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Ahead of the 2016 election, NBC News commissioned this series of animated videos, each featuring a telephone interview with an expert explaining an aspect of the campaign. Matt Rivera was the producer for all of them.


For the first video below, U.S. House Editor of The Cook Political Report David Wasserman explains a curious facet of "delegate math" that tends to favor more moderate Republicans running for the Presidency (these videos were made before the world as we know it... changed). For one sequence, as Wasserman talks about the Presidential race and some Republicans taking a right turn, I took a literal approach and illustrated the whole thing as a car race.

For the 2nd video, former Des Moines Register political writer David Yepsen explains how Iowa caucuses differ from primaries, exactly how they work, and how they tend to pull Democrats further to the left, and Republicans further to the right. This piece required more characters than I've ever drawn and animated before, including crowd scenes that were challenging but fun to figure out.

For the 3rd video, ad buyer Bruce Mentzer explains how super PACs are charged many times more than official campaigns for the same advertising time. As a result, super PACs need a lot of cash. Here I illustrated a sequence about astronomical ad rates with a rocket taking off, leading the viewer to a visualization comparing planets to each other, their scale representing the vast price differences.

Each of these videos were executed in 3-4 weeks, once the script and audio was provided by NBC. I was given near free reign to interpret the audio and come up with the visuals, which allowed me to alternate between nice illustrative abstractions, and more straight-forward imagery, in a way that I think creates a good balance and keeps the viewer engaged.

Metaphorical Formula 1 cars on the starting grid of a Presidential race
Human icons lined up from an explainer video by freelance animator
Political spectrum illustration
Political discussions taking place amongst several animated characters
Still from animation for NBC News by Bard Edlund
Cartoon characters in a conference room look at a map of the United States

I'm always happy to take on multi-part assignments like this, assuming the schedule is workable. It's fun to design videos to fit together as a series. I would estimate that about 40% of my animation clients have commissioned series. Don't hesitate to reach out if you have such a project in mind — although one-offs are welcome too, of course! Get in touch now, or check out more projects on the animation page.

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