Nixie and Nimbo is an episodic mini-series created for Odin, a soon-to-launch streaming community uniting leading creative minds and scientists. The story—co-created by Hornet Director Yves Geleyn and Hornet’s Head of Creative Development Kristin Labriola—is designed to teach young kids about anxiety in a relatable and entertaining way. Executed in warm, stylish 2D animation, and spread out over five episodes which were aired on the Child Mind Institute website, Yves created a world that explored themes and tools for children to control their anxiety, rather than letting anxiety control them.
Created & Directed By Yves Geleyn
Production Co Hornet
Executive Producer Alex Unick
Head of Production Sang-Jin Bae
Head of Creative Development Kristin Labriola
Senior Producer Dez Stavracos
Additional Producing Nettie Chen
Editor Sam Stulin, Dylan Leslie
Additional Editing Anita Chao
Edit Assistant Hyeseung Kim
Production Coordinator Nico Benenati
Story Yves Geleyn, Kristin Labriola
Copywriters Vanessa Carney, David Evans
Storyboard Artist Stephanie Dere, Gabriel Lin, Sami Healy
Character Designer Marie Thorhauge
Environment Designer Alejandro Diaz
Environment Design Assist Sebastian Lozano, Diego Diaz, Alison Abitbol, Emma Jansson, Nico Benenati
Style Frames John Matiuzzi
Animation Director Michael Luzzi
Animation TD Mark Pecoraro
Animators Michael Luzzi, Sami Healy, Stephen Moverly, Casey McDonald, Andres Padilla, Kathleen Gleeson, Hyo Bin Kang, Tom Smo, Meredith Nolan, Hazel Zheng, Courtney Vonada, Seongjin Yoon
Clean Up Animators Josh Brennan, Emma Jansson
Compositor Peter Fink, Ted Wiggin, Allison Kocar
Additional Compositing Keith Yan
Executive Creative Director Wilson Brown
Executive Producer Sue Lee
Producer Jennifer Fife
Composer/Sound Designer Spencer Casey
Theme Song Vocalist Dez Duron
Vocal Talent: Nimbo Tim Abou-Nasr
Vocal Talent: Nixie Charlotte Macleod
Additional voices Yves Geleyn, Spencer Casey, Bennett Eiferman, Dominique Vergnes
Client Team Dean Travers, Scott Xiao, Behnam Sattar, Chaki Ng, Endri Angjeli, Felice Ling, Hank Wu, Ketan Mehta, Leslie Forde, Pauline Nuth, Stephanie Gomez, Tristan Dwyer, Zachary Barryte
Long form episodic content isn’t something Hornet normally specializes in. In fact, this was Yves’ first debut with a mini-series of content. But we were drawn to the project both because of Odin’s mission to help young children develop an understanding around anxiety—what it is and how to deal with it—as well as for our own chance to develop a cohesive and ongoing narrative from scratch. The relationship with Odin was super collaborative throughout. Taking their data and facts around childhood anxiety, we developed a story that would demonstrate different techniques for managing anxiety, told through a cinematic lens.
One of the foundational thoughts behind "cinematic medicine" is that you can treat kids more effectively if you take it out of the medical context and make it entertaining. Yves responded by making the two hero characters completely relatable. Nixie is an anxious human character—human, so that kids can connect with her. Nimbo, meanwhile, conveyed as a cloud, is a good representation of anxiety—something that is always shifting and molding, and can float and be anywhere at any given time. The adventures this unlikely pair embark on see them explore various scenarios where they must cope with and conquer their anxieties.
"For me, the best part of this process was balancing the right medical & educational message and still telling a good story. It’s driven by the topic of helping kids with anxiety. But you can enjoy the show without knowing that layer.
Yves Geleyn is a storyteller to his core. He possesses not just a wide range of creative styles and techniques, but also a profound devotion to exposing the small truths that make any story worth telling. For him, technique functions to support the story, not the other way around.
Luckily, Yves is a true master of both. He has a giant toolbox of techniques, but his innate instinct for unearthing the finer details is what makes his work so powerful.
Maybe it's because the details of his own story are so interesting in themselves. Yves was born to a German mother and a French father. His childhood was defined by a mosaic of moveable homes and travels, growing up in Britain, France, Germany, with myriad adventures around the world. His world was an empty canvas, where he could funnel his curiosity—arguably Yves' most defining personality trait—into whatever inkblot shape his passions du jour led him to. He attended rugby school. He attended culinary school. Eventually, he discovered the world of graphic design and motion graphics and fine art.
Over the years, Yves has directed numerous short films and commercial campaigns that have earned him industry awards and major international recognition. His work Monster in the Closet explored the subject of safe gun storage with a powerful and haunting story. His 2014 holiday spot for UK retailer John Lewis, The Bear and The Hare, took the festival circuit by storm and still receives applause from all sides of the industry to this day. His 60-second spot for McDonald’s, Always Working, was aptly indicative of Yves’ quest for perfectionism; he and his team of fifty people spent 12 intensive weeks bringing the spot to life.
Yves is a self-admitted perfectionist. From start to finish, he’s hands-on. By intimately knowing everything possible about a subject matter, he’s able to create an almost subterranean story below the main narrative—something not everyone can see at first, but that they can feel in the finished work. And the finished work has a simple, sweet, timeless quality - like poetry.