The Unexpected Playmate

Behind the Scenes

The Unexpected Playmate is a collaborative animated short about imaginary friends by FableVision’s fall 2017 art/animation interns, Hang Li and Anastasia Ricoy. Inspired by the poem The Unseen Playmate by Robert Louis Stevenson, this is a story about friendship, imagination, and play.

“I strongly believe in the power of friendship and imagination. In my mind, poems provide huge resources for storytelling,” shares Hang. “ As one of the oldest art forms, poetry is an essential way to gain an abundant cultural heritage and immaterial treasure. I am eager to transfer this verbal language to visual language.”

Hang and Anastasia decided to share their telling of the story through moving animation, allowing them to collaborate, bond, and become friends.

What inspired you to create The Unexpected Playmate?  
Hang and Anastasia: We wanted to create an animated short that showcased the power of imagination, play, and friendship. Hang is particularly fond of poetry, and we wanted to see if we could pay tribute to one of her favorite poems by bringing it to life with our respective talents.

Could you tell us about the animation process? What elements went into production?
Hang: In pre-production, I created character designs and storyboards for the film. In order to clarify the story, I used various camera movements to show different visual experiences in one shot. This was the biggest challenge for me, but I enjoyed playing within the frame. I animated three scenes, including the changing of the leaves and snow effects, while Anastasia marked her playful storytelling in the treetop scene. Anastasia also had the idea of scanning watercolor textures to overlay on our work, adding a lively, illustrated element that we both really loved.

What did you both learn? Any final thoughts?
Anastasia: I’ve worked collaboratively before, but this was a new experience to me. We worked in a wonderful studio environment and animated. Along with many new techniques, I learned about the importance of working on a schedule. We made room for challenges that could arise during the project and, thanks to the help and support of the FableVision team, we were able to finish by our deadline with a story we are both so proud of.

Hang: Working on this independent project taught me a lot about storytelling and teamwork. A good story needs collaboration, communication, and sincerity. Many thanks to Hannah for her infinite wisdom, and to Mitul and Sarah for giving us the marketing tools to share our story.

I truly enjoyed this precious and valuable experience at FableVision.

Interested in learning more about internships at FableVision? Check out our Jobs & Internships page!



The Collaborative Kitchen: An Independent Blog by Olivia Jones


This blog series is part of a larger initiative started by Olivia Jones, fall 2017 marketing intern. “The Collaborative Kitchen” is a site that welcomes all food lovers to explore ramblings, reflections, and delicious and easy original recipes. The goal of this blog series is to share Olivia’s passion for food in posts that are both thought-provoking and fun—to educate, create, and promote a positive food narrative around healthy habits, collaborative cooking, and meaningful meals.

Happy World Food Day! It’s only fitting that today’s delicious holiday coincides with The Collaborative Kitchen’s inaugural post. Today we’re celebrating food in all forms, picked fresh or prepared by hands all over the world. In line with this positive narrative, let’s do some diving in and debunking.

I’ve been obsessed with food my whole life, and by default, it’s almost always on my mind. After 21 years of this madness, you’d think I’d be a grub guru. The truth is, the more I think I know, the more I am surprised and enlightened by what I do not know. My inner-database is dynamic and constantly updating as I learn more about nutrition through media, classes, and shared experiences.

One thing I do know, however, is that food is a good thing.

Groundbreaking news, I know. But it’s something that people so often forget in a culture that praises certain foods and demonizes others. From internet ads that promise perfection by staying away from “fattening foods,” to the constant media bombardment of food-shaming messages, it seems as though the only remaining “healthy” options are kale and protein powder.

But before you toss out your bread and butter, re-evaluate the source. More often than not, these scare tactics are used to sell. It’s crucial to break down these meal myths. Everyone’s seen the classic commercial where we have a hungry person (usually a woman) trying to land on a snack, facing the token tradeoff of some delectable sweet versus the “healthier” option.

This type of ad is a textbook example of the binary I’m referring to when I say that certain foods are “demonized,” while others are praised. But in swearing off foods, we are both underestimating the human body and limiting ourselves from the simple experience of a tasty treat.

