Making an Explainer Video: Cortnie’s Story

Back in 2016, we had the very special opportunity of making an explainer video for the Jewish Board of New York. The video is about a person named Tom. Specifically about how Tom’s life was transformed by the support he received from the Jewish Board as a boy. You can view Tom’s story video here. For us, the video was special in another way too. It allowed us to discover a talented young Zimbabwean artist named Lance who now works for us.

In like fashion, we were excited to make the next video for their 2017 gala! This time the story was about Cortnie, a beautiful entrepreneurial woman whose life was drastically changed after a car accident. Below is the final video we created:


The Brief

Evidentally, making an explainer video involves the production team as well as the client! Our clients, Ned and Richard, stressed how important it is to tell the story of Cortnie’s road to recovery and ultimately how she ended up at The Jewish Board. The video needed to be a realistic reflection of this part of her life, it had to be completed in time for their gala event in about 2 months’ time. Which is considered an extremely tight deadline for a 4-minute video, especially given that we had lots of detailed illustrations in mind.



Our team-member Alma took on the role of producer. She had worked on their previous video and was experienced working with tough deadlines. As a result of the super tight turnaround needed, Alma jumped in and created a schedule for our in-house team to adhere to.

Alma sitting at her desk.
“Working with our Jewish Board clients again, Richard and Ned, was a real pleasure and honour. These guys know what they want, are responsive and fun, which made the process easy.” – Alma



The client felt strongly that Cortnie had to play a big role in the writing process. Therefore Cortnie had a huge role to play in the messaging of the video. We believe this helped to add a personal touch and some authenticity to the video. Thereafter, our founder Priscilla helped tighten things up to get the script ready for the next stage: recording Cortnie’s voice!


Design & Storyboarding

Our animators Lance & Mluleki were on the job, supported by Andre our art director. Making an explainer video has many steps! Firstly, some style frames were created.

Making an explainer video

Next, it was time for storyboarding. For the storyboard, we decided to do a rough version of only the keyframes of the video. This was a necessary decision, as it helped us stay on track with the deadline.

Making an explainer video


Late Nights & Long Weekends

We had a mountain of work to do and our guys Lance and Mluleki put in some really late hours to make it happen.

Mluleki and Lance working on the video. width=



After the artwork was created, Lance and Mluleki got stuck in animation. Near the start of this, we sent a short preview to the client which thankfully received good feedback, so we were on our way. The animation step took roughly one month to complete in total.


Sound Design

Once the design and animation step was completed, it was time for sound. Our sound engineer Emer made some music suggestions and we settled on an inspirational acoustic track that we thought worked well with Cortnie’s voice.


Client Testimonial

“The feedback we’ve gotten from guests was very positive and, in addition, Cortnie mentioned how much this helped her on her own path to recovery (so thank you for your support in doing that!).”

-Richard Gambale, Jewish Board


How did we celebrate after all the hard work?

With a delicious team breakfast on our lawn, of course! In truth, this was a project near and dear to the entire Piehole.TV team. As such, we celebrated as a team!

Piehole celebration
Piehole celebration


Thinking about making an explainer video for yourself?

Are you thinking about creating a storytelling video for your project? Get in touch.