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Welcome to our newest section on Video Maker Tips: Spotlight!

Occasionally we’ll feature guest posts from real GoAnimate and GoAnimate for Business users who are using our product in an interesting way, as well as highlight industry experts and their use of online video.

Today we’re featuring Andrew Walker, Co-Founder & CIO, Tweetminster, as he helps us realize that:

it’s not so much a no-brainer, as a monkey-brainer.

Get the scoop here:

We love animation (by ‘we’ I mean humans). Don’t take my word for it, have a look at the earliest cave paintings… around 17,000 years ago we were trying to make cartoons. Examine our neolithic ancestor’s pictures of the world and occasionally you’ll spot a buffalo with six legs, or stick men with spears dotting in arcs towards an antelope. The extra legs on animals, the flying spears, they’re all attempts to convey movement in the images, to animate still images to covey a sequence of events. That’s animation.

From an information science perspective, those cave paintings are a bit like Powerpoint slide transitions, they’re trying to convey a layer of information that isn’t graphically presented on the page, a little extra set of data that gives meaning to the pictures. It’s about directing our focus to the relationships between elements on the page, making us look at each part in the sequence the director intended. It’s storytelling, pure and simple. It’s a way to make information accessible by getting us to watch what’s in front of us, as opposed to just look at it.

Animation makes us pay attention, we can’t help it, our eyes and brains notice movement, it’s an evolutionary tool that we all share because our distant ancestors had it… the monkeys that didn’t pay attention got eaten by eagles or badgers or whatever, so they’re not around anymore. That means cartoons, quite literally, made us what we are today.

There’s another evolutionary trait we all share, and that’s the desire to communicate information to one another. Humans are unlike any other creature on the planet in that respect, we communicate all the time. It turns out birds, meerkats, whales, ants… everything else doesn’t say that much. They call out “food” or “danger” or “Mummy’s here” or “I’m ready to mate” (we’ve all said that, right?) but generally speaking it’s simple stuff. Humans, on the other hand, take pictures of their lunch and their friends like it on Facebook. That’s not a fad. Our brains release tiny little hits of dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel good, every time we share information with other humans. That means we’re genetically designed to talk, record, share and comment on each other, every day of our lives.

My old mentor, the award-winning animation writer and producer John Grace (who wrote the first ever computer generated cartoon series Reboot) summed it up for me twelve years ago. I was working for John as a research fellow in animation, computers and cognition at the Loughborough University School of Art and Design (LUSAD) in the UK. Needless to say I was always trying to impress him with cartoon concepts, I’d say “hey, I’ve got a great idea for a cartoon…” then go into my elevator pitch. After a few weeks he held up his hand and said “I’ll stop you there… of course you’ve got a great idea for a cartoon, everything is a great idea for a cartoon, that’s how it works… you can animate anything”.

So my advice is to make cartoons whenever, and wherever possible, especially for boring stuff. Safety manuals. Office system training. Sales reports. All the stuff your co-workers and bosses hand you that ends-up at the bottom of your desk drawer or clogging-up your inbox. There’s no need to stop there though. In the business to business space, a cartoon replaces a thousand PDFs. It doesn’t even have to be funny. Remember, the simple fact it’s animated will make it entertaining, that’s how our brains work. Imagine a boring marketing brochure being spoken by two superheroes in a diner. That setting will make it memorable in a way a glossy logo and some stock photography simply can’t.

Of course, making a cartoon isn’t easy, but with tools like GoAnimate, it’s a hell of a lot easier than making one like they used to, with peg boards and transparencies. In fact, using GoAnimate is no harder than making a Powerpoint deck, but the results are a lot more entertaining. Don’t forget that movies are the most popular content for people to share online too, so if you’ve got a B2B cartoon it’s much more likely to get passed around by clients and colleagues than any other kind of document. It’s not so much a no-brainer, as a monkey-brainer. So free your inner monkey and do some business with a cartoon… before a badger eats you.

Andrew Walker, Co-Founder & CIO, Tweetminster

You can follow Andrew on Twitter, at @killdozer / @tweetminster

To learn further how GoAnimate can help your business, visit /plans/business.

Are you using GoAnimate or GoAnimate for Business in an interesting way, or know someone who is? We want to hear about it! Email VMT@GoAnimate.com, tweet at us (@GoAnimate) or send us a message on Facebook.