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The Closer

With: collaboration project with Mike Edel, Jorge Canedo Estrada, Henrique Barone, Cesar St. Martin, Breno Licursi

Roles: storyboard, compositing, additional animation.

THE CLOSER is an animated music video for musician and songwriter, Mike Edel. The song and animation is based on Mike’s personal experiences. Here’s how he describes it:

“I wrote a song called The Closer. It's a story about a pitcher in a small town, a lot like the one I grew up in, who is pitching a perfect game into the 9th inning. But his mom runs onto the mound and tells him that he needs to leave the game because his dad has had

a farming accident. So the coach brings in the closer with a 2-0 lead in the 9th inning.

He gives up a walk. Then a single. Then a home-run. They lose the game 3-2 in the 9th.

I think that sometimes we think that these small moments in small towns don't matter, but the truth is that they do.

The baseball diamonds, and the hockey rinks and the community centers are the theaters where life takes place for these people. They are the stages that hold the metaphors for the joys and the tragedy's of simple life. Everybody comes in the heat of a short summer and sits there, cheering and groaning and feeling joy and heartbreak together. And they all love baseball.”

Mike is a good friend with Jorge Canedo Estrada who was a director for this project.

I was very excited when Jorge Canedo Estrada approached me and my friend Cesar St. Martin to work on the project. Later on, I found out that legendary animator Henrique Barone and talented animator Breno Licursi were already on board, which was a great sign that this project was going to be very fun.

But it was going to be a big challenge to finish a four-minute animated music video in less than a month.

The Closer team photo.jpg

Note: Breno Licursi is not in the photo because he was working remotely at the time.

After Mike, Jorge, and Henrique had already planned a strong look and direction on where the project should go, Cesar and myself helped develop the storyboard to come up with how the story will flow through the piece. After the storyboard stage went smoothly, Cesar came up with the art direction and layout which was very promising and made everyone in the team see a clear vision.


The Closer_styleframe.jpg

During that time, Henrique was working on developing the character design and the look and feel of the character animation. After we knew that we were going in the right direction, Henrique and Breno started the full production of the character animation.

Character Design

The Closer_Characters design_01.jpg

Character Animation

Note: Please check the full process of the character design and animation on Henrique’s website

and you can see more work on Breno’s portfolio.

While the illustrations and character animation are being produced based on the storyboard, I started exploring the compositing stage by playing with the look and feel in a couple shots so I could show the rest of the team and discuss more about the details.

With all we had done up to that point, we agree that this project will be one of our favorites!


For me the challenge was how to use all  the resources we had created and create lighting, camera movement, and depth of field to create the emotion and atmosphere in each shot and tell the story from start to finish.

The reason I added the lighting and atmosphere was to bring the song, emotions, and visualizations together as one piece. For me, it’s very important to pay attention to how small details can support the sensation of the whole piece, even if the audience isn’t 100% aware of it.