The Making of SLU for U and SLU for U 2

Note from Jeff Geerling: The following post was created by my brother, Joel, while he was a student at Saint Louis University (which is where I received my bachelor's degree in Philosophy!). I'm reposting his content on my blog since SLU no longer hosts student content on their website. See also: SLU for U (The Original), SLU for U 2 (The Sequel).

To make this little animation, I used an application called Flash (version 4) from a company named Macromedia [note: Macromedia has since been bought by Adobe, who now sells the Flash animation program]. The Flash multimedia technology had become very poplular and nearly standard (Netscape, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc. come with the Flash plug-in preinstalled) on the Internet over the past few years. Besides creating animations like mine, Flash can even be used to create crisp, interactive websites (when used tastefully).

Adobe offers a free trial of Flash on their website at I'd recommend checking it out if you're interested. The program isn't very complicated and can do some powerful and interesting things. Flash comes with a good tutorial (built-in via its "Help" menu), but there are some even better tutorial resources on the Internet. One of the best I've come across is the well-written series on Flash at Hotwired's "Webmonkey" site.

With the help of a basic PC .WAV audio editor program, I edited various free sound effects and music clips from around the Internet into the appropriate lengths, volumes, etc. for use in the "SLU-for-U" movie (the editor I use came free with my sound card; you can find free WAV editors all over the internet - CNET's is a good place to look).

I drew all of the graphics myself in the Flash program (not importing any "Bitmapped" graphics like .BMP or .JPG pictures keeps the file size of the movie low and allows it to play faster).

For the first animation (SLU for U), from beginning (the last week of August '00) to end (Fall Break '00), I spent about two and a half months on the animation, an hour here, an hour there, around an average of maybe 3-6 hours per week.

The second took me a bit longer (because I was working with the mock trial team a lot and had to travel around for medical school interviews). I finished the first ("Initition") scenes over Christmas break (00-01) and worked on the rest during the Spring semester whenever I was able, between January and mid-April.

I encourage anyone who is interested in opening the valve on some creative juices to download the Flash trial version (btw, I'm not selling this program or anything; this isn't some kind of a sales pitch) and fool around with it. Channelling my creative energies (what little I posses) into something mildly productive like this was very enjoyable for me. Plus, it gave me a way to humorously voice some notions of protest I've had (most of us SLU students have had) building up inside over the past few years...

Good luck and have fun!