Region 10 Education Service Center approached us for help with a project – an animated video to promote an expansion project, to renovate a part of their facility, and convert it to a learning lab that would allow teachers to experiment with a variety of educational methods and techniques that they just can’t do in their own classrooms. Who is Region 10? From their website:

Region 10 Education Service Center is one of 20 regional service centers established by the Texas State Legislature in 1967 for the purpose of providing services to the school districts within a defined geographic region. Regional service centers are non-regulatory, have no taxing authority, and provide services for which participation is voluntary on the part of the local school district. Region 10 Education Service Center, located in Richardson, provides services that impact more than 750,000 students and 65,000 educators in 80 public school districts, 41 Charter Schools, and numerous private schools in the 8 counties (and portions of a 9th) in north Texas that comprise the Region 10 Service Area.

Region 10 provided us with a rough draft of a script, and asked us to take the ball and run with it. We first rewrote the script, to make it shorter, more focused, with a clear sense of history, purpose, and an unmistakable call-to-action at the close. We discussed a variety of animation styles with the client. One interesting challenge was that they were not yet at the stage where they had actual architectural renderings of the new space, as they’d not yet selected an architect for the project. We had to improvise graphics and animations, based on what they want to have in the new space, without actually knowing how it will look or function.

Stylistically, we riffed off of graphics reminiscent of international street signage (school crossings, et cetera), giving a familiar, yet friendly and modern feel to the piece.

The challenge with business animation is to provide enough “eye candy” to make it visually compelling, without overwhelming the message and taking attention away from the real purpose of the video – communicating their story. In a similar vein, it’s essential to use universally-understood metaphors, and not get too “inside baseball” or “too hip for the room.” As an example, we used football and rocket metaphors to illustrate the abstract concept of goals and results – two subjects that are widely familiar to the video’s intended audience.

Of course, one of the hallmarks of our work is a subtle sense of humor. You can see that in places like towards the end of the video, where we show a teacher controlling a robot reminiscent of the Iron Giant with a remote control. If you’re a fan of the movie, you’ll pick up on that. If not, it won’t leave you scratching your head.

Ideally, the script, the voiceover, and the animation work in concert, to deliver the client’s message in a compelling fashion, achieving the goal effectively. So how did we do? So far, the feedback has been universally positive, with comments like these:

The video was great – perfect length to be substantive yet concise; makes a clear connection between the classroom of old and the minimal changes to today and shows the vision of what could be; states what is needed from the viewer. Great work.

We’re thrilled that we were able to create an animated presentation that effectively delivered their message. We’d love to do the same for you.

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