This month, we’re going to talk about our creative process a little bit.

It all begins with a conversation. In a lot of cases, this comes about after they hear about our animation services, either from us or from a (very helpful and gracious) referral source.

"I'm ready!"

“You should talk to Cranial Island!”-Great referral source

Some of them specifically seek us out (Hurray for SEO). Generally, all these conversations revolve around a need or problem that a potential client has, with regards to marketing their product or explaining how it works. Ideally, animation is a service we can provide to solve these problems, either through drawing attention to specific examples or processes, or to synthesize complex ideas into more easy digestible ones.

We are easy to digest when we are so little!

Once a potential client is comfortable and ready to move forward, there’s a few different ways things can go. Some clients might have a fully formed idea for a video, and can readily provide detailed examples and notes of what they want. This is, at once, awesome (hurray for preparation) and a challenge (making sure the content we create fits their vision). A key point we always try to hit is making sure to ask a lot of questions.

'Cause I'll answer all of 'em!

‘Cause I’ll answer all of ’em!

Do these story beats create a tone that reflects your product or your services? Does this kind of pacing gel with your average customer’s attention span? Do we want to meet your audience’s expectations or (evil grin) subvert them? The idea we’re trying to hone in on here is that the details matter, and a small change early in the process can make a huge different later on.

Details Matter

Other clients might instead have a specific goal they want to reach with their video (“I need to boost page views X% and raise conversions by Y%”) but aren’t really committed to one specific way of doing so. Our first step here is to…. ask a lot of questions (See a theme?). We like to discuss how they’ve marketed or presented themselves in the past, and (most relevantly) find out why their now looking into creating an animated video. As a general rule, if their services are easy to understand and they’re looking for a way to stand out from the rest of the pack, we like to highlight the user experience, and create memorable stories or concepts to promote their brand.

Maybe we should have put the Brand first

On the other hand, if their services are more complex and less soundbite-able, it helps sometimes to just dive right into the details. This doesn’t mean that we’ll try to cram every nuance and variable into a 60-second video (that’s crazy talk), but more that we’ll see if there’s a way we can use such devices as allegory and metaphor to help make some of their key themes a little less intimidating to Joe Average Viewer. Once a few key points to hit are decided upon, creating a rough script to refine actually becomes a much simpler process (though rest assured, it’s a good idea to take your time here just as much as anywhere else).

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-2-37-46-pm

So, here we are, a whole heap of words later, and we’re looking like we’re pretty close to our word limit here. Fortunately, the most important part of this whole process is preparation. Once ideas are laid out and solidified, the actual mechanics of video-creation becomes pretty rote. We could thrill you with the details of in-betweening and key framing (oh noes, this character’s pose at frame 134 doesn’t quite fall right in between the poses at 133 and 135! TO THE ANIMATING MACHINE!) (This actually happens).

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But, honestly, none of these later endeavors will amount to a hill of beans if the video isn’t built on a sturdy thematic and narrative foundation in the first place. Or rather, it will instead be an immaculately-crafted trainwreck, which might be entertaining on its own merits, but probably not the best way to communicate anything worthwhile. To recap: Preparation is key, and probably the single part of this whole process that we lose the most sleep over.

Hope everyone has a great October, and we’ll see you next month!