Jeffrey Cullen Dean

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a 1939 political comedy directed by Frank Capra. In it, Jefferson Smith is thrust into the role of senator and makes a standby performing a 24-hour filibuster.

This project turns the final speech of the movie into a work of kinetic typography with Adobe After Effects as an animation tool.

The goals of the animation are:

1) Use the typography and animation to compliment and enhance Jimmy Stewart’s performance.

2) Keep the animation to a tight one-minute.

Selecting the Audio

I chose the ending monologue of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington for Jimmy Stewart’s emotional performance and the evocative dialogue.

The energy in the scene made for a strong audio track to use as a base for the kinetic typography.

To keep the video at one minute, portions of the scene were cut that concerned the main character’s father and long dramatic silences during the monoluge.


I drew simple storyboards to serve as an outline during the animation process.

The initial storyboards were more illustrative than the final project.

As the animation went through revisions, the illustrative elements were reduced, so that the typography would convey the emotion from the scene. 

Kinetic Typography

The final version of the motion design can be found below.