The point is—in its natural state—all food is good food so long as it is balanced. And at the end of the day, the key ingredient in the food we consume is healthy, satisfying energy. To get the most energy from your food, check out USDA’s MyPlate Checklist simulation, which can be adjusted depending on age, BMI, and calorie intake.  

So there you have it—it’s science. Thank goodness we can still eat cheese, amirite? Phew.

Speaking of which, I’m about to hit you with one of my favorite mashups of all time: pizza and fall, all nestled in a warm and cozy little boat.

Now I’m the kind of person that nearly weeps at the first orange leaf, but I promise no exaggeration when I say these are some of my favorite autumn treats. Hard to believe something that’s this melty can be nutritious, but with this recipe we’ve got Mother Nature decked out in her finest, a la veggie couture.  

Dare you to read on.



I first discovered spaghetti squash boats when I was perusing Pinterest one fateful, fall-enthused day. Upon spotting this recipe, the PSL-drinking, cozy sweater-wearing, Halloween-fangirling fire in me sparked like crazy. I had to make these boats of gooey, cheesy, veggie-loaded bliss. And so I did. And I’ve been making them ever since.

(serves 4)

  • 2 spaghetti squashes, washed
  • 2 c. favorite tomato sauce*
  • 1 c. fresh grated mozzarella (low-fat/part-skim is fine)
  • 8-16 turkey meatballs**
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Parmesan, to taste (optional)


* I used Trader Joe’s “Roasted Garlic Marinara,” but any tomato-based pasta/pizza sauce will work.
** Depending on how hungry you are. I usually use 4 meatballs per whole squash, cutting the meatballs into halves before placing them on top.

If vegetarian, feel free to sub in veggie meatballs or any other protein! If vegan, ditto, and switch out the cheese for vegan cheese.


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

  2. Make sure spaghetti squashes are rinsed and sticker is peeled. Then, poke holes all over each with a sharp knife. One by one, place in the microwave for 3-5 minutes (this will soften them up and make them easier to slice in half).

  3. Allow squash to cool before slicing each in half with a knife. Turn squash half-side up on a cooking sheet and rub olive oil over the top, leaving the seeds intact (these will be scraped out later). Season generously with salt and black pepper, then place half-side down on the cooking sheet.

  4. Once the oven is finished preheating, place the cooking sheet with the squash in the oven and bake for about an hour until fragrant and tender. Remove from oven when cooked, place halves facing up again, and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes. While you’re waiting, crank the oven temperature up to 400° F.

  5. Scoop seeds out of the spaghetti squash using a large spoon—these can be discarded, or washed and saved to prepare later on!

  6. Using two forks, scrape the inside flesh of the squash to create “spaghetti” strings, leaving them inside of the skin, and discarding any additional seeds. Add ½ cup of tomato sauce and mix in with the squash until all of the flesh is coated. Nestle in the meatballs and sprinkle ¼ cup of mozzarella over the top of each half. Divide the teaspoon of dried oregano between the halves. (This will give it that good “pizza” flavor!)

  7. Place spaghetti squash in the oven for an additional 15 minutes until all cheese is melted. During the last five minutes, turn the oven settings to “BROIL” to give the cheese that pizza-like bubble and browning.

  8. Remove the spaghetti squash from the oven and serve in shallow bowls. For an extra sharpness, sprinkle the tops with fresh grated parmesan. Dig in!*

*When you dig in… make sure you don’t get too overzealous. “Pizza burn” doesn’t end with pizza (lesson learned the hard way by the roof of my mouth).



Fable for Four, Please: Meet the Interns of Fall 2017

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In with the cool breeze comes an even cooler set of fall 2017 interns. Bustling in from North to South, East to West, and right down the street, this bunch *leaves* its mark on FableVision with inspired ideas, amazing art, and creative confluence. In collaborating on a series of impressive independent projects, from film and food to art and adventures, they are painting life colorfully with stories that aim to shape and change the world for the better.

