So it had been a few years since I did any work for The Bronx Children’s Museum. Set to (finally) open in late 2019, Executive Director Carla Precht wanted something different for their yearly video project – something more energetic and lively.


Creative Brief

Develop and produce a broadcast package for a five-minute promotional video that explains the overall story of the Bronx Children's Museum as told through the children who will be served by it. This package will include 1.)an intro animation, 2.)interstitial animations, 3.)transitions, and 4.)an outro video clip.


Research Phase

To change up the BCM's media direction, Carla turned to animation as the answer, and provided me with this short clip, a promotional animation for Spotify US:

Designed, directed and produced by POTEMKIN in cooperation with Carl Waldekrantz and Kaj Drobin from Identity Works.
Music by Tobias Norberg.
Illustrations by Johan Eliasson and Victoria Brolin Berg.

Around the same time, I began researching the visual style I was looking for, finding three items in particular that inspired me:



Carla and I discussed some creative ideas, structure, and the overall messaging of the spots. Carla provided some initial ideas, like kids playing tug of war, flying, drumming, etc. With this in mind, I also came up with some ideas. At the end of our ideation phase, the following visual images remained:

  • Kids forming a pyramid
  • Kid flying like superman, through scenes
  • Kid holding up a heavy weight
  • Kids playing tug-o-war


Script Development

With these visual cues in hand, I wrote up a brief narrative treatment:

This animation piece would start with kids searching, with their hands over their eyes to block the sun, looking left and right. Then they would look up and point, as if someone were flying overhead. This would cut to a superman-like kid flying through the sky. The ‘superkid' looks down at crowd and waves at the kids below.

The superkid would come at the screen from several angles, each time wiping to a new scene. Superkid holds up a heavy weight. Kids play tug of war, with the losing side bringing in another scene. Kids form a pyramid, which superkid can hold up in her hand.

And from this I developed a script, which would appear as text on screen:

We went searching for a children’s museum In the Bronx… Guess what?!
We couldn’t find one anywhere… So we decided to make our own!
To strengthen our community, To inspire and engage children, And most of all, to have fun!
When we connect our community with our programming …We’re stronger!
Together... we have built the one and only children’s museum in the Bronx.

The BCM: community, education, fun for every child of the Bronx ... and beyond!


Storyboard Development

As with any storyboard, one should always begin with low-stakes sketches, or thumbnails. Below is the set of thumbnail sketches I created from the above script:
2019 bcm thumbs 002019 bcm storyboards 01
From these I was able to create some initial, more refined storyboards (in Illustrator).

At the start, I was trying to keep the color palette and overall style more on brand with the BCM. They have a specific branding strategy that is typified by their logo.

BCM logo.png


Style Development

Looking at the storyboards above, and considering their overall look and feel, I wasn’t really happy with how tey presented. The colors felt garish and messy, and the whole thing seemed a little unprofessional, even when keeping in mind that it was supposed to look a little jejune. That’s when I tried to implement one of the styles I found during my research.

But defore implementing these looks, I just wanted to get a look at how such a style would present, so I created what is normally called a 'styleframe,' essentially a low-stakes, though fully fleshed out composition that communicates the visual style of an animated piece:

Mostly happy with it, and after sending it off to Carla (who didn’t raise an objection), I set about to begin creating assets and animating them.



I wanted to insert images of actual kids associated with the BCM into this piece, so Carla coordinated, and I thereupon directed a photo shoot right next door to the Museum building space with photographer Joe Martin and a whole bunch of adorable children. Below are some images from the shoot…fun!


Animation Design

From an animation perspective, there were a few complicated things happening in this project – nested clips, 3D cameras panning and tracking over large compositions, depth of field changes, waving capes, etc. – so I spent about an hour just sketching out how the compositions were going to be structured and arranged, and how the camera and different assets were going to move. Below are sketches of how I wanted the movement designed:

For example, I wanted a kind of carousel animation that rotated different ‘Superkid’ poses around in a single scene. Lacking character animation, this was a creative way to change character poses in one scene. The process of creating this animation in After Effects involved a.)creating a rotating null object, parenting three character layers evenly around this null, and then c.)rotating each character layer 120 degrees in the opposite direction as the null to ensure they always faced the camera. But in order to design this movement, I needed to sketch it out:


Here is an example of what this looks like when implemented in AFX:


Initial Draft Animation

I finished the above first draft of the animation in about 3-4 days,. The client was neither jubilant nor confused, but provided the following feedback:

"I like it- we will need to brand it of course with our colors and type and the music is not right but I like it.”

This is good feedback for an initial draft, but, as it turned out, Carla hated the color pink and did not think it was right for the BCM…not at all. The final product must be in line with BCM’s branding. Therefore, I went back to the original storyboards and tried to create a synthesis between the two.


Final Delivery

After a few weeks of reworking animations and completing punchless of changes, I completed the entire broadcast package. In addition to the Intro video outlined above, I created a few other pieces for the package, as specified in the creative brief above. These interstitials and transitions will be used by the videographer to put together a well-paced and exciting video. See below for the final pieces:



Tug-of-War (to the left) transition


Tug-of-War (to the right) transition 


Bus Wipe Transition


Human Pyramid Interstitial


Superkid transition


Superkid transition


Superkid Wipe Transition