Persuasion: A post- mortem of Dementia Friends

I don’t fully believe that my Dementia Friends project was as completely successful as I would have liked it to have been. I think I made some mistakes on a technical level which made the outcome, in regards to the video, slightly more crude than I would have liked. The problem was that I had never really done stop motion before, and because of that I made a few key mistakes that I didn’t foresee during production. Principally, I should have taken a lot more care with the lighting levels whilst capturing the images. the camera was automatically making changes to the white balance depending on how much of the black background was on the screen.  I will be attempting to make changes to this in Premier Pro, although I fear it will be a frame- by- frame job.

The client was kind enough to email us individual feedback for us to work on;

Billy Barnes – Enjoyed the video, very good clear message, you took on board what Pat our resident said how she felt about living with dementia. Could it be more colourful? I’m no graphic designer so I’ll leave this with you to decide.

I am glad that it was obvious I had taken on information from our discussions. As for colour, I understand the issue. the posters themselves being mainly dark grey. I think that its important that the background isn’t colourful itself as it allows the colours of the paper- people to pop. Perhaps I could improve it by increasing the vibrancy of the colours involved? Similarly, I may see if i can decrease the darkness of the background just a hair, as I had multiple printing issues with the shadow of the paper- chain not showing up against the background after print.

I also reviewed the feedback gained from my tutor:

Your presentation slides are well constructed with a consistent, thoughtful connection with the colours of the Dementia Friends flower. The embedded animations all worked without any hiccups. You worked well as a team in setting this up and in delivering it to your clients and general audience. You should have introduced yourselves at the beginning however.

You introduced the presentation clearly and with confidence. When presenting your own work you were suitably animated with good positive body language. You need to try to reduce the number of times you say “sort of like” when presenting in future however. Your idea is simple and clearly communicates working together. The images on the poster and Facebook post square work well but the social media banner does not have the nice shadow like the others. The shadow gives it depth and makes it more interesting. Some items need more information on them to make it clear what the viewer can do to become a friend.

The animation has a charm despite its unsophisticated production standards but needs to have a consistent, dense black background. Some shots reveal a textured, lighter background which interrupts the narrative – it should be the same background all through. Some of the transitions are a little crude and need refinement I feel. The hand across the image happens so quick it doesn’t communicate your intentions. The character in what looks like bandages also is a little confusing. The lines that appear when the character disappears is too playful and is not needed. The audio is also a little too playful and light for the subject matter. Perhaps it would be better without the backing track altogether but with the voice over being a bit louder. The voice over is well written and clearly delivered and communicates the narrative well. Despite all these comments I feel that with further refinement, this could be a very successful outcome.

In regards to the presentation: Im glad for the feedback on us not introducing ourselves; I didn’t even realise! I think I was so nervous it completely passed me by. I am encouraged by the fact I was perceived as being confident however, because I most certainly did not feel that way. I have learned however that its never a case of feeling confident as much as acting confident. I will likely always hate presentations and speaking in front of any number of people, but as long as I can literally do it well its no massive deal. If I don’t find myself with every presentation I do more confident, I most certainly find myself more functional and thats progress.

Attention is called to the changing background which I have already talked about here, and is something I’m going to try my best to fix. Ideally, I would capture the whole thing once more under improved conditions, perhaps with the camera set to have a fixed white balance to ensure the background stays dark. As to the “pop” lines when the central figure disappears, looking back I’m not sure exactly what I was going for. I feel like the whole thing in my head was inspired in part by the Change4Life campaign, and the lines were a direct result of that influence. Of course, this animation doesn’t have any of the same kind of cheerfulness as the Change4Life initiative so just seems out of place here. They will go.  Lots of the feedback seems to stem from the fact I was recording it at about 8 frames per second; the transitions would have likely seemed a lot less clumsy and something like the hand would have been in frame for longer should I have stuck with 12 or even 24 frames. I was trying to find a happy medium where the animation didn’t seem to janky whilst not ending up having to spend too many weeks getting it captured. What little experience I have with animation, doing a rotoscoped piece last year, I did myself a disservice by trying to animate in too many frames per second and ending up spending far, far too long on what ended up being a fairly low quality and incomplete one minute of footage.