Animate your day with these faces by getting to know their hobbies, hideaways, and holiday snack loyalties - and get ready to *fall* for these Fantastic Four.

Interested in learning more about FableVision’s internship program? Check out the internships page for details and apply for yourself!

Olivia Jones

Intern Specialization: Marketing
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
School and field of study: Tufts University/Film and Media Studies

What brings you here? (How did you hear about FableVision?) 
I first heard of FableVision this past summer on a 100 degree day in my hometown of Dallas, Texas. I was interning in the digital department at Freeman Company, working on marketing projects for their event-related products and services, but - having also completed a film internship at Bona Fide productions in LA last January - was hoping to get back into creative media. When my major advisor at Tufts told me about FableVision, I thought I’d cracked the sweet spot. So far my hypothesis hasn’t failed me.


What does a day in the studio look like for you?
Having acquired my tall, nonfat, sugar-free Cinnamon Dolce latte from Starbucks (™) - extra shot of espresso, extra shot of eyerolls from from the baristas - I get into the office around 9:30 a.m. After stepping into my weekly marketing team meeting with Sarah, Mitul, and David, I amp myself up for a day that might hold anything from writing case studies, to drafting social media, to working on my independent project, which is a three-piece blog series about food positivity (think photo to your right, in text).

What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
I love the collaborative nature of the studio. Being able to walk into such a creative group that’s always having fun - and getting to take part in that dynamic - is such a treat.

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
How abstract are we going? Sometimes when Matt Brelsford, FableVision developer extraordinaire, is at home he leaves his video chat open on an extra computer in the studio so he doesn’t feel left out of the fun. I’d love to teleport myself through his screen and play with his cat.

My “official” answer would be Leigh Hallisey, FableVision’s Creative Director. Having the chance to piece together stories as beautifully as she does would be a challenging and exciting exercise in creative writing.

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
Still using my imagination, no matter in what context. I feel strongly that my biggest asset on any team is the ability to get lost in my head, and to find treasure in my imagination.

Where is your happy place?
Sitting at a meal with my family. No doubt my sense of storytelling came from my dad’s winding anecdotes recounting everything from campaigning in Texas with my politicking grandfather to riding a motorcycle down the steps of the Mussolini building in Rome.

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Corn
I hope this is purely hypothetical. But if I had to choose, I’d go with PSL - where’s the pumpkin anyways???

Hang Li

Intern specialization: Art
Hometown: China
School and field of study: Savannah College of Art and Design/Animation

What brings you here? (How did you hear about FableVision?)  
I like to watch illustrative animated short films on Youtube. One day, I watched Keepers of the Flame, by FableVision which gave me a deep impression. I truly enjoyed the beautiful poem and the illustrative style. After watching the film, I searched for FableVision on Google and met the wonderful studio.

What does a day in the studio look like for you?
It is such a fun day. I enjoy animated films together with my colleagues in a group and discuss the animation technologies. My favorite is the idea of “bringing the characters to life.” Sometimes animators need to act out the role of the characters themselves. Actually, animators are actors; a good animator needs to be a good actor.

What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
The people, definitely. I love the friendly and creative atmosphere of our team. My colleagues make FableVision like a family to me.

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
Hannah O’Neal, one of FableVision’s animators. She is very professional. I love talking to her and asking her different kinds of questions about animation, and have learned a lot of useful skills from her. What’s more, she is such a nice person and working with her is so much fun.

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
A director for animated short films.

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Where is your happy place?
Anywhere could be great as long as I am with my son. Watching him playing provides me with cool ideas for animation. He is also my perfect model to do sketches.

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Corn

David Welsh

Intern specialization: Marketing
Hometown: Haverhill, Massachusetts
School and field of study: Middlesex Community College/Communications (with focus on film and television production)

What brings you here?  (How did you hear about FableVision?) 
I heard about FableVision when I was researching game studios in Boston, and I saw they were having an art show open to the public (Creative Juices! The theme that year was “Glow-In-The-Dark”). I went, and while I was too shy to actually introduce myself to anyone at the time, it did inspire me to go back to school and figure out a way I could actually work here. Somehow, my crazy plan worked!

