Thanking a Teacher, Part II

One of the fun parts about blogging for PCWorld is hearing from readers from around the world. After seeing my blog post, "How to Thank a Teacher in the Digital Age," I heard from the people who created this wonderful YouTube video that gets people to think more deeply about teachers.

After seeing this video, I asked the producer, Sonja Jacob, if she could explain how she came to make this video. The video was commissioned by a company named Mudpies & Butterflies that provides a social networking tool for schools. Here is Sonja's explanation of how the video came to be made.

Mudpies & Butterflies approached my firm, The Cultivated Word, about producing a video after seeing some of my other work, specifically, "Entrepreneurs Can Change the World" and oDesk's "Future of Work." Since The Cultivated Word (TCW) is a creative services firm specializing in animated video and kinetic typography, I was able to offer them a vision for a campaign that, as its core, was about gratitude. With all of the stories in the news about schools, it's important we remember all of the teachers working incredibly hard to help students reach their full potential. Coming from a family of teachers--my Aunt Carol Sheil has worked as a special education teacher for more than three decades--the issue was very important to me.

During my first brainstorming session, I was able to put together a really powerful script, "Thank A Teacher," which I immediately passed along to the client. Mudpies & Butterflies' co-founder, Tyla Wells, loved it, and gave the green light to move forward.

Once I had the script, I set out to select the appropriate stock music track for the piece; this is sometimes challenging if you're working with royalty-free stock tracks, which was the case with Mudpies & Butterflies. However, I found a composer that I love, James Treweek to create a semi-custom piano track for the piece, which worked out beautifully.

From scripting to song selection, I worked with my team of animators to create moodboards for the piece in Adobe Illustrator; these moodboards gave the client a feel for the aesthetics of the video. After storyboards, we moved quickly with production. All of the animators at The Cultivated Word use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects to create videos such as "Thank A Teacher," "Entrepreneurs Can Change the World," and "The Future of Work."

Phil Shapiro

The blogger is an educator and community builder in the Washington DC-area. He can be reached at and on Twitter at

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A Profile of Brennon T. Williams, Techie Entrepreneur

A Review of Verizon's One-on-One Droid Training

Tetravex Logic Puzzles on Martin Luther King Day

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Designed by Consumers - Screenless Laptops

Book Review - Scratch 1.4 - A Beginner's Guide

How to Thank a Teacher in the Digital Age

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This story, "Thanking a Teacher, Part II" was originally published by PCWorld.

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