It was the summer of 2002. I had just finished the semester where I learned Flash in a computer animation class that I took at a local community college. I had gotten an “A” in the class and I was feeling good about that achievement. At that time I was also subscribed to a mailing list for local web designers in the Washington, DC area. From time to time that mailing list would include postings for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities.

I saw a posting that a woman made on behalf of her uncle. He was running for Governor of Vermont as an independent and he was running his campaign on a very tight shoestring budget. Basically it would be a short Flash web ad. It would be an unpaid position since funds were very tight but it would be a one-time thing. I saw her uncle’s website and I found that I agreed with his position on most of the issues. I decided to go for it thinking that it would be a simple and quick job that would last no more than a day or two until I added it to my online portfolio and move on with my life. So I applied while providing a link to my now-defunct TwistedUnicorn.com site where I had my most recent Flash animations from that community college class posted. I got an immediate response and I got the volunteer position.

Basically I was working in Maryland doing a Flash animation for a campaign in Vermont, a state that, at the time, I had never visited. (Since then my then-husband and I made a brief rest stop in that state on our way back from a trip to Quebec in 2006. My dream is to one day make a longer trip to that state, as well as New Hampshire and Maine, but I digress.) Well, anyway, my contact in the campaign had given me a few pictures of the candidate, Con Hogan, along with some music that the campaign had wanted as the background music—which was an instrumental bluegrass song that Con Hogan had recorded himself with his own band. (I thought it was cool that Con Hogan was a musician on the side.)

I was also instructed not to make it look too cartoony, which was a challenge since Flash is a vector graphics package and, by its very nature, vector animation tends to look more cartoony than bitmap graphics.

So I assembled something together using both Con Hogan’s pictures along with some photos I had from a royalty-free photo package I owned at the time. I decided to avoid a negative campaign attack ad because they tend to be too prevalent. I thought a positive upbeat ad listing Hogan’s positions would be the way to go because it would make his campaign stand out.

A day or so later my contact from the campaign asked if I could make this Flash ad be convertible into a format that would be shown on television stations throughout Vermont. At that point I began to panic. When I signed up for this project, I was led to believe that it would be for a web-only ad. I was still new to Flash so I had no idea how it would be convertible for television broadcast. I began to post notices not only on the mailing list where I originally learned about this opportunity but other forums as well. I also did numerous Google searches. I found out that, yes, a Flash animation could be shown on television but it had to be converted into a .mov format first.

Basically, what I originally thought could be knocked off in a day or two turned out to take me a week as I waited for answers on how to make this Flash animation also be suited for television. I submitted it to the campaign just in time for the deadline. I got a response from my contact saying that the campaign was totally mind blown by what I had done.

Since I wasn’t anywhere near Vermont in 2002, I don’t know how well the television ad was received. All that I know is that Con Hogan lost the election that year, which was too bad but that’s life. I did a recent Google search and I found that Con Hogan has his own website and he remains a Vermont personality who’s big cause is providing affordable health care to everyone. There’s even a page devoted to his bluegrass band.

So, without further ado, here is the original 2002 Flash ad (which has been remastered in HD) for Con Hogan’s gubernatorial campaign.

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