Just like that – newsletter one is in the works!
After completing and distributing a survey during pre-production, I found my first three topics for each newsletter. Topic one is all about pet adoption. While pet adoption is broad, I narrowed it down to the main generalized features about it.
Here are some questions that helped me to layout the newsletter:
What does it mean to adopt? What are the benefits of having pets, and adopting pets? What are the potential setbacks? How do animals end up in shelters or rescue organizations, and why are there pet surrenders? What do you do to prepare and know you’re making the right decision?
If I haven’t already said it enough, Ladapaw Letters newsletters are animated. This allows them to have more information presented to the audience as the content moves along at an appropriate pace, and it progresses from one piece of information to another.
To further narrow down each sub-topic, I developed an outline to follow. The subjects of the outline are meant to progress from one to another, and following along in a meaningful manner.
- General benefits of having pets
- This section begins the Newsletter with a brief touch on mental and physical benefits of owning pets
- General facts & stats on animal adoption
- What does it mean to adopt animals?
- Brief intro on saving lives when adopting & why
- Average costs of adopting pets
- Surrendering pets & reasons behind it
- Use a pie chart on most common reasons for returning animals after adoption
- Weigh the factors – children, allergies, costs, etc.
- Do your research
- Wait for the right one
The concept of Ladapaw Letters requires extensive – and I mean extensive – amounts of research. Each subject of the information is based heavily on proven facts and statistics while removing any sort of bias. So, using the outline above, I sorted the resources I’d already gathered and wrote the content. To keep my process clear, I used a color-coded system for which piece of information went with which reference, so I then could accurately source within the newsletter.
I used Illustrator to develop the layout of the newsletter, which I then brought into After Effects to animate the text and graphics.
To start, I referenced the storyboards made during pre-production to ensure I followed a guide for where each written information should land and balanced it out with graphics of animals. I had to modify the “script” as needed to fit the pages and make the most sense for the letter itself.
Each page follows the outline directly with the information corresponding to it, as well as the references.
With the storyboard, I already had an idea of how each piece of content would animate in and out, though it did have to be modified for the overall layout. The idea is that the newsletter loops – starting with a blank page, then “Ladapaw Letters” shortly following afterward, with the written content (with pop-up references) and animal graphics to add some character.
For this particular page, here is the detailed animation plan:
“Ladapaw Letters” animates from the top into the center top page, “did you know?” information starts to follow in afterwards one by one from the top, down. The dog begins to walk in at the same time. Once each piece of information animates in, the references fade down. They fade away before the “did you know?” animates out to the right, and the dog walks off to the left, returning where it came from.
Once the illustrator layout was finished, I brought all of the layers into After Effects to begin animating. I began the animation process by working on the written content – animating in and out – and then moved on to the animal graphics.
After finishing the production parts of the letter, it was my original plan to then do the post-production by exporting the animated newsletter to a GIF format and uploading it to MailChimp. In MailChimp, this is where the letter would be scheduled out to send to the group of emails I’d gathered previously. I already knew going into the production stage would be challenging and time-consuming, but it wasn’t until actually doing it that I found it’d be better to wait to do the post-production at a later time. This would allow me to re-look at the work afterward with a fresh mind and make sure I wasn’t rushing the process with both production and post-production.
This was a big hurdle, but I’m so glad that the first Ladapaw Letters newsletter is [just about] finished and ready to send! Now that I’ve set up the layout for one, I feel that creating the rest of the letters will be a bit smoother as I have a base to use. It’ll only become more fluid as each newsletter production passes, and I’m excited for you all to see the finished products!