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Web Animation / In a Heartbeat

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In a Heartbeat is an animated Short Film created by Esteban Bravo and Beth David, produced at Ringling College of Art and Design.

It follows Sherwin, a middle school boy who is struggling to come to terms with his crush on Jonathan, the most popular boy in school. Sherwin must chase after his own heart to stop it from revealing his true feelings to Jonathan, and the entire student body.

Can be viewed here. Its Tumblr production blog is here. Not to be confused with the live-action Disney Channel series of the same name.

In a Heartbeat provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hand-Hold: When Sherwin tries to grab his heart out of Jonathan's hand.
  • All There in the Script: Sherwin and Jonathan's names are stated behind the scenes.
  • Almost Kiss: The two's faces get pretty close when Sherwin's trying to chase down his heart.
  • Ambiguous Ending: Sherwin and Jonathan's hearts merge. No doubt it means they'll develop a relationship, but whether Jonathan returns Sherwin's feelings or cares about him as friend is left to interpretation.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The Heart. The creators sometimes call it Shirley, which is a gender neutral name.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Jonathan. Word of God confirms he's a mixed Latino.
  • Big Man on Campus: Jonathan is stated to be this. He is the most popular boy at school and seems to be very kind all things considered.
  • Brainy Brunette: Jonathan seems to enjoy reading in his spare time.
  • Cat Smile: Sherwin gives one whenever he sees Jonathan.
  • Cute Bookworm: Jonathan spends most of the short reading intently, and Sherwin sure thinks he's cute.
  • Determinator: Sherwin's heart will not stop until he and Jonathan get together.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After much physical and emotional turmoil, Sherwin and Jonathan are implied to start a relationship.
  • Fade to Black: This is how the film ends.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Pausing and looking at Jonathan's book reveals he's reading The Picture of Dorian Gay.
  • Fiery Redhead: Inverted. The redheaded Sherwin is quite bashful.
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: Obviously one between Sherwin and Jonathan, minus the jock part.
  • Gayngst: Sherwin's struggle with his fear of being outed is central to the film's plot.
  • Heart Beats out of Chest: Very literally in Sherwin's case.
  • Heart Symbol: Part of the movie is about Sherwin trying to literally chase down his heart.
  • Iron Butt-Monkey: Sherwin. It starts with hitting his head on a tree branch and just gets worse from there.
  • The Matchmaker: The Heart does all it can to unite the boys. Justified, as it's a personification of Sherwin's romantic feelings for Jonathan.
  • Maybe Ever After: The short ends with Sherwin and Jonathan sitting under a tree and their hearts merging.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Well, almost. The only vocal effects heard are the heart giggling and Sherwin gasping for breath as he chases it down.
  • Minimalist Cast: Only six characters appear in the short and three of them are just extras.
  • Nice Guy: Jonathan handles Sherwin's strange behavior with patience and consideration. At the end, even after he finds out that he is gay and has a crush on him, he helps him fix his heart and spends some time with him, though it's ambiguous whether it's to just cheer him up or because he returns his feelings.
  • No Peripheral Vision: While he is engrossed in a book, Jonathan manages to miss some significant events happening not too far from him.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Sherwin's heart is strong enough to pull him around.
  • Race Lift: The creators have said Jonathan was made a mixed Latino late into production. They did it to add a "personal touch" to the character, since one of his creators is Mexican.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The creators have stated that due to the film's concept revolving around the fear of being outed, they used light to convey danger and darkness to convey safety. Good examples of both are when Sherwin and Jonathan are in the light brought in from the doorway and are being whispered about by their classmates, and the ending scene where both boys are in the shade of a tree and bonding.
  • Silence Is Golden: Aside a few gasps and grunts, there is no discernible dialogue in the film.
  • Skewed Priorities: Sherwin's heart.
    • It's more concerned about the boys romancing than outing Sherwin to his classmates.
    • It would rather kiss Jonathan than avoid getting eaten alive.
  • Squee: Sherwin's heart reacts this way when it lands in Jonathan's hand.
  • Slow-Motion Pass-By: Sherwin and his Heart get one with Jonathan as they fly over his head.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Inverted. Sherwin's crush makes him want to run and hide from Jonathan.
  • Straight Gay: Neither Sherwin nor Jonathan have any stereotypical gay traits.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Jonathan, though it might be a stretch to say he's tall, since he's only fourteen years old. At the very least, he is slightly taller than Sherwin.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Even Sherwin seems to treat his freaking heart jumping out of his body to go and confess to the boy of his dreams like it's an inconvenient and embarrassing occurrence rather than something more unusual (in fact his reaction makes it seem as though it's happened before), and Jonathan is more confused by it than anything. Played for Drama when the other students see it, as they seem more preoccupied by the fact that they're seeing two boys getting somewhat... intimate with each other.
  • Visual Pun: Sherwin's heart pops out his chest and pursues Jonathan because, "the heart wants what the heart wants."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The apple Jonathan was tossing never seems to land. Esteban and Beth were asked about it when they presented it in class, and Beth's answer was "Animation!"
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Jonathan in spades. He's only 13-14 years old, but reads classic-inspired literature in his spare time, and handles Sherwin's crush with a surprising amount of compassion.
  • Youthful Freckles: Sherwin has some.