Can you make an animated presentation? Want to meme to save lives? March 21, 2020 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I have expertise relevant to contagion/spread. I feel like there's one aspect of this that is not well-understood by the general public and if understood could persuade people to be more effective in their social distancing. I would like to make some sort of video/animation meme to put out there. Can you help?

I have no animation software or knowledge and obviously this is something where the faster it gets out there the better so I don't have time to learn. I have no money to pay.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Feature Requests at 7:31 AM (18 comments total)

If anyone else has similar requests - to pitch in with a specific projects that could help on this - this thread is an ok place to ask.

(Normally this kind of post would go more properly in another place on mefi, but these are unusual times and this way probably has better visibility)
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:35 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


As I've been thinking it occurs to me that it would be useful to have a writer in addition to someone who can do animation. I have a basic idea of what the video should be like, but it would be useful to have someone who can make sure everything is lay-person clear/friendly/persuasive and to think about how to sequence the explanation.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:01 AM on March 21


As you say, speed, not perfection, might be the first order of business here. So does your idea lend itself to a simple powerpoint show with text, simple diagrams and/or stock photos that could then be animated using the in-program converter and saved to a format that would work on FB, Twitter and other platforms? John Oliver's show opener uses Prezi, for example.

Later you could work on improving the production values, perhaps seeking funding via Kickstarter or the like and then expertise through Fiverr or similar. And inquiring minds want to know? What's the information you want to convey?
posted by carmicha at 8:13 AM on March 21


Hmmm...I feel like a key thing is being able to zoom in/out in wider/narrower view?

I want to convey the idea of network clustering and bridging and how this is what makes networks so connected with such short diameters (i.e. why there's only 6 degrees (our best guess) between two people).

Everyone is a bridge between clusters, so when you say "I'm social distancing but I'm still seeing my bff and their partner but nobody else" or whatever, that only works if you and your BFF and partner are really ONLY in contact with each other. If somebody is still working or if your BFFs partner still sees their Mom (but nobody else!) or whatever, you're creating bridges/shortcuts across the broader network. You're connecting everyone you work with to your BFF's mom's caretaker (and her family, and the one BFF they're seeing etc.). All these little "we only see one person" connections in fact make a very connected network.

And now you see why i need a writer. Though i do have some ideas for conveying this more intuitively less annoyingly academically.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 8:21 AM on March 21 [2 favorites]


You can achieve an animation feel (zoom in, out, around) with prezi. It's similar to powerpoint/slides in its ease of use and wide share-ability. It was wildly popular at my university a few years ago, but some people really dislike it.
posted by eisforcool at 8:36 AM on March 21


Reminds me of this spoof of the Fabrige ads which for your purposes is actually better than the original because of the lines leading up to it.
posted by carmicha at 10:19 AM on March 21


Aaaaaaah, I think I see what you mean now. I think Prezi would work fine for what you want--it's a presentation thing that's designed as one HUGE graphic that you pop into different places on and zoom in on from "slide" to "slide." Works very well for this sort of thing.

It might be helpful to talk about what "good-enough" social distancing looks like and, if we've got no "good-enough" lists, model how the virus will still spread through networks that have some intermediate of interpersonal network connection. Start with a walk-through of a SUPER dense network, then a sparser one ("I'm just seeing my GF and my BFF and my mom!"), and then finish with the ideal of "I'm only interacting with my buddies."

Kind of like this piece, is that your vision right now? But for network density and how changing the number of connections helps less than you'd think?

Another question I have for you is about time. Is it enough to minimize the speed at which the virus spreads? If it's just going to spread more slowly with sparser network connections, what does that mean in terms of real-life survival for people and curve flattening?

I'm tired and a little muzzy-headed, but those are the things that stand out most obviously to me.
posted by sciatrix at 10:54 AM on March 21 [1 favorite]


I have a basic idea of what the video should be like, but it would be useful to have someone who can make sure everything is lay-person clear/friendly/persuasive and to think about how to sequence the explanation.

I'm trained as a technical writer, and I would be willing to help with this if I can. I've been working in IT for years, but have an undergrad background in biology that might be right around the sweet spot to bridge the gap. I only have limited experience with writing VO for instructional videos though; you might be better off with someone that's more of a specialist.

Memail me if you're interested.
posted by slenderloris at 2:06 PM on March 21


I'm an animator and motion graphics artist who is unemployed as of Monday (unrelated to COVID-19) and self-isolating, feel free to DM me here. I've worked for national broadcast including National Geographic. Concepting is not my strong suit but I can use QGIS alongside open source map software to create maps, as well as all the normal motion graphics/animation type stuff.
posted by matcha action at 5:29 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


And yes, it is ESSENTIAL to have a writer, and preferably also a producer as well. I can make spreadsheets and I've done my own short films but don't underestimate the value of a producer here.
posted by matcha action at 5:31 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


As an idiot, I’m happy to beta-view the thing to make sure it’s universally understandable.
posted by Night_owl at 5:33 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


So iiohap, just mulling this over I imagine scattered raindrops landing in a still pool with all these rippling circles catching each other's energy.
posted by unearthed at 6:30 PM on March 21


This idea may benefit from having multiple presentations and instantiations that reinforce one another. "Flatten the curve" was pretty successful as a meme perhaps because it is a slogan, and a graph, and some essays, and...

So, for example, if I wanted to sloganize this, I might call it "pick a clique" or something like that (though lay people may have too much of a negative connotation around the word "clique" for that to sound desirable- "circle" might work better). We'd want to come up with an image to pair that with, and then maybe an essay or animation/video or explorable or all of the above that elaborates on the idea.
posted by Jpfed at 11:16 PM on March 21


Here's a simpler visualization..
posted by mefireader at 11:37 PM on March 21 [1 favorite]


Have you seen this animation by PBS Digital Studios It's Okay To Be Smart, explaining pandemic math and flattening the curve? It might inspire you, or maybe you should contact them and see if you can collaborate on an series of updates?
posted by tula at 12:13 AM on March 22


Miro is an infinite board app for mind mapping / planning. I've been using it a bit recently and I think it's very effective and quick to pick up.

I'm also a customer service dude and I've been informed I have an "amazing voice" in my emails, so I may be able to help with writing and editing.
posted by lucidium at 2:59 AM on March 22


Also, regarding first steps, even a braindump might be useful to people If only I had a penguin..., even if you only share it with a couple of expert colleagues (who may also be thinking of doing something like this!).

At the very least it will give people reading here a rough idea of what skills would and wouldn't be useful to offer.

Thank you for thinking to do this.
posted by lucidium at 3:01 AM on March 22


In the NZ advice they use this language: "choose your bubble, maintain, protect your bubble, keep your bubble small"
posted by freethefeet at 9:29 PM on March 24


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