Friday, 9 September 2016

Introducing Our New Adventure

Dear Houston,

You may not know our name, but you’ve heard our stories. You’ve heard our voice through the caring reassurance from your Best Neighbors Ever, the wild styles of Trigger Finger Tracy, the focused and driven entrepreneurs of Houston, the peppy Allergy-Free Fred, and even the training of the University of Houston’s best and brightest.

There’s nothing we enjoy more than helping our clients’ develop their stories, but now we have a story of our own to tell. A story created, crafted, and communicated by a group of passionate Houstonians, just like you. More importantly, it is a story of Houston.

We will travel through and across our vast and colorful city. We will explore the ways others see us and the way we see ourselves. We will fantasize, romanticize, and idealize our city’s diversity and remarkability.

We’ll take you through each phase of our process and give you the ultimate behind the scenes look at everything. You’ll see the brainstorming sessions, the script writing, the character development, the 3D preparations, the animation, and even our review sessions. At the end of this journey, you’ll see the product these efforts built and you’ll understand the heart, soul and endless dedication that went into its creation

We want to hear your voice, your questions and your feedback through every step of the way, so please don’t be shy.

So Houston, this is our plan, or rather, our adventure. And it all starts here with a cup of coffee.


Come along this journey with us and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the full behind the scenes look.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Why Brands Should Embrace Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. Whether it’s a fascinating film, a book that you just can’t put down before finishing it, or grandpa’s story of the good ol’ days, people enjoy watching, reading, and hearing stories. Stories entertain us and teach us as we relate to the characters of the story and reflect our own lives through them. Increasingly, brands are embracing storytelling techniques to give their audience what they want, a good story. Storytelling is an extremely compelling marketing tool that engages the audience like no other. But how exactly does storytelling make a difference in marketing communications?

Let’s look at a concrete example and pretend that we run an online store that sells plastic boxes for storing and organizing items at home. The boxes come with a lid that you can easily snap into place, and we offer three different sizes for different storing and organizing purposes. Now, let’s say we want to write a Facebook post to promote the boxes.

“Check out our storage boxes for any home! The boxes have a lid that easily snaps into place and we have three different sizes to accommodate all storing and organizing needs. Visit our online store at www.ouronlineboxstore.com and place an order today!”

How does that post look? All the features of the boxes are listed in the post and we have included a call to action to visit our online store and place an order today. That should do it, right? However, before we post this, let’s try a different approach.

“Allison used to dread having guests. It was not because she didn’t like her family and friends, no. The reason she never invited anyone over was that her house was always so unorganized that it embarrassed her. Socks missing their mate, important documents, and dog toys would all create one big mess that she just didn’t know how to handle! Luckily, she found our boxes with lids that open and close easily, and the three different sizes fit all of her organizational needs perfectly. Now, her home is always ready for guests! Having similar trouble to Allison’s? Visit our online store: www.ouronlineboxstore.com

How is the second post different from the first one? It has all the same information about the product features as the first one, the different sizes and the lid that you can easily open and close. However, while the first post simply stated the facts about the boxes, the second post tells a story. We have a character that our audience can relate to. The character has a problem, and our product helps her resolve it.

Alternatively, we could leave the ending of the story open to make our audience want to learn how it ends:

“Allison used to dread having guests. It was not because she didn’t like her family and friends, no. The reason she never invited anyone over was that her house was always so unorganized that it embarrassed her. Socks missing their mate, important documents, and dog toys would all create one big mess that she just didn’t know how to handle! Sound familiar? Find out how Allison solved her organizational issues: www.ouronlineboxstore.com

Commercials, content marketing campaigns, and websites that tell the audience a story are more engaging than the ones that don’t. Stories activate our emotions, so when the audience can relate to your story, they like you and your products or services more and are more likely to engage with you. Marketing communications that embrace storytelling are also more memorable because people tend to remember stories better than facts. And isn’t that exactly what we want to achieve with marketing? An audience that likes us, engages with us, and remembers us when it’s time to buy.

Do you have any other good examples that prove the power of storytelling? Leave a comment in the comment section below or tweet @Swagger_Media! And if your business has a story that you want to share with the world, go to our website or give us a call at 832-831-7592 and we’ll help you bring it to life.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Don’t Hate, Anticipate

While we animators dream of getting to work on a big budget Disney or Pixar film, many of us find ourselves starting out on smaller scale projects. This can prove discouraging to early animators since the tight budgets and quick turnaround rates constrain us from putting our heart and soul into each and every frame like we did with our college theses. Small-scale character animation projects are rare and when they do arise, we find ourselves having to minimalize poses and cut corners to stay in budget. However, this doesn’t mean we have to throw out the textbook completely. There are ways to incorporate the techniques we were conditioned so well on in order to give even the most simplistic of sequences the heart and feel that we all strive for. The quickest and easiest way that I’ve found to achieve this is through anticipation.

Yes, there’s that word again. The word we animators have heard so many times from tutorials, seminars, books and documentaries. There’s a good reason for that, though, because anticipation (Ah! There it is again!) can immediately boost a sequence’s value. Think about it, if a viewer sees a character anticipating, what are they going to do? Anticipate with it!

But it doesn’t always have to be a big wind up like you’d see in a Warner Brothers cartoon. It can range from a long, exaggerated build-up…
…to just eight or so frames of moving in the opposite direction.
It can even be applied to motion graphics. Again, it doesn’t have to be super elaborate, even the most subtle usage can bring a whole new feel to your work.
Here’s the same sequence without anticipation:
So, while you’re reprioritizing and fast tracking in order to compensate the tight deadlines, don’t be afraid to pull this out of your tool kit. Even if the end user doesn’t see it, they’ll definitely feel it. So if you find yourself working on small scale projects, don’t hate, anticipate.


Are you interested in an animation project? Our team is here to assist you. Give us a call at 832-831-7592!