9 Scenes for a Heartfelt Short Film about the Dark and Bright Moments of Life.

Customer Story #4

Kai Media is a professional scriptwriter and producer who wrote a short film story that merges live-action and animation.

The Client

Director, writer, and producer Kai Brown from Kai Media is located in the United States but travels the world often. 

Kai creates stories that won't shy away from the truths of human nature and its inner secrets, while showing us magical scenarios and ultimately uplifting hearts. 

That is the case with our project together "My Holographic Heart" short film or "MH2". It is a complex project mixing chronological stages of a character's life plus mixing different media. 

"In addition to the portofolio, I felt like we clicked artistically. And, most importantly, I really felt you (Mar) got the vision."

Kai Brown

The Challenge

When Kai presented her script for us to storyboard, we identified three potential challenges.

1) We would use Live-Action as well as Animation for this project. That had pros like using animation to craft magical environments and things that are difficult to film in real life. But how can we keep it visually consistent with live-action? Which scenes should be animated not to confuse viewers? How do we transition from one to the other?

2) How do we schedule production? All mediums need to combine elements from each other and some things can't be thought beforehand. So, we can't just do one and then the other. Plus, that would extend the timeline a lot!

3) The main character changes age from one scene to the other, and it is not shown chronologically. How do we make it clear? How many actresses do we need?


The film was completed in early 2023 and has been submitted to festivals afterward. As of July 2023, that means it can't be seen online for free. However, you can see some of the final animation in the Animatic video above, as well as other material shared on the iMDB page and the official Instagram page.

"Top marks. I honestly could not be happier with the results."

Kai Brown

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The Production


The script had multiple scenes color coded to signify the same location and timeline. But they were all mixed and not continuous. That made it a brilliant way to explain the story, giving the necessary information at the best calculated time to captivate the viewers while delivering the ending message with maximum impact. 

However, that brought challenges.

We decided to have Mar do a storyboard everything without considering what would be live-action or animated. Then, using that as a reference, we discussed what else should be animated to fit the budget based on complexity and timeline.

Some of the decisions were to:

The above also solved the chronological problem since each location/scene scenes would be the same for the viewers. Each landscape/stage would be represented the same way through the film (animation or live-action). For example, all whale scenes are animated. And all child Violet in the forest too. It doesn't matter if we see scenes shown in a non-chronological order. In cases where more than one medium was used for a scene, an overlapping transition would be used.

It would be consistent and it is easier to be understood. 


Once the storyboard was clear, we worked out a very efficient schedule to overlap production. Kai would produce the live-action. And Maru Eposito's team would create all the animated scenes, except for the already-produced heart-wave-womb loop.

We (Mar's team) prepared a starting set of "color keys" for the storyboard to show Kai our vision regarding colors. We agreed to turquoise and violet as our connection for all scenes, hinting at it as much as possible without being too flashy or obvious). 

In terms of animation, we would start with animal/whale scenes, as they didn't need references from the shooting. Meanwhile, Kai was casting for the main character and preparing to shoot the live-action cuts in a few months.

Once the cast was decided, we designed the 2D main character Violet to resemble the actress as much as possible. Kai was smart in not settling on an actress with vague features but with someone who had some uniqueness. Those traits would make her more identifiable in anime form. 

We also matched character and environment design to different years: the 90's, 2000's and so on. That would aid the viewer to understand that the animated character is the same person on distinct live stages, not a relative.

At that stage, we also solidified the "color keys". We had some shooting references now! And Kai and their team also did a wonderful job coloring and matching. 

We kept in touch for doubts and new ideas. And thanks to regular communication and showing progress at different stages we identified elements that could be improved or matched right away.

Plus, as we do in most of our projects, we included some "revision time" on the animated commission deal. 

That meant that Kai could always count on us to apply key changes to keep things extra consistent, within a set amount of time/budget pre-decided. In such a complex project, that became handy!

Deal Summary


Bonuses if requested:

Some production art

"You took my script and vision and not only delivered on the existing ideas, but elevated the visuals and the story as well. The final product is absolutely stunning, with so many little details that I notice something new every time I watch (and I've watched them many times). And I really appreciated the "can do attitude," coming up with ideas when we found obstacles for this complicated projects and also being open to my solutions too. Absolutely loved working together."

Kai Brown

For more production anecdotes and struggles in Mar and Kai's post-production conversation. 

The creative details may surprise you!

The Team

All animation except for the “heart-womb-wave” transition animations shown in the full film was made by Maru Exposito Animation & Comic studio. 


The film is being submitted to festivals. 

As of February 2024:
- Nomination for best animation/experimental/music video at the Festival of Cinema NYC 2023.
- Official selection for the Golden State Film Festival 2024, with a screening at the iconic TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

Asking Kai to advise someone who wants to get animations from us: 

"I would say it is worth the wait! This was an intricate project that took time, but that timeline was agreed upon and you delivered ahead of schedule for almost all the deadlines, sending over works in progress and drafts along the way. So while it took several months, I got to see and play with things along the way. And the final product is stunning and worth 10x the wait ;)"
Kai Brown

See your dream animation become a reality as well

Whether you already have a script 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!