly of my family.

So, to create a good script, I concentrated all those cozy feelings into it with no reservations.

Many of the scenes are inspired by little happy moments I have lived myself.

Then, to create an interesting world, I decided to use vague history references. The story would happen from the 1910's to the 1970's in a North-American-European-inspired world. These are years with a lot of changes in fashion and living conditions which would make it easier and fun to see the jumps in time. However, it is not too foreign to most current generations and audiences so it is easy to connect to it. 'These could be my great grandparents.'

About the history period decision, we only show "happy times" instead of depicting specific society facts such as world wars. The focus is purely on the family and their evolution over time, with mostly joyful memories but also realistic down moments such as a couple argument, a storm outside the house, children almost making a mess, or a subtle reference that the cat passed away.

The idea is that without historic and country specifics, there are no distractions from the main story and lyrics. The short film would keep an overall heartwarming mood making more viewers around the globe think about their own families.

For more details on production, in the embedded video below you can see how things evolved from the storyboard to the final piece:

Now, the worst part could have been character design: we needed to create a big family and they constantly change from cut to cut.

In this case, we took advantage that I, Mar, can design the characters and be the main layout artist and animator.

So instead of spending a lot of time creating tens of detailed character sheets for the team to follow, I only created an overall design, style, and proportion rules. I invented the dresses on the go while trusting the inbetweeners would be able to follow my lead.

This means the animation production would not be stuck until I figured out each scene's aesthetics but instead start moving while I decided the rest.

Every time I finished starting the animation for one cut, the animator taking it over would see my animation starter files, see the notes to understand the character, and move forward from there.

As I actually have a lot of interest in period costumes, it was very fun to do further research and be able to adapt them to an animation production over the weeks and months that this production took place. We weren't intending to be super realistic either, as the story is not set in a specific time in real history. And that made the design-on-the-go decision work perfectly.

"The storyboard, designs, and animation quality were excellent."

Oliver Unseth

Deal Summary

  • Youtube HQ (1920x1080) mp4 file

  • The price includes up to 12h worth of revisions

  • Samples are sent during production so revisions can be made as necessary

  • Mar directing + the necessary team assisting

  • Thumbnail art that fits in squared and 16:9 format

  • Cross-marketing: Maru Exposito's studio shares bits of the video and a making-of while tagging and giving credit to the client

  • Inclusion of the final video to the studio website (with link to the musician)

  • High-quality screenshots from the animation so the band can use them for promotion

  • Distribution and monetization rights over the delivered files

Some production art

Deadlines and Extra Value

This project had 5 delivery milestones where payments would come in as I showed our team's progress. Those where also moments for Oliver to give feedback and direction as necessary:

  • 1 Storyboard and animatic

  • 2 Designs

  • 3 Draft animations

  • 4 Final video for check

  • 5 Final video delivery without watermark

However, during milestone 4, Oliver saw the final video and decided to invest more in it. The deadline got extended, we created a new milestone price, and made the video much, much better. That included drawing a few parts over again but mostly we focused on adding more animated elements to cuts that were previously simpler. It gave the final video more emotional depth.

  • 6 Value-Up! Video delivery

The Team

  • Animation team: The Xenoist, Justine, Sid, Eugenia, and Renzo

  • Background team: Shinsyl (art direction) and Catherine Dame

  • CGI: Eugenia

    I, Mar, acted as the studio director, created the storyboard and characters, and edited the final video. I also was the main layout artist and key animator.

And I need to honor my family and friends who encouraged and inspired me until this point. This project would not have happened without showing me what love is.

See your dream animation become a reality as well

Whether you already have a song you need stunning visuals for, or you just think it would be good to collaborate in another type of animated project, do not hesitate to get in touch with us!