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  • Tom LaBaff

The Forestias - No Celebrities. No colors. No words.


Just rough drawings and some music. How did this video get nearly 4 million views?

This little one-minute spot was the highlight of my 2017.

I was just the storyboard artist; the real credit goes to the animators and director. A band of brothers from my Disney days, got together and burned the midnight oil to get this done in a very compressed timeframe.

Paitoon Ratanasirintrawoot of ITEC Entertainment ran the show for his client who simply wanted an emotional story that would "imagine happiness through generations of a family." Paitoon immediately suggested 2D animation as the best solution. But the big question was: ‘will it have a viral appeal?’

Within the first few days of its release, it gained over 2.5 million organic views and piqued peoples interest and awareness about the brand.

Including Facebook and Youtube, it’s now nearing 4 million views.

With all the technological capabilities like virtual reality, Maya, Modo, Light Wave, and Houdini that make computer animation quicker, faster, and more realistic… there simply must be something about seeing handmade drawings created frame by frame that allows people to connect viscerally.

Initial concepts

Many ideas were submitted for this project. The only parameters were that it was to have little to no dialogue, be about the loss of a spouse, and rely on music to convey the emotion. The scratch music we used was "100 Years" by Five for Fighting.

This early idea I pitched was a favorite but ultimately rejected:

When an old man visits his wife’s grave with some flowers, he pulls out his phone and texts her, “I wish you knew how much I miss you.” Immediately, he gets a reply. It’s a text from her that says, “I do.”

She appears as the younger version of herself. When they touch, he transforms into a youngster as well, and they enjoy a dance down memory lane.

The story that was chosen, written by Tim Hodge, was the right mix of nostalgia and sentiment.

It was an honor and a privilege to work with this team. Now the question is, can we capture lightning in a bottle again?

Some side by side storyboards and final animation frames:

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Music - Rob Pottorf

Animators - Tom Bancroft, Nik Ranieri, Todd Bright, John Webber

Storyboards- Tom LaBaff Studios

Writer- Tim Hodge

Director - Paitoon Ratanasirintrawoot