GLENDALE, Calif.— Kids suffering from cancer get advice on dealing with the loneliness that accompanies long hospital stays in a sweet animated short created by Renegade Animation for the Imaginary Friend Society. The star of the piece is a cuddly, blue yeti named Yuri, and she’s certainly an expert in loneliness as she’s camped out in the middle of a desert with no one around but her own make-believe friends. Yuri suggests that when undergoing complex medical procedures or when family members are away, kids can use their imaginations to conjure their own companions. “When you have an imagination,” she says, “you’re never really alone.”
Being by Yourself is one of 20 animated shorts produced by the Imaginary Friend Society, a joint project of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and advertising agency RPA. Each short tackles a different cancer-related subject in a warm and child-friendly manner. Their aim is to help kids get through scary times by providing them with useful information and guidance in a way that they can relate to.
RPA’s creative team came up with the idea of using a yeti in a desert as a symbol for loneliness, and Renegade’s animation team brings the concept to life with thoughtfulness, gentle humor and charm. “We wanted to capture how it feels for a child to be in a place where there’s no one else around,” explains Renegade Animation Director Darrell Van Citters. “And we wanted to show how you can magically fill the space with friends and zoom through it in your mind.”
The colorfulness and whimsical style of the animation makes the serious underlying message palatable to young minds. “Yuri has the personality of a kid and she has an optimistic outlook on life,” says Designer John Bajet. “She may be experiencing a dark time—she’s a winter creature who has been plopped into a foreign place—but she knows how to make something out of nothing.”
Being by Yourself, along with other films in the series, can be viewed on the Imaginary Friend Society website. Renegade Animation Executive Producer Ashley Postlewaite notes that the film won’t shorten hospital stays or eliminate the sadness experienced by sick kids, but it could help them cope with their feelings. “It’s wonderful to contribute to a project that may help families and kids get through the toughest time in their lives,” she says. “We’re proud of the enthusiasm and passion our people brought to this project and thrilled to be a part of the campaign.”
Renegade Animation is located at 111 E. Broadway, Ste. 208, Glendale, California 91205. Call 818.551.2351 or visit www.renegadeanimation.com
Title: Being by Yourself
Project: Imaginary Friend Society
Client: Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Animation: Renegade Animation. Darrell Van Citters, Director; Ashley Postlewaite, Producer; Brittney Jorgensen, Production Manager; Todd Cronin, Storyboard; John Bajet, Designer; Austin Doyle and Randy Sanchez, Riggers; Zach Mekelburg Roman and Ng Lok, Animators; Austin Doyle and Zach Mekelburg, Effects Artists.
Music: We Are Walker
Sound Design: Lime Studios