I’ve made a number of short Post Cereals social media animations for my friends at Public Works (in collaboration with Brian Hurley, Chris Henderson, Derek Bitter and others). These are intended as ephemeral content for various brands’ social media presences to keep them current. They are generally accompanied by copy-writing to give them some context, they usually are very short, and they often loop. Besides the long series of them that I did for Pebbles cereal featuring some anthropomorphic animated cereal flakes, I have done a lot of other ones for Pebbles and a number of other Post brands. Here is a sampling of some of them.
If you like your food to be all the colors of the rainbow (even blue- thank you very much George Carlin), you may like these. I made a series of social media ads for my friends at Public Works featuring friendly anthropomorphic cereal flakes. These were made on very tight deadlines, but with a whole lot of creative freedom. Creative lead Chris Henderson generally gave me a theme or loose description to go with, and then he generously trusted me to come up with whatever seemed funny to me. They may not be the best animated things I’ve ever done, but I think I succeeded in making them funny.
Back in 2014, my oldest daughter became obsessed with Pokemon cards. I enjoyed the creativity of the cards, but when we sat down and figured out how to play the game, I found it pretty disappointing… but inspiring! The things that I did not enjoy about that game got me thinking about how a better card-battling game could be designed… and thus SQUIRMISH was born.
After spending a year or so developing, illustrating and testing the game, I initially self-published it using the print-on-demand service The Gamecrafter. I’m more of a maker-of-things than a seller-of-things, though, so I decided I wanted to find a publisher for it. My favorite game publisher, Gamewright, had an open submission policy, so I decided to send a copy of it their way. They were enthusiastic about it, and picked it up to publish in 2018.
Here is the promotional video I made for the game:
As the audience for the game has grown, it has received a number of reviews. Here are a few of them:
“There is a ton of replay ability here… All of the boys, including Dad, are fans of Pokémon and Squirmish has provided a fresh and simple take on card battling games. The variety that is found within the game is really amazing.” – 8 0f 10 Stars at The Dice Have It.
“It’s really fun to play, really funny cards, and really fun to see all the different types of abilities and how you can try to utilize those during each game.” – Landon Squire at How Lou Sees It
“Squirmish is a fun, family-friendly game which surprised me a bit with the depth of play. When I read the rules, I thought that it would be too kiddy-like. While the artistic style and the humorous text on the cards makes it appropriate for kids, the actions on the cards does give the gamer something to work with! … If you’re looking for a game to introduce the concepts of individual card actions and combat, this would be a good choice. It also will be a good filler for gamers looking for a few laughs mixed in with their gaming.” – Dale Yu at opinionatedgamers.com
Currently I am working both on creating an expansion to the initial game, and on a SQUIRMISH video game that I am developing in collaboration with Faust Logic.
For a more thorough summary of the process I went through making SQUIRMISH, you can read this article I wrote about it on Board Game Geek.
Here is a video I made on how to play SQUIRMISH:
I had a fun, quick project last month doing a whiteboard animation for the i.e. network. Technically, I didn’t use a whiteboard, though… I used big sheets of paper, and shot frames of me drawing and moving around post-it notes (or did they move themselves?). It is always a treat to get away from the computer for a while and actually shoot some stop-motion animation. Rick Kupchella at the i.e. network provided me a script to work from, and gave me a generous amount of leeway collaborating on coming up with the visuals. You can see the results below.
I recently built some fun HTML5 banners for Kung Fu Panda and Fruity Pebbles breakfast cereals in collaboration with creative director Brian Hurley and designer Erin Julin. Grab a bowl and a carton of milk and view some of them at the links below.
Along with these projects, I also built a fun little Fruity Pebbles New Years video in collaboration with Brian Hurley and Chris Henderson for the client’s social networking purposes on the holiday, which you can view below.
Pull up a chair, youngsters, and let me tell you about when I started making flash banner ads… back when there was a 30 kilobyte limit! Yes, you heard me right, you had to fit every bit of banner juice you had into the wee thimble of 30 kilobytes. It eventually crawled up to a fat 40 kilobytes, causing much celebration and unrealistic hailing of a new day… and there it remained for over a decade.
In these days of supercomputers in your pocket and cars that drive themselves (drive THEMSELVES! Where do you suppose they go?), HTML5 banner ads have largely replaced flash ones, and necessitated vendors re-examining file size… they seem to be settling around 150k-200K for them. Which is great… but…
40 kilobytes was not a lot to work with. But working within limitations can be fun. Here are some examples where I felt I won the 40k challenge in a big way, stuffing these suckers’ little kilobytes to bursting like a goddamn Thanksgiving turkey.
Flash is going the way of the dinosaur in a little while here, so I’ve converted them to video… and now they are no longer clocking in at those teeny little file sizes. They don’t look as good as they used to, either, lacking Flash’s vector crispness. Progress!
I assure you, this stuff was pretty impressive back in the day. I guess you had to be there.
Although my personal idea of fashion veers towards Hawaiian shirts, I worked on a number of banner, rich media and other campaigns selling the work of the many designers that Target collaborates with. Below are a handful of examples of the many Target fashion and design-related Flash banners I built (now converted to .mp4… RIP Flash). These were all built in my time at Olson, and were made in collaboration with a number of talented designers there (such as Tate Leyba, Montana Scheff, and Kristen Hasler).
I had a number of Flash projects where I had the opportunity to animate illustrations of Target’s canine mascot, Bullseye, for banner ads, rich media and websites… generally under the unforgiving limit of 40 kilobytes or less (unfortunately, I am not aware of who did the charming illustrations these animations were based on). I think I did a pretty good job of breathing life into the cute little corporate shill. You can see many examples below.