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Behind the Scenes of "She: the Warrior"

The FableVision spring internship is coming to a close. As a final parting gift, we’d like to share what we learned with you.

FableVision interns are given the opportunity to create and develop an optional independent project during their time at the studio, with the option of working separately or collectively as a group. I joined FableVision as a marketing intern, and Christine and Mollie as art/animation interns with very different focuses. We arrived at FableVision with distinct talents, goals, and perspectives. We couldn't have imagined how this collective skillset was going to blend and evolve over the course of a few months.

When Christine, Mollie, and I first met, it was clear that we were very different people who wanted different things out of this experience. However, the more that we talked, the more obvious it became that we did have something in common: to create a piece of art that showcased our talents and delivered a positive message to the world.

We’re happy to end this semester with the animated comic, “She: The Warrior” as our pièce de résistance. Working on this project taught us a lot about storytelling, teamwork, and ourselves.


The Call to Adventure

Before we came up with the initial concept, we agreed to work on a project we could each identify with. The concept for “She” was born when we realized that as an all-female intern team of similar age, we shared common coming-of-age experiences. Upon further discussion, we talked a bit about: what did we wish someone had said to us as children, and what do we wish we could say to girls now?

“She” is a story for all ages, but our primary goal was to inspire elementary-age girls in the hopes that they would take courage from the comic in the face of everyday challenges. We want people of all ages and genders to see it and recognize the challenges they’ve also faced—and draw strength from that.

So, we had the team, and we had the concept. Next, we needed a character. We wanted someone spunky and courageous, someone who never let their fears keep them from achieving their goals. This character would represent the best parts of us, an unstoppable force who never took no for an answer.

And so “She” was born.

 
 

The Quest

When it came to developing the project, we each had a part to play. First, we needed a story with a narrative arc. I came up with the idea to take quotes that had inspired each of us and weaved them into a singular narrative. Inspired by quotes and children’s books, I started forming a story for “She.”

Next, we needed visuals. Christine took the script and created storyboards along with initial character designs. Before anything was finalized, we ran the concept past our supervisors, Hannah, Mitul, and Sarah. Once we got approval (and some very helpful suggestions), Mollie and Christine worked together to develop the layout and finalize the character design.

Originally, we intended “She” to be a short film, but ultimately chose a format that was both fun and simplistic, and that stood out as a unique option. Having “She” in the form of an animated comic allowed us to be more creative within that medium, and worked with our schedules, which differed at times.  

There were a lot of firsts during this project. It was Mollie’s first time working so closely with another artist, but that didn’t slow her down at all. She designed, illustrated, and animated the backgrounds as well as the text.

It was Christine’s first time working on an animated comic. In addition to designing the characters, which, alongside our heroine, included a host of ghostly figures and a dragon, Christine also took part animating them.

As for me, I’d never done intensive social media before. As the marketing intern, I drafted posts for several social media platforms including InternVision (the FableVision intern blog), Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin. It was my job to spread the story of “She” across the internet.

 
 

The Trial

As exciting as this project was, there is no such thing as a quest devoid of challenges. Our animated comic is built out a series of gifs which have a larger file size than a static image. We uploaded animated scene after scene onto the website, waiting for the inevitable crash, and celebrating with brownies and hot chocolate when it didn’t.

Having two artists on one project also posed its own challenges. Mollie and Christine had to work together to ensure that Christine's character designs and animation and Mollie’s illustration and text animation held a cohesive look and feel. One shot even ended up with twelve "final" versions! In the same breath, working as a team allowed both artists to play off one another’s strengths. Mollie even remarked that she felt like an equal partner in a team for the first time.

I had to think strategically about social media. How could I tell the story of “She” without giving away the narrative? What images best portrayed the message we were trying to send? Luckily, working as a mini-production studio meant my intern team was always there to help. Christine drew up art for our social media posts that inspired me to reach new creative heights. I took advice from my supervisors, Sarah and Mitul, and ultimately developed blog posts and tweets that I’m proud of. Now, I look back at them and think, “Wow, I did that!”

 
 

Seizing the Sword

Working on this project allowed us to learn a lot about each other and what we were each capable of. As we learned from our supervisors, we passed that knowledge on to each other. I got to learn about character design, and Mollie and Christine gained insight on social media strategy, planning, and execution. Christine got to delve into different animation and compositing techniques in Flash and Photoshop, and Mollie was excited to use new techniques and brushes for Photoshop. I learned more about social media than I’d known existed, and will never underestimate a tweet again.

“She: The Warrior” is the story of a young girl who never lets doubt or fear stand in her way. She is everything that Christine, Mollie, and I saw in each other and learned to see in ourselves. In a way, creating this comic traced the same journey that “She” makes. We experienced doubts and creative triumphs, fears and victories. We learned many lessons during our time at FableVision, but the greatest one was that “She” is all of us: fierce, brave, and unstoppable.

