Date: 
04/14/2024
3
 minute read

Looney Tunes ACME Bootcamp TikTok Filter x Dan Schenker

The year is 1996. I’m stepping up to the plate in my t-ball game, and in just a few months, Bugs Bunny would pull Michael Jordan into the Looney Tunes universe with the premiere of Space Jam.

Even though my career in baseball went about as well as Michael’s, I distinctly recall Space Jam being a pivotal moment that blurred the lines between my reality and what I watched on tv. Daffy Duck and Patrick Ewing on the same screen? My 7-year-old brain wasn’t ready for that.

Peng-Peng Lee using ACME Bootcamp // source: @pengpengclee on TikTok

So 28 years later, when I got the call that I’d be building a TikTok filter that would incorporate a core part of my childhood back into my life today, I couldn’t believe it. I honestly still can’t.

The brainchild of award-winning social media marketing agency Movement Strategy, what we built together aims to help people “in the real world” train like a Tune would. After that first phone call would come 129 hours of programming, testing, and so much debugging, multiple collaborators across multiple countries, and a handful of actually sleepless nights. Finally, ACME Bootcamp launched to the world this week. (Press Release)

It had an early debut at SXSW, Collider gave it a nice mention, and the campaign features Olympic athletes like Sky Brown and Peng-Peng Lee.

Technically speaking, this was the most complex thing I’ve ever built. I’ve dabbled in AR games, but they’ve historically been pretty silly, and very simple. TikTok is a global platform, and filters are often used by folks around the world, so Effect House, TikTok’s proprietary effect-building software, had a hard limit of 5mb on published effects to ensure global compatibility.

Squeezing five separate interactive games, plus an opening and closing screen, transitions between each game, audio and animations, 3D models with textures, and hundreds of visual scripting nodes onto a couple large floppy disks (yes, my shoes have orthotics. Why do you ask?) was also daunting. I’ve been using Effect House since it was in beta, and that top limit of 5mb had been in place for years…until about halfway through the project build when they increased it to 8mb, leaving us plenty of wiggle room to work with.

Personally speaking, it feels like a lifetime ago since I helped you find out what bagel you were. And to reference another Looney friend of mine, that’s not all, folks.

PS: Super special thanks to the following people for their contributions to this project:

  • The Movement Strategy Team (Giang Luc, Roland Parker, Cella Guzman)
  • Kel the Savage, who poured his heart and soul into getting this off the ground
  • Usman Mir of Falcon XR, game developer extraordinaire
  • Allan Gregorio for a very quick and necessary save
  • Heather McGee, who helped push this across the finish line
  • Daniel Zamilpa for encouraging me to think bigger
  • Sam Woodall for trusting me for this project from Day 1
  • Ashley Woodall and her team at Warner Bros Discovery for their feedback
  • August Yadon of Auggo Doggo for some