What does a day in the studio look like for you?
I take an early train in and I use that time to get caught up on my independent project. Then we have our morning meetings, and I learn what I’m working on that day. I’m usually bouncing between drafting social media posts, writing case studies, or working on other tasks the marketing team needs. I also like to keep an eye on Twitter and see what’s trending so I can suggest ideas for our social media.

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What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
I’ve always loved video games and animation, and I feel so lucky to sit in the middle of the office and see all the developers, artists, animators, and producers making such cool stuff. And everyone has so much fun here!

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
I’d have to say one of the producers like Sam Bissonnette or Michael Fogarasi. My education, hobbies, and career path have molded me into a jack-of-all trades, and I want to be a producer because I love seeing projects through and understanding how games and films get made. I get inspired hearing the producers at FableVision talk about their latest projects because you can see the passion they have for their work and their project team.

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
In five years, I am setting awesome stories loose in the world!

Where is your happy place?
Canobie Lake Park during Screeemfest. My wife and I go for our annual outing, so I’d have to say being surrounded by roller coasters, haunted houses, Ghostbusters, monsters, and Michael Jackson impersonators is my happy place!

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Corn
All of these must go…in my belly. This is my favorite time of year, and these are my favorite foods! (I will happily take all the extra candy corn off your hands.)

Anastasia Ricoy

Intern specialization: Art
Hometown: Somerville, MA
School and field of study: Lesley University/Illustration and Animation

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What brings you here?  (How did you hear about FableVision?) 
I am friends with a few past interns and they told me how wonderful FableVision was and recommended it to me. I soon realized after researching the studio that I recognized some of the work they had done and I had to join!

What does a day in the studio look like for you?
After setting down my laptop and tablet, I grab a coffee or hot chocolate and get to work. Usually in the beginning of the week, I join the team meetings to hear new projects, goals, and accomplishments. Then I start to animate or illustrate work until lunch. That’s when I have time to catch up on everyone’s days or stories. Throughout the rest of the day while I work, I love to hear more jokes and stories that people bring up.

What aspect of FableVision excites you the most?
I think what excites me the most about FableVision is that everyone has a passionate mind. Each desk is decorated with mementos that I can recognize from shows, games, and stories I know of. It brings me so much joy to talk to everyone about their work or favorite things.

Freaky-Friday-switch places with anyone on the team for the day. Who are you and why?
I’m probably Bob Flynn, Director of Art and Animation, or Hannah because they have jobs I’d love to pursue in the future. They’re also both talented in what they do. Plus, Bob has a cool Wacom Cintiq tablet, who wouldn’t want to draw on that?

Complete the sentence: In five years I am ______.
In five years, I am successful in what I do.

Where is your happy place?
Walking in a park with a lot of sunshine, drawing next to a window with a warm drink, or listening to waves at the beach.

Which seasonal delicacy must go?: (1) Apple Crumble, (2) PSL, (3) Candy Cor
Candy Corn has to go. I would’ve said PSL because so many people get excited for it, but that’s a pretty good latte.


Check out Anastasia's incredible art: 





Beyond the Backyard

Beyond the Backyard is the collaborative project of FableVision’s Summer 2017 interns. The game follows a child who ventures into the wilderness in search of their Grandma’s beloved, escaped pet parrot.

The interactive adventure game lets players explore five beautiful environments filled with New England wildlife. Players solve puzzles to unlock each area and work towards reuniting Grandma with her missing pet. Learn about plants and animals by interacting with them to view your journal filled with educational information and fun facts.

When you’re a kid, the world feels limitless. Beyond the Backyard reflects our nostalgia and the sense of wonder we experienced as kids in our own backyards. There’s so much to explore—see everything there is to discover when you venture beyond what you know, into unchartered territory.

(Editorial note: the Unity web player may not work on older browsers, so please switch over to the latest version of Chrome if you're experiencing issues.)

Check out our behind-the-scenes post over on InternVision.

Learn more about FableVision's internship program (and apply!) here.