Looking to join this team of FableVisionaries? Learn more about FableVision internships here!

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She: the Warrior

 
 

She: The Warrior is a collaborative project inspired by FableVision’s mission of creating stories that move the world to a better place. FableVision’s spring interns came together and created an animated comic that embodies some challenges we have faced as young women, and how overcoming them led to triumphs. Interning at FableVision allowed us to merge our shared and diverse experiences into the story of a young girl who learns about the warrior inside of her.

Over the course of this project, we learned that there is a warrior in all of us.
We hope that “She” awakens a little bit of that warrior in you. Be fierce. Be driven. Be unstoppable.

Check out our behind-the-scenes post over on InternVision.
Learn more about FableVision's internship program (and apply!) here.

 

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Once Upon an Intern: Spring 2017

Once upon a time, three interns took three very separate journeys to the magical land of FableVision Studios. They fought off deadly Self-Doubts, traveled across oceans of caffeinated beverages, and braved their way through surprise New England snowstorms. Ultimately, they made it to FableVision in one piece.

For FableVision’s three 2017 Spring interns, their stories began, quite literally, at opposite ends of the country. One of them could paint otherworldly images that practically jumped off the page, one wove fantastical narratives that hypnotized her readers, and one created living things out of paper and string. What they did share is a love of stories and storytelling.

Pull up an armchair, grab a cup o’ hot chocolate, and brush off those midwinter blues with tales about this semester’s FableVision interns!


Christine Brennan, Art and Animation Intern
Hometown: Hooksett, NH
School and field of study: Academy of Art University, Animation

How did your journey with art/animation start?
I started animating in high school when a few of my friends and I decided to start an animation club. Every weekend, we would meet, learn about animation, and create new projects together. I decided to pursue animation as a career because I was inspired by the collaboration, hard work, and creative atmosphere that comes with working on a team.

What do you like most about creating art?
Sharing it with people when I am done!

What other things are you balancing with this internship?
I’m taking three classes at my university online, and am starting driver’s education. I also balance freelance jobs, keep up with my art portfolio, and make sure my dog is thoroughly loved (the last being most important, obviously).

What advice would you give to people thinking about this internship?
Don’t think; just do it. Take the initiative and start your career! This is my first official internship and I couldn’t imagine a better environment to get myself acquainted with a working studio atmosphere.

More about Christine!

Favorite type of story? Fantasy! Anything made up and contrary to reality, because, in all honesty, real life is boring. My favorite story is Howl’s Moving Castle. I think it has phenomenal storytelling, and is innovative and beautiful.
Favorite fairy tale? Beauty and the Beast.
Favorite hero/villain combination? Simba and Scar because they both have nice singing voices.


Jayne Roberts, Marketing Intern
Hometown: Oakland, CA
School and field of study: Emerson College, Creative Writing

How did your journey with writing start?
Before I loved to write, I loved to read. I loved how different words, and combinations of words evoked different emotions. Eventually, I wanted to see what kinds of emotions I could evoke with my own writing. I started by drawing up cards and stories for people on holidays. I’d write a poem for each of my friends on Valentine’s Day and gain confidence by how excited they were. Now, I’m horrified when I look back on how badly they were written. I mean, seriously, who rhymes “donkey” with “baby?” Still, it’s those first attempts that got me to where I am today, so I’m pretty grateful for elementary-age me.

What other things are you balancing with this internship?
At the moment, I’ve got a full-time job working at a bookstore, I’m working on my graduate degree in creative writing, and I’m finishing my first novel...plus a screenplay, book of poetry, and collection of essays. I think it’s safe to say I have focus issues.

What advice would you give to people thinking about this internship?
Always challenge yourself, but remember to relax. Everyone who works here remembers what it’s like to be just starting out, and they actually want you to succeed. Don’t be afraid to fail. You’ll learn more from trying out new things, even when they don’t work out, than you will by playing it safe.

What do you like most about creating art?
I love the almost out-of-body experience that occurs when something you’ve created finds its way from your brain out into the real world. You’ve tied together little pieces of yourself with pieces of the outside world and let them grow together. It’s a pretty cathartic experience.

More about Jayne!

Favorite type of story? One that takes me through a range of emotions. All of my favorite authors have had me in drowning in tears, choking on my own laughter, and staring off into space in deep contemplation with a single story.
Favorite fairy tale? Any of the ones involving Anansi. He gets away with murder!
Favorite hero/villain combination? Peter Pan versus Captain Hook.


