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DIY Media Maker Course

Learn how to make Common Craft Style videos using the Six Skills of Animated Video Production

   1 Minute Intro Video

"Lee LeFever helped us explain Dropbox to millions of people"

- Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox

This Course and "Common Craft Style"

10 years ago, my company Common Craft started producing short, animated videos that were designed to explain technology and other subjects. They caught on in a big way, earning over 50 million views, and are now known as the first "explainer" videos of the YouTube era. Along with the videos, we became known as professional explainers.

Throughout that time, Common Craft videos have had a consitent look and feel which has become known as "Common Craft Style" and has inspired educators and video producers all over the world. Here are the basics:

Today, our goal is to help promote the use of "Common Craft Style" as a simple and effective way for professionals to create animated explainer videos.

This course is packed with know-how and resources (like script writing templates and visuals) that make DIY video production easier than ever. And it's all based on over a decade of experience.

Is This Course For Me?

Here's a simple question to consider: are you ready to shake up how you think about communicating and try something new?

This course is for people who are ready to solve problems. Now more than ever, clear communication matters. Long articles and policy documents are easy to ignore. You can do better. Animated explainer videos are a resource that accomplishes a few powerful goals:

Efficient Communication - Short explainer videos can pack a more effective punch that text or a presentation.

Attractive Presentation - Common Craft Style videos offer an attractive and professional resource that people find interesting and remarkable.

Shareability - Short explainer videos can go places you can't. Let them do the heavy lifting.

Why This Course Matters

When you don't have tens of thousands in the budget for explainer videos, you still have a great option to create compelling and useful explainer videos. Today, it's possible to use common and affordable tools like PowerPoint and screencasting software to turn your ideas into quality do-it-yourself animated videos.

With years of experience creating professional explainer videos, we wanted to make it easy for anyone to create their own - and have them look professional. We've spent over a year developing and refining a step-by-step methodology for producing DIY animated explainer videos with quality results.

Whether you're a professional who is:

• Introducing a new project
• Presenting research to a group
• Changing a company policy
• Making your case for funding
• Training colleagues or customers
• Demonstrating a product
• Or even requesting a new position

Carefully crafted explanations and explainer videos will help you make the most of these opportunities. Your ability to build support, respect and attention depends on others understanding your ideas.


Your Instructor


Lee LeFever
Lee LeFever

Lee LeFever has been a professional explainer for over 10 years.

He is the founder of Common Craft, an international keynote speaker and author of The Art of Explanation (Wiley, 2012). He is also credited with inspiring the online "explainer" video industry. In his work, he's helped companies such as Google, Intel, LEGO and Ford to explain their products. His explainer videos have been viewed over 50 million times and licensed to professionals and organizations in over 50 countries.


What Will I Learn?

The DIY Media Maker Course walks you through the six skills of animated video production with a focus on clarity and understanding. The skills below follow our tested methodology for creating DIY animated videos.


Write Your Script. Transform your ideas into a script that will become the narration for your video.




Create Your Storyboard. Develop your ideas for each visual scene.




Find or Create Visuals. Learn to create DIY visuals for your video or find ready-made visuals online.




Record Your Voiceover. Record and edit your narration.




Animate Visuals. Use PowerPoint animation features to make your visuals move on the screen.




Produce Your Video. Use screencasting software to record and edit your video.

"I'm constantly trying to explain new pieces of technology, business models, or both, to everyone from customers to investors. The Explainer Academy gave me great techniques to match the right explanation with the right audience."

- Boris Mann, Founder, SCALE

How Will I Learn?

This course is a multimedia experience. You'll learn and practice explanation and media creation skills with a variety of media and tools:


Grasp concepts via explanations, stories and anecdotes in friendly, readable writing.




Develop animation and production skills quickly via 20+ short videos.





See ideas come to life through original hand-drawn visuals throughout the course.




Test and evaluate your progress with quizzes and exercises designed to make it productive and fun.




Download multiple guides and templates to take with you.




Practice creating DIY explainer videos! Exercises in each chapter focus on preparing for and producing videos you can put to work immediately.



Download a free pack of 100 Common Craft Cut-outs you can use for visuals in your video.

Convince Your Boss

Explainer Academy Fact Sheet

Our one-page fact sheet has all the information you need to make your case to enroll. Print it, send it in email, make a poster!

Download it Now (PDF)

"The Explainer Academy taught me real, tangible skills that make me a better collaborator and leader."

- Kalpita Kothary, Co-owner & Engineer, Minky

What Tools Do I Need?

We make it a priority to use common, affordable and easy-to-use software.


Required tools:

PowerPoint - for creating storyboards, simple visuals and on-screen animations
External Microphone - for higher quality audio (built-in microphone can be used, but is not recommended)
Camtasia or Screenflow - screencasting software for recording and editing audio and video animations


Optional tools:

Audacity (free) - for audio editing
Access to ready-made visuals

Note that our tutorial videos use PowerPoint for Mac (version 15.19.1) and Camtasia 2, and features used are similar in other versions. We also provide tutorial videos that cover similar skills using Camtasia Studio.

Frequently Asked Questions


When does the course start and finish?
This course happens on your schedule. It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like. There is no expiration date.
Who should take this course?
The DIY Media Maker Course is designed for professionals who depend on clear, understandable communication through explainer videos. For those who complete the Explanation Master Course, this is the next level, taking the explanations you create and applying them to scripts, storyboards and finally animated explainer videos. Explainer videos will help you make the most of your opportunities to share your ideas in presentations, classrooms and online.
How long will it take me to complete this course?
To complete the DIY Media Maker course, you can plan for 3-4 hours in total, and we recommend pacing yourself by completing one section (each includes a few chapters) a day.
What tools do I need to make these explainer videos?
We make it a priority to use common, affordable and easy-to-use software. Required tools are PowerPoint, an External Microphone (built-in microphone can be used, but is not recommended) and Camtasia or Screenflow. Optional tools include Audacity (free) and access to ready-made visuals. Note that our tutorial videos use PowerPoint for Mac (version 15.19.1) and Camtasia 2, and features used are similar in other versions. We also provide tutorial videos that cover similar skills using Camtasia Studio.
Is there a certificate of completion?
Yes! When you complete the course, there is a Certificate of Completion to print and one that can be added directly to your Linkedin Profile.
What if I want my team to take this course?
Great idea! This is an Individual License, of course, so please Contact Us for your group/volume licensing. We'll get them set up in a jiffy!
Is closed captioning available?
Yes! The videos in the course are closed captioned.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
If you are unhappy with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund. That’s how confident we are that this course will help you become a better explainer.

Other Courses We Offer:

Explanation Master Course

Ensure your ideas get the attention they deserve. Learn essential skills for turning complex ideas into clear explanations. Learn more



Explainer Academy Bundle

Save 15% by purchasing the Media Maker Course and the Explanation Master Course as a bundle. Learn more

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