Thing #54: Make a Movie with Xtranormal

What I really want to do is…direct! Well, now you can. And you don’t even need to leave your library to do it.

For this month’s Thing, we will learn how to use Xtranormal to create an online animated movie to promote your library and its services.

Xtranormal is a text-to-movie technology that allows you to make short animated movies using your own script and their simple web-based or desktop software. Their motto is “If you can type, you can make movies!”.

Save Your Library – or Else!

To give you an idea of what Xtranormal can do, here’s a short video made by Baltimore County Public Library for a pro-library propaganda campaign with the official hash-tag #LibrariesNotRobots


The Basics

Once you have your Xtranormal account, you can choose computer generated sets and actors, select background sounds and music, and then add your own script. You’ll be able to preview your movie before you save and publish it, to make sure it’s perfect before you share it.

To start your movie making, you are given 300 Xtranormal Points (or XP) that you use to ‘purchase’ the elements for your movie. Once you have unlocked an actor or set with your points, it is yours to use forever. You can reuse actors and sets as often as you need. Depending on how creative you want to be, you may have to spend actual cash to buy more points to open up more actors and sets. But, to just get started, the 300 points is plenty.

For classroom use, Xtranormal also offers an Education account, for $10/month plus $.50/student.

Getting started with Xtranormal

First you will need to create an Xtranormal account. An Account activation email will be sent to you. Before you can make your movie, you will need to click the link in the email to activate your account.

Once your account is activated, go back to the Xtranormal website, log in, and click the Create tab. You can then choose from the collection of themed animated characters and backgrounds. You can look at each collection to see what it’s like and choose 1 0r 2 actors.




Next, you can type or record your dialogue and it will be automatically  lip-synced to the actors you have selected.





Finally, choose a background, sound effects or music, and add actions and animations.




You can create, build, and preview your movie before any points are actually used. Once you are happy with your creation, publish and share!

Those are very quick, basic instructions on how to create your movie. Rather than reposting here what already exists, we recommend that you use the detailed help guide on the Xtranormal forums, Making a Movie in Xtranormal Movie Maker: The Beginner’s Guide.

Xtranormal in my library?

Here are just a few examples of libraries using Xtranormal –

A public library using it for a teen program.

A school library orientation.

A school library creating Booktalk Movies.

We have given you instructions for using Xtranormal to make animated movies. Have you used any other programs to do this? How about Animoto or GoAnimate? If you used either of those services, we’d love to hear how you did it.


  1. Pick an animated movie service – Xtranormal, Animoto or GoAnimate – to investigate.
  2. Make a short movie using the service of your choice.
  3. Create a post in your blog about your experience with movie making. Be sure to either embed your movie in your blog post, or include a link to it, so we can all watch. Here are some ideas to blog about:
  • What did you like/dislike about the service you used?
  • If you are new to making online animated movies, how do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life?
  • If you’ve already been making this type of movie, please share how you use it in your work or personal life.
  • How can libraries use Xtranormal, Animoto or GoAnimate or take advantage of this new technology?
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2 Responses to Thing #54: Make a Movie with Xtranormal

  1. Susie Dunn says:

    My experiment with GoAnimate can be found here.

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