Mollie Davis, Art and Animation Intern
Hometown: Northampton, MA
School and field of study: Northeastern University, Studio Art

How did your journey with art/animation start?
In 4th grade, I drew a dog pretty well, and my classmates were so impressed that they asked me to draw their animals. I started to wonder if I could be an artist when I "grew up". I was raised in Northampton, Ma where I was fortunate enough to meet local artists, take art classes, and enjoy a public school system that encouraged the arts. My sister is also creative and I think our friendly/not-so-friendly competitions pushed me to do better and work harder.

What do you like most about creating art?
I like that art crosses barriers more easily than anything else: age, time, religion, language. In the graphic novel, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, readers learn about her life growing up in Iran, going to school in France, and the hard times without ever talking to her or visiting those places. I think art is one of the best methods of communication and it's convenient that a lot of it is funny and beautiful because that means a lot of people want to engage with it. I think going into this field carries a responsibility to aspire to and go beyond the best of what has come before. Isn't that exciting?

What other things are you balancing with this internship?
Phew, it's a lot. I'm in production on my capstone film, a six and a half minute animated short. I'm a co-founder and Director of Exhibitions for sparka contemporary art collective dedicated to exhibiting art on campus (for students, by students) and educating the Northeastern community about contemporary art. Also, I'm a board member of the animation club and I freelance for the mobile media company Bare Tree Media.

What advice would you give to people thinking about this internship?
Put your best foot forward and don't be afraid to let what you are passionate about shine through. FableVision offers a lot of room to learn and grow.

More about Mollie!

Favorite type of story? Drama and adventure stories. If an author or illustrator has built up a sturdy world and compelling characters, I'll buy the ticket and hop on the ride immediately. I like stories where the characters face big challenges, have to overcome them, and maybe learn something.
Favorite fairy tale? Alice in Wonderland. I find Lewis Carroll's original story fascinating—the subtle political commentary, the mathematic riddles hidden in nonsense, how Alice is constantly and randomly challenged at every turn, and the wordplay.
Favorite hero/villain combination? I really like Chihiro vs. Yubaba. I really like Spirited AwayPeriod.

 

Learn more about FableVision internships here

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All in the FableFamily: An Art Intern’s Story

Growing up in a traditional Colombian household, it’s drilled into me that family is the most important thing in one’s life. I still believe that to this day. My family consists of my mom, my younger brother, and me. My father passed away the summer before my second year of college, but I still feel as though he’s watching over me and helping me out whenever I hit roadblocks in my life. It’s because of the importance I place on family that I appreciate and was drawn to FableVision’s culture and family-like environment. 

Upon first glance FableVision seemed like any other studio, but after doing some more research into the kinds of projects they work on, I found something special that made them stand apart from all of the other animation studios in the area. FableVision makes content that’s entertaining, story driven, and selects projects that help children and adults of all ages and backgrounds – that spoke to me, and it was because of that that I applied for their 2016 Fall internship program!

Art interns Adam Reed and Jen Sanchez with marketing intern Tessa Berliner

On my first day, I was greeted warmly by the staff and given a tour of the office. We started with the Wall of Inspiration, a huge wall covered in knickknacks, vintage figurines, and toys from each member of the FableVision staff. I found several relics from my childhood on that wall and immediately felt at home. Artwork from current artists filled the walls and the overall decor was fun and welcoming. In the center of the studio was the “hub,” where artists, developers, and producers work together. The interns sat at a long, white, oval table (which was usually filled with treats that I may or may not be guilty of mindlessly snacking on while I worked).

 

With interesting animation and storyboarding exercises, I learned about animating with Flash, making informative, fun, and interactive storyboards. I also learned a great deal about deadlines.

As part of the internship, art interns are given the opportunity to collaborate with marketing interns on a group project. My fellow art intern, Adam, and marketing intern, Tessa, joined forces to produce a Cultural Cookbook that highlighted FableVision’s family-like culture. The three of us worked together as a mini production studio with weekly meetings, team check-ins, planning and preparation, and deadlines to hold us all accountable. We were given a great deal of freedom and the feedback we received from our supervisors helped bring the project together. In the end, we successfully completed the cookbook and got to present it at the weekly staff meeting in front of the entire studio.

FableVision's Hannah O'Neal awarding Jen with an honorary FableVisionary award. 

After 10 weeks of interning at FableVision, I can honestly say that my initial instinct was right. This company not only focused on creating family-friendly educational content, but has become a family themselves. I half expected to be treated like any other intern, ignored and told to fetch coffee or lunch. FableVision wasn’t like that at all. Everyone welcomed me with open arms. They were interested in my artwork and were always ready to lend a helping hand. I learned so much from them and I will always treasure the advice they gave me. Thank you so much, FableVision for making me a better person as well as a better artist!


About Jen

Jen Sanchez was one of the 2016 fall art interns at FableVision Studios. She attends SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design, and will be graduating with a BFA in Animation and a minor in Storyboarding in June 2017. You can view her portfolio here

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