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The Imaginary Friend Society

"Being Scared"

Client: RPA / Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation
Concept, Design, Direction, Animation, Composite

You're Stronger Than You Think

L.A. agency RPA approached us to participate in their upcoming pro-bono initiative for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation called “The Imaginary Friend Society”. This is a collection of short films designed to help children dealing with cancer understand some of the procedures and emotions that they will be experiencing during their treatment. This immediately struck us something worth getting behind and helping out with. Along with some of the other top design and animation studios worldwide, we selected a topic and were given free range to interpret that visually.

We were immediately drawn to the topic of “Being Scared” as something universal that all of these children would be dealing with during their treatment. With this we wanted to try and create a world that felt connected to a hospital recovery room but was brought to life magically through the imagination of the patient within it. We hope that our small part of this project helps bring a little bit of joy and understanding to the people who see it. 

To learn more about the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation or to make a donation, please visit their website here.

"Being scared is part of life, everyone feels it."

Character Design

We had a blast designing a handful of playful and memorable imaginary characters for this project. It was important to us that the characters felt like they were out of a child’s imagination without being too alien or surreal. We wanted their personality to come through not only with their actions but also with their design.

Pico the Flying Squirrel uses his tail like a helicopter to fly around the room. Pico’s sidekick Pollo never leaves his side and mimics his every move. Pitbull is actually a funny little dude in a pitbull costume who is secretly scared of vacuum cleaners and Pico’s Shadow is initially a bit scary but turns out to be a friendly coffee companion. 

Modeling & Animation

In order to maximize the charm and personality of our characters we decided to create the whole world in 3d. This allowed us to really push the animation to be as dynamic and fun as possible. Once we modeled the characters, we rigged them up and created keyframe animations for each of the shots based on our boardomatics.


We crafted an idealized hospital recovery room filled with lots of fun details and soft natural light. Within this space the imagination runs wild as the different scenes are created within it. 


"You get courage after you do something scary, not before."

- An old wise Imaginary Friend