#MeetTeamBacke: Brian Cassidy

Unlocking animation’s storytelling power

Beyond the world of entertainment, animation and visual effects continue to have a strong impact on the way we can tell stories or make content more engaging. When done well, it can do more than just convey information; it can also charm a cynical audience, entice someone to take action, or explain an arcane concept.

We sat down with Backe Interactive Designer, Brian Cassidy, to give us a sneak peek into unlocking animation’s storytelling power, as well as how we can use newer tools and trends to make these stories come alive for our audiences. (Interview edited for length and clarity.)

Erica: Okay, without going through the entire history of animation, take us through the general process you follow.

Brian: Well, it’s essentially the same process as design. Sitting down and putting together a concept: What’s your narrative? What do you have to say? What do you want the audience to do or feel?

Usually, I start with pencil sketches or a moodboard, to get the rough concept across.

Then I decide what level of finish I want it to have (e.g. hand-drawn or highly polished). I decide the color I want to go with, the line quality, the use of shape. And then I go back to the pencil sketch and put it all together. It’s a process that starts with a concept or design and moves into animation. I usually show the team or the client a proof of concept as well – especially if it involves characters, complex transitions, or lots of story elements.

Erica: Got it. So let’s talk about how this might work in social. In Facebook, people are just scrolling through their feeds, and sound is turned off until they launch the window. How does that affect the animation?

Brian: People are looking at those types of animations quickly. They’re like bite-sized nuggets. So in that respect, you’re making something that will catch people’s eye without worrying about sound. But I’m still thinking about sound or effects when I put them together, assuming many will engage with it.

Erica: Why do you think animation is an important part of marketing or advertising?

Brian: I think there’s something compelling on a human level you can tap into. For me, it can be more interesting than a talking head of someone trying to explain what they’re selling to you or what it is they do. A really creative animation can feel very entertaining and draw you in before you realize it. You don’t want to feel like you’re being sold to. I think it’s more inviting, tastier.

Erica: How can businesses or brands incorporate animation into their marketing efforts?

Brian: I think social media is one of the biggest ways. You can make really cool things that can go viral or reach a large and receptive audience very quickly. The technology is also allowing things to get simpler, as far as the execution. What ultimately still comes into play is your concept and how well it represents you or your brand.

Erica: Thanks Brian. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your next piece.

Stay tuned to Backe social, when we unravel the mysteries behind an ad team’s every day work – from design to strategy to social media and more – in our #MeetTeamBacke series.

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