When Apollo Design Technology said they wanted an animated, funny, and festive Christmas card for 2012, I didn’t have to look much further for inspiration than “A Christmas Story.” The classic film strikes a chord (particularly with us Hoosiers) and is made almost entirely of scenes that feel ripe for easy parody.
Trying to include all 60+ employees in a single video, however, took a bit more work! Luckily, I knew from the beginning that I’d get to incorporate photos of each employee with a retro cartoon character design with the animation. This gave me the flexibility to fit more folks into each shot with much more ease than if we were using live action video. That said though, I wondered how many people could I really squeeze into a vintage Oldsmobile? (Answer: 8!)
We got the company actors to totally ham it up, which was perfect. They were willing to fake getting their mouth washed out with soap, run from imaginary bullies, stick their tongues to non-existent poles, and pretend to “shoot their eye out.” With the digital photos in hand, I could isolate their heads and paste them onto the original cartoony bodies I had drawn in Photoshop. Those figures could then be imported into After Effects, where digitally created scenes awaited animation.
As with most animation projects, I feel that there’s still room to do more. But Christmas presented a hard deadline for us and the card had to be completed. Maybe next year we’ll go a different direction or push it even further. Hopefully, though, this year everyone got a kick out of our loving parody!