When Bill Stanley, the gregarious and larger-than-life Director of Collections for The Field Museum, died suddenly while conducting field work in Africa, the Museum was shocked and deeply saddened. Bill, a character of legendary proportions, was beloved for his knowledge of natural science and gift for communicating this knowledge and connecting with everyday people. An effort was to be made to cap- ture and reproduce one of Bill’s most common and poignant stories on video to share with future audiences online and in-person.
Using the audio recording from a talk Bill gave at the Chicago Ideas Week conference, the Museum decided that producing a short ani- mated film would be the most effective way to use Bill’s own voice to share one of his most inspiring messages, and to honor his life and work.
Working with an animator remotely, the Field Museum conducted near-daily meetings to review concept, story, visuals, animatics, and finally, drafts and rough edits on our way to the final piece. Additio- nally, we employed an external sound designer to support the visual work with music and sound effects.
The film shares a story familiar to Bill’s friends, colleagues, and the many visitors that he encountered. It is a reminder to scientists and museum professionals to take seriously their responsibility to promote a love of learning, communicate the importance of science, and to inspire curiosity — especially in children.