Everyone makes Xtranormal movies

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Xtranormal was founded in 2005. The idea was to create software that would allow film directors to create storyboards simply by typing in their scripts. Prepackaged animations and bland emotions meant as mere placeholders didn’t do quite enough for the intended market however. It was a case where the concept was too simple.

In May 2010 CEO Graham Sharp assumed control of the company and redirected the director’s tool. Instead of changing the product he changed the audience. He focused on the average web user who had little technical experience but still wanted to make short movies. The company now has over 9 million projects created with hundreds of millions of views. Geico has even used their software to show how 15 minutes is all it takes to save money or make a commercial.

I learned about Xtranormal when my 4th grade son showed me how his class had learned to make movies. He was able to choose one or two characters, pick the setting, and type in the dialogue. He hit the preview button to see how the two interacted then went back and added actions and expressions to the characters and moved the camera around. He was able to include sound effects and background music before publishing. He wishes he could do more, like blocking and wardrobe.

Here’s the video he proudly made for me to share on this blog.

He was frustrated he had to pay to publish it. Until recently Xtranormal had been free to use for the most part with the option to purchase upgrades. Popularity has caused Xtranormal the need to put a price on their product. Each movie published costs the company so now users are going to have to chip in. They can buy bulk credits to cover the cost of special characters and sets. The movie my son made cost about $1.50. I was able to make a movie for free but was very limited in my creative selection.

The first quarter of 2011 Xtranormal expects to turn a profit for the first time. Feedback from their forums suggests their customers don’t mind chipping in on the credits to create their viral sensations. Keep an eye on the company’s growth for job opportunities with offices in Montreal, Boston and San Francisco.

For more information on tech careers, visit http://www.techcareers.com/

By Heather Fairchild - Heather is a writer and blogger for Nexxt. She researches and writes about job search tactics, training, and topics.


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