Rollerblades! (2021)


This work was done as the semester-long project for the class Pre-production for Animation, fall semester of 2021. Throughout the semester, we followed the preproduction pipeline from concept work (three of them to start, of which this was the popular vote) to character design, storyboard thumbnails, and eventually this final animatic.

Some studies of attitude
And the addition of a dog
Dynamic poses
What fun things to with rollerblades!
A splash of color
What to bring to the screen?

Having primarly approached storytelling from the conflict or the character (thanks to the creative writing background) this was the first time I began from a visual, even technological approach rather than the need to tell a particular scene— here, I followed this concept because I wanted to try:

1) Doing a dynamic action scene

2) Limiting myself to only half the face, to tell the story by alternate means of expression

Both were pretty closely connected, as hiding the eyes meant I had to depend on character acting to show character emotion and draw empathy, and aside from posture and voice, the action scenes could really bring those out. Or so were my thoughts starting off!

Story Development

Second round had me exploring the idea further, which involved the addition of a villain, to fill the balance of a hero. This created an interesting dynamic, and had me asking myself questions like why would there be a hero? And why would the villain become a villain?

The latter was somehow easier to come—the villain wanted attention. The hero's attention, to be specific. I wondered if it was cliche, but it felt middle school enough, as well as in character, to let that slide.

A cheerful attitude, but then, it's always more complicated than that
Contrasting characters?
If there is a hero...
When you stop and really think, why is the hero the one living a double life? It's the villain that should keep secrets!
When failure strikes
But to get up again

The further I explored, the more I wondered—what's the main character's problem? Trying to figure out ways to show the hero's character and conflict had me adding in another character. Of course, as it got more crowded, they started to fight for attention rather than catering to the interests of the main character...

Bring the excitement in!
The hero loses a bit of their innocence...
... only to hand it over to the villain?
Combinations of pointy and round
A third character?
Possible character dynamics

I knew certain things from the beginning, like the villain's character and motivation, or that the hero appeared to be a show-off but was actually just strong and hardworking, but the story dynamics felt just out of reach for a long time. The third character was added in to try and bring some clarity, but only seemed to fog up the screen when the class required that the whole story be told in no more than four minutes. I wondered if I was just trying to put in too much, but I still believed it could be done. If I could only just...

Some story elements explained (to myself)
Stab at story flow

The epiphany came when the professor pointed out that the villain was a lot easier to follow than the hero. I wholeheartedly agreed, then it struck me—who said the hero had to be the main character?

I couldn't tell what was going on in the main character's head the way I would in a short story. Nor did I want to, really—the truth about the hero's life was the unexpected factor in this story and I wouldn't want to give it away. Then, it just made sense to follow the villain as the story proceeded, where the audience would know just what the villain knew, and only find out about the hero's devastation of losing when the villain would.

The villain is stronger
Return to an empty house

After that, things were a lot easier. I still wracked my brain for ways to tell the story, but at least I knew what story it was that I wanted to tell!

The beginning was especially difficult—how to convey all the necessary information?
Some turned out to be unnecessary, some were cut for time.

Character Design

There was some time allocated for character design, though not a lot, as we were only to follow the preproduction for this piece—unless proactively pursued in our own time, this was not going to be made. Such was the reason only one of the characters had to have character sheets.

I pondered between the two main characters for a while, but the collective opinion of the class was that the villain's character designs were stronger as-is. (One of the many reasons she became the main character!) So I decided to give the hero some more time.

More thought went into the shoes than anything else. The detail had to reflect their importance to the character wearing them, but also, how to keep them animate-able?
Some essential information
Showing all the different angles and poses (and testing out the drawability of the rollerblades while at it)
Some thoughts on different looks
Some thoughts on different looks
Some important objects



Clip Studio Paint - Concept Art, Character Designs
Adobe Photoshop 2021 - Concept Art
ToomBoom Storyboard Pro - Animatic


- Custommelody
- Impop
- Alon Peretz
- Kadir Demir
- Family Kush

- Cinematic Sound Design
- Fly Sound
- Foley Walkers
- Gain Walkers
- Inspector J
- Lucas Turdon
- Martin Scaglia
- The Foley Bros

Special Thanks

Peter Murphy - advisor
Pre-production for Animators class, Fall 2021 - for sharing the process
Parents - for seeing this animatic and not realizing immediately that I did all the voices myself!