I have a feeling the whole concept could be pared back to its core components to make a higher quality final outcome. A friend working on their persuasion piece recently showed me a gif they had created to improve on an animation they had originally submitted. It stripped the whole concept down to its core, and worked so so much better for it. I think thats the problem with my idea here; it was just a little bit too bloated. It could have been a much more simple solution if some extraneous elements were to be removed. Just like in the S4C brief, I learn once again that it is always best to Keep It Simple (Stupid). I think thats the biggest take away from this project: I need to learn to not add more than I need to, and focus on doing what is needed to a high, high quality. It would have also helped if I didn’t try to create a final outcome in a completely new medium I had never tried before first time around in a short time span, haha.

 

 

Persuasion: Animation #2

I re- recorded the animation in a better edit suite, with way more preparation. It came out a lot nicer! Here it is right here, the password is CSAD.

I had originally recorded my script onto my phone, just so I had something to lay on the original animation, so I also did a new recording with a proper microphone I rented from the uni. I actually chopped a sentence out of the script to make it fit better.

I put the whole thing together on Premier Pro; both the raw animation and the voice over work needing chopping up and editing down and moving around. This was kind of my first time attempting a large project on premier pro, but I got a hang of it quite quickly. I’m glad I can now say I know how to use it. I also used After Effects for the one pop effect in the middle, as well as putting the title cards at the end. Sorted.

Persuasion: Animation #1

Following meetings & research, I felt ready to create an animation for posting on Derwen’s social media. I spent some time writing script for animation, and working up a storyboard. Theres will be a little bit more information on this in my R&D pdf. Either way, I worked out the shots I would need to get, cut out the appropriate paper- chains and booked out a place in the edit suites at university.

 

This is what a day of work got me:

Find original animation Post a link here. 

What I’ve learned

Making my first and rough stop motion animation will be a necessary step in producing a decent final outcome; there was plenty I did wrong just because of lack of experience and not knowing exactly what to prepare for. For my second iteration I ‘m going to be much better prepared; I’ve spent some money on some nice black card, I’ve made sure I booked out a different edit suite, and I’ve prepared a lot more figures too. I wanted to produce an effect where a character shrank into nothing, and I thought I would be able to do that with a bit of sneaky zoomingand cutting down the model with paper but it didn’t quite turn out how I wanted. I have come up with a better solution on my second pass.   

Persuasion: Initial Ideas, More Meetings

We had another meeting scheduled with our client, this time bringing along some residents from their housing itself. Myself and my team all came back with several of our own ideas, of which we pitched too our client and their tenants.

Idea 1: Hands

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With this idea I thought it would be nice to show on an intimate level the positive effects of being able to help and connect with someone with dementia. The idea was basically in a short animated format, possibly even a .gif, to portray an elderly hand on something like an armrest. The hand shows increasingly anxious body language, before another hand reaches over and rests on it, comforting the first hand. then it would cut to a call to action which would be something like “its easier than you think to be a dementia friend, ask staff about attending a session today”.

Idea 2: Paper Chains

My second idea was less direct, and involved paper chains people.

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For this idea I wanted to work with the idea of creating a safety net in the Derwen community with the Dementia Friends program. In my research as well as through the meeting with the client I got the distinct notion that dementia was very isolating for those living with it so I thought it would be appropriate to focus on bringing communities together around those with dementia, and that the course allows you to continue being friends as best you can, and that its beneficial for the both of you. Whilst this idea came to me as a poster, I knew that it would be workable into a short animation using real paper chains.

With these ideas in mind, I chaired the meeting between the group and the client with their tenants. The meeting itself was a useful learning experience for me. It went better than the first one, with a lot less minor technical slip ups. It was also incredibly information rich, the folks who we talked too very very eager to give us lots of helpful feedback and insight, particularly from one lady who lived with Alzheimers; she helped me understand how I might portray a condition such as dementia on a paper- chain person. The residents interest and enthusiasm for the paper- chain concept has encouraged me to pursue it as my main concept.

