The making of Apocalymas - Part 2

In this much anticipated second installment on The Making of Apocalymas, we delve even deeper behind the scenes to explore the creation of content for the days 4 - 8 of Apocalymas.

If you happened to miss our awesome blog post for the first three days, you can find it here: The Making of Apocalymas Part 1.

Day 4:  Hurley Burly — Theo Fanning, ECD and Kele Todd, Senior Graphic Designer

We love dogs. So much that we let them come to the office—to the chagrin of some of our human counterparts. These furry friends are as much part of our team and culture as anyone, so how could we exclude them from all the fun? Well, we learned the truth behind the old Hollywood saying: "Never work with children or animals." But then again, we rarely shy away from a self-imposed challenge.

"This project reminded us of the value of a good editor. You see when your star is Hurley, a 55-pound English bulldog whose only motivation is snacks... you'll be lucky if you get 1/5 of the workable footage you intended. Our concept, story and script were out the window as soon as Hurley hit the set. He was supposed to sit in the chair; He wouldn't.  He was supposed to talk (thanks to some peanut-butter treats), but every time he got one he'd bury his head in the cushions looking for crumbs." - Theo Fanning

Kele Todd sums up one of the realities of working with a four-legged star that you just don't anticipate on paper:

"Hurley is much heavier than he looks." -Kele Todd

In the end, if it wasn't for the skill of our editor—who is still cursing our name—the day-long shoot on the Wednesday before thanksgiving would have been all for naught.  

Day 5: Evil Boo Boo Child, the Harbinger of Death Rides a Pale Horse — Julie Nielsen, Graphic Designer

In a brainstorming session for Apocalymas, this idea was tossed into the ring (the ring of fire): "Evil Boo Boo Child, the Harbinger of Death Rides a Pale Horse Christmas Tree Topper Paper Craft." 

"I thought to myself, Yes. Juxtaposing a reality tv star with the end of the world makes perfect sense. And finally, my love of constructing things and my twisted sense of humor have a place in my day job. This must be a sign that the end is near—or—a sign that Traction is indeed a fantastic place to work." - Julie Nielsen

To create the paper craft, the first step Julie took was to google image search for inspiration. We cannot tell you how much joy it gave Julie to google scythebedazzlepale horse of the apocalypse, and pageant tiara all in one session. 

After researching other paper crafts to see exactly how they're constructed, Julie hand-drew art, scanned in the drawings, and finished off the remaining drawing in Illustrator. Next there were a few rounds of prototyping and re-working the pieces so they all fit well together. She finished off with the details: notice that Evil Boo Boo Child has multiple face options (some more demonic than others), and the horse she's riding on has skulls in the pupils of his eyes.

Ta-da. Evil Boo Boo Child, the Harbinger of Death Rides a Pale Horse paper craft is complete! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Day 6: Happy Holidays/We’re All Doomed GIF — Kele Todd, Senior Graphic Designer

The Happy Holidays/We're All Doomed cinemagraph came from a video idea that was presented in the brainstorm but never got fleshed out. The Traction Undie mascot hadn't been used in a while, and since we have ample animation resources for him Kele took a stab at making something with those resources. 

"Theo had made the Undie animation a while back, so I altered it to achieve the Undie/Satan transformation, then downloaded a bunch of pre-keyed demolition clips from and compiled them behind Undie/Satan to make the world EXPLODE! Then pulled the tagline from the holiday card and VOILA! Holiday Magic™." - Kele Todd          

It may not be the richest of Apocalymas content, but what we felt that a modern day advent calendar would be lacking if the animated cinemagraph didn't have some representation.

Day 7: Bullseye Shopping Ad — Kellie Stepping, Art Director 

It was the 90's and the early days of Black Friday. Kellie, a precocious teenager at the time, was fascinated by how the holiday shopping season had transformed into a circus. 

"Out of disgust and amusement, I —along with a few friends—made a tradition of creating fake shopping ads featuring absurd, made-up products and snarky descriptions ala The Onion. We left copies around the local malls with the intent to entertain or in many cases horrify shoppers." - Kellie Stepping

Flash forward a decade, Kellie returned to her roots by creating a fake shopping ad, imagining the state of commerce in the wake of the apocalypse. Big Box stores would still be trying to sell crap while people maxed-out their cards to dull the anxiety of imminent doom. Kellie found inspiration in a certain well-known store that shoppers love for many reasons. Her homage to this store—and ridiculous holiday shopping in general— features a breath of products that any consumer would need for the end times. 

Day 8What Character of the Apocalypse Are You Quiz — Tack Trudell, Senior Technologist and Kellie Stepping, Art Director

Nothing says integrated social content like a quiz! No really, people love this kind of stuff. So When Tack threw the idea out, we knew we had to add it to the line-up.

"When you build websites you often end up seeing copy over and over ad nauseum. One of the ways I've tried to make life better over the years is by using funny quotes or writing jokes for sample copy instead of Lipsum. I'm not a copywriter by trade but Kellie encouraged me to take a stab at it (and wrote a lot of it as well) with the quiz. It was fun." - Tack Trudell

We used an agile responsive design workflow with this. We eschewed the traditional agency design rounds to handoff process. We started with a prototype that got the responsive, mobile-first underpinnings in place. Then sat down developer with designer taking a cue from pair programming to brainstorm design possibilities. This is in contrast to design review meetings, new comps and back and forth over email. Copywriting was ongoing as well. And a similar process followed where we would trade off the roles of copywriter and copy-editor. Word was never launched… copy was written in emails or directly in code, refined over IM and tracked with Git.

The story continues in the days to come...

Theo Fanning ECD

Theo is an illustrator and filmmaker by design, a designer and copywriter by necessity, and his office is living proof that vintage tin toys and crystal skulls can live harmoniously with deer heads and silver emulsion photo cells.