What does the font say?

What is a story? How do you tell it in a logical, compelling way? What are the different components of it? How can audio and video add (or subtract from it)? These were all questions that I started to ponder when I joined DS106. I felt like I had a pretty good decent understanding of storytelling. I had a great storytelling role model in my dad so some may even say that I was pretty good at telling my own yarns. However, this class really pushed me to re-evaluate my definition of storytelling, the structure in which to tell a story and the technical vehicles I could use (most of which were totally foreign to me).

My inspiration for my final project came during Week 3 and 4. My final project is the coming of age short animated film about Calvin Font, a 12 (pt) year old who’s trying to find his place in the Word…I mean world. šŸ™‚Ā Ā In following the story spine,Ā Calvin needs to write a paper for school about who he’s most like. He approaches his mom who decides to enlist the help of other family members to help Calvin find out. Calvin then starts on a journey across the world to learn more about his family. Throughout these encounters, Calvin learns a little more about his family…and ends up learning a lot more about himself. In drafting the story, I tried to incorporateĀ some of the clues for a great for a story. I also developed based on one of my favorite books growing up, “Are you my mother?” And…since I was working on the project on Mother’s Day, I had to keep off of the moms top of mind. The title of the project came on a twist from the YouTube smash hit, “What does the fox say?” I thought the creative title would spark interest as suggested in DS106’s Blog likeĀ a Champ.

In crafting the story, I opted to use an animated movie as my canvas since I had started my DS106 journey analyzing an animated Pixar flick so I thought it was only fitting to return to my roots. Although I appreciate the importance of layering audio, I opted for music only to give it more of a Charley Chaplin-style B&W film. Plus, since the movie is about FONTS, I wanted the audience to pay attention to the subtle nuances between the font types rather than other outside audio. If not, the differences between the characters is hard to understand. The song selected was Kalimba by Mr. Scruff. The movie is about the adventures of Calvin Font so I thought it was fitting with a kind of upbeat but determined sound. Character inspiration came from an article on font typesĀ and what they say about you. In placing Calvin’s character, I always made sure he was looking to the right towards his new future with a better sense of belonging. Given some of the tool limitations, I was not able to explore more with the different axis or camera angles.

The short was pulled together using a web tool called Moovly. It is free software that allows users to create animated movies and presentations.Ā Since IĀ had pushed myself to use new tools throughout the semester, IĀ decided to continue the trend. I went to the Moovly website, created an account and downloaded the software. When I had decided to make an animated video, I started with using Crazy Talk Animator but I found the software challenging to use (Note: I’m not technically savvy). CreatingĀ content with Moovly was very easy. They hadĀ an in-tool tutorial as well as someĀ online videosĀ that I watched before getting started.Ā All of theĀ images and animation options came from the Moovly library and were pre-loaded.Ā They did have an option for me to import pictures but I elected not to. To create the video, I simply dragged and dropped the images. IĀ could then resize, formatĀ and animate in a format very similar to working within PowerPoint. I could adjust the timing of the objects and animation very similar to working with Audacity. As the video grew in content, more and more frames with the images/animations were added in. All in all, I would DEFINITELY recommend the Moovly tool. It was really fun to create! Although this may not become an epic clip like Van Dammeā€™sĀ Volvo commercial, I hope you enjoy!

 

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Final Project Idea: Self Help…for Fonts!

Last week, I proposed doing a final project on how the usage of fonts can create a mixed message.Ā The professor suggested creating aĀ self-helpĀ group for misunderstood fonts. That got me thinking…could I create a story about a misunderstood font and his bad news bearsĀ group of friends – other fonts with other notorious reputations.

Based on Pixar’s Storytelling Rules, everyone loves an underdog who they can resonate with…and who HASN’T been understood at some point in time? I was thinking that I could create a similar underdog story much like the commercial I reviewed a few weeks earlier.

I could leverage appropriate sounds to indicate the emotions and design similar to the commercial below. Through the “story”, the group could encounter different graphic designs that seem to “mock” the font. For example, whenever Comic Sans encounters a clown, it has a comic sans name tag. The more I think about this idea, the more I think it could be pretty fun to create…similar to this self help job ad.

 

Final Project Idea: Mixed Messages with Font

I had to chuckle when I watched the John Stossel on Graphic Design video that ends with ā€œnever use Comic Sansā€. It reminded me of an email that came out a few years back. As context, Dan Gilbert, a highly successful businessman from the Detroit area and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, published an open letter to fans after LeBron James announced he was leaving the team for the Miami Heat. The letter contained lots of strong language including the sentence, “I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER ā€˜KINGā€™ WINS ONE.”

The interesting thing about the letter is that it was published in Comic Sans. So, despite the clear display of negative emotions, the font really sent a mixed message that if you just looked at it, kind of made you happy.

As a final project idea, are there other published letters/signs/etc. that send a mixed message because of the font used.

Final Project Idea: The Importance of Grammer and Punctuation

I create training material for a living. Grammer and punctuation play a HUGE part in helping people understand the content. I saw a post on Facebook earlier in the week about how the correct punctuation “saves lives” when used correctly. Below is a another good example. For my final project, I’m toying around with the idea of creating story on how to use grammer and punctuation to clarify or change meaning. I’m still not 100% on how I could make this work but I think it might be helpful, especially as I continue to work with team members who speak English as a second language.

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Final Project Idea: Life at 50,000 Feet

I travel about 75% of the time so I spend a good portion of every week on an airplane. Most people think my life is like the George Clooney movie Up in the Air. In a lot of ways, it is. BUT…in a lot of ways, it isn’t. WhenĀ I’m on campus recruiting, I often get asked how I manage everything.Ā I want to provide instructions on how I manage, especially after navigating airports and flights after one of the snowiest winters on record!

The story spans across basic logistics to relationships.
Airports: Which ones to choose; which ones to avoid
Flights: Which ones to choose; which ones to avoid
Flight Alternatives: What are the options when logistics don’t go as planned
Packing: What/how do you pack
Relationships: How do you maintain balance and perspective

Final Project Idea: The Truth about Cats and Dogs

I’ve had a dog for about 10 years. He’s my best buddy. About 4 years ago, I took a job where I travel each week. My dog stays with my parents Monday – Thursday. There are lots of different articles on how to be a single parent and how to be a great dog owner. But, I haven’t found great information that talks about how to be a great single parent dog owner. I want to tell my story and the great bound I still maintain with my dog.