I went in fairly nervous to this meeting, but it turned out to be a really pleasant, useful experience. Whilst I am still not a massive fan of organising people or running things, I genuinely am starting to feel like its something I have the skills to do.

Persuasion: Client Meetings

After a meeting with Tutor Ian with my group, and a short discussion about organising a parking space and meeting room for us, I contacted the client and set up a meeting for my group, for last Tuesday.

The meeting itself was very helpful, both for clarifying elements of the brief, and as a learning experience for how to deal with clients. For instance; whilst I hadn’t had oversight for parking and a meeting room, I did forget to find out what our client looked like before the meeting meaning we ended up sitting across the room from each other without realising we were meeting each other  for a good five minutes.

Something particularly valuable that I took from the meeting was the fact that a greater number of the residents living in Derwen are computer users and would actually be more receptive to social media campaigns and the like. Overall the meeting was a massive help and completely changed ideas about my final outcome from the start.

The client has invited us on a tour of their facilities which after I initiated some group discussion and emailing back and forth has been arranged for Thursday the 16th. We will be taking the train and meeting with our client at 10 am in Newport.

 

 

Persuasion: Creative Brief

Here is my creative brief that I have written based on the client brief and my own research:

1. Background / Overview:

Older folks dealing with dementia- charity Dementia Friends trains people to be able to care better for dementia afflicted individuals. Derwen, our client, wants to encourage their residents to become dementia friends to form a supportive community around residents suffering from dementia. They have 2 carers who are trained as “dementia champions” and can be booked to run sessions with residents.

Derwen- Housing group for older people provide dedicated housing to older persons and provide housing related support to residents who might need that additional help. homes including Independent Living, Sheltered Living, or Extra Care across Newport, Monmouthshire and Caerphilly.

“We aim to make it easier for people to live healthy independent lives within their own homes and communities. Our ambition is to deliver new, innovative approaches to delivering older persons housing.”
2. Objective. What is the goal of the campaign?

The primary objective of this project is to persuade residents in Derwen care facilities that they should take part in a dementia friends training session so they can better support their peers suffering with dementia. Perhaps it should make them feel empathetic towards dementia sufferers, with an emphasis on the isolating effects of the disease. It should make the residents desire to want to help their peers.

“This disease could happen to any of us”

“We have the power to make the difference for these people”

“Become a Dementia Friend today”

3. Target audience: who are we talking to?

Residents at Derwen care facilities. Perhaps specifically ones who are friends with those with dementia and don’t know how to best help them. They would interact perhaps principally with other residents, carers and their own families.

4. What’s the most important thing to say or show?

Perhaps we should show the isolating effects of dementia as our emotional motivational theme. Or even visual language displaying “dementia friends” somehow helping out and forming a protective community around those suffering. This could be done with a classic helping hand, or perhaps through a paper-people-chain sort of system? There is also a realm to explore the phrase “Become a Dementia Friend Today” as a motivational statement, which could fit a WW2 propaganda styled poster which would be visually appealing and stand out against other health leaflets and ephemera.

Persuasion: Picking The Brief

After field it was refreshing to return to graphic communication. Persuasion is the new topic, and we have a selection of live briefs to sign up for.

The project kicked off with a couple workshop days with Wendy Keay Bright and Ian Wier. Wendy’s session explored the idea of bodily thinking as a medium for idea generation, something we explored with “acting out” different opposite words in pairs. It kind of reminded me of Juhani Pallasmaa’s theories in “the thinking hand”, a book we studied on constellation. We also explored how to write a creative brief based on a client brief and research, something I will be employing later in this project. I somewhat failed myself in the earlier session here, the anxiety of having to preform actions to the class stood in the way of me engaging properly with the task, and absorbing as much information as I normally do from the session. This is something I continue to need to improve on through my time on this course. My confidence was knocked for the day but I have since written the day off as a learning experience.

When the live briefs went up, I signed up for “Dementia Friends”; a brief with Derwen Housing, an older people’s housing group based in Newport. Ill write more about them in the creative brief, but what attracted me to the brief was the narrow target audience;one that I wasn’t used to at that.