There’s a lot going on in the world, in my country and in my state that frightens me. It’s challenging to stay positive, but I’ve found solace in those around me. Both in my personal and work life, and I’m thankful for that.
I recently had the honor to be a part of the post-production team—specifically motion graphics and sound design—of a really special web series that launched on March 1st. It’s called “Tea Time with Alex” and it focuses on educating and spreading the message of understanding, inclusion and acceptance of the transgender community. It features Alex Hopkins, my sassy, tattooed, and transgender man co-worker, answering viewer questions about a myriad of trans topics.
Alex is THE star of the show, no doubt, and he doesn’t need any help to carry the message. Once the content edit was locked, I was tasked with adding graphics to each episode. I wasn’t given much direction other than, “we think there’s an opportunity to add some graphics in each episode.” OK. Can do.
We had a designer, Shane Smith, create a logo and caricature of Alex and I was pointed to the folder on the server with these items. So I have some brand assets, a color palette, and two fonts to work with. I watch the episodes and they genuinely make me laugh out loud (AKA LOL). And the content is friggin’ spectacular. I’m jacked. The editor and director, Max Zampieri, did an outstanding job on the edit. He beautifully toed that hazy line of “we don’t want this to look like we spent a bazillion hours on the edit, but it also has to have a coherent, concrete message.”
I didn’t want to add motion graphics just for the sake of adding motion graphics because it’s in my job description. I didn’t want to “one-up” Max’s edit or distract from Alex’s charisma and intelligence. I didn’t want to screw this up. I needed to add the right amount of polish to elevate the series just enough. I needed to give it the Goldilocks treatment.
It’s with that “less is more” mindset that I used to approach the series. Let me be clear, that does not equate to spending less time on the graphics. They have to be consistent, both in appearance and the way they animate on/off screen, and they have to be legible. They have to REINFORCE the messaging, not distract FROM.
The episodes are short in duration and I wanted to sparingly pepper in the graphics. Most of the graphics are see-say and simply appear on and off screen. Not a lot of motion needed. There were a few opportunities for simple motion tracking and I am very pleased with the result. Adding sound effects to most of the graphics was just one more method to polish the series.
It’s a project like “Tea Time with Alex” that really invigorates me both professionally and personally. There’s a lot of negativity in our lives right now and I firmly believe that one way to constructively combat it is to educate and connect with both our known and unknown communities. I hope “Tea Time with Alex” does just that. Check out all the videos over at the Tea Time with Alex YouTube channel.
This article was written by former Myriad Editor and Motion Designer Meredith Schmidt.