Gay Coming Out Animated Short Goes Viral

A short animated film about a high school boy who develops a crush on another boy has gone viral, with almost 6 million views on Youtube.  The 4 minute student film, called In a Heartbeat, is about a closeted boy who “runs the risk of being outed by his own heart after it pops out of his chest to chase down the boy of his dreams.”

The project was started by art students Esteban Bravo and Beth David at the Ringling College of Art and Design, who raised over $14,000 of their $3,000 goal with their  Kickstarter campaign.

“It’s a film that deals with a real and personal topic in a very sweet and lighthearted way,” they wrote on Kickstarter. The two effectively captured the fear that everyone has when they have a crush on someone: that the person you have a crush on doesn’t have one on you, which is how crushes usually work.

“The original pitch was a story between a boy and a girl,” David told NBC News.“But it wasn’t until we made it about a same-gender crush that the idea really started to take form and resonate.”

“We wanted to challenge the preconceived notion that LGBTQ content is not appropriate or suitable for younger audiences,” Bravo said. “It’s an innocent story about a boy and his crush that we hope will resonate with younger people regardless of their background.”

The story is about a boy who is outed by his own heart, which pops out of his chest to chase down another male classmate who the boy has a crush on. The film follows the boy as he tries to contain his heart, which doesn’t seem to be contained.

To develop the story, Bravo and David discussed their own experiences growing up closeted in school. “The success of it just proves that there are audiences ready and hungry for this kind of content,” they said.

Film poster for “In a Heartbeat” Beth David and Esteban Bravo

“The LGBTQ themes are of course front and center, but ultimately it’s a story about a crush,” David said. “That’s something that almost everyone has experienced and can understand — which is kind of the point we were trying to make, that everyone, even gay kids, go through this.”

David and Bravo said the short was a “delicate balance between touching on emotions that can feel universal to everyone while still highlighting experiences that can be unique to LGBTQ adolescents developing their first crush. We tried to tell this story from a genuine place and be as honest as we could about how especially layered this experience is for LGBTQ kids.”

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Anka Radakovich is a legendary Sex Columnist, Certified Sexologist, Sex Therapist, Sex Educator, Screenwriter, and Author of the new book THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, PART 2, Tales from New York to Hollywood. THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, Part 2 is her third book. Her first two books, The Wild Girls Club; Tales from below the Belt, and Sexplorations; Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier were both published by Crown/Random House. She was the Sex Columnist for DETAILS Magazine for 9 years and is currently a Sex Columnist for BRITISH GQ and writes the weekly "Ask Anka"/"Sexual Healing" column for Her writing has appeared in dozens of magazines including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men's Journal, Seventeen, Glamour, and Maxim. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 8 appearances with Conan O’Brien. She was a Jeopardy question under the category “Men’s Mags.” As a Sex Educator and Sexologist, she is a college lecturer at Universities throughout the country who offers her unique brand of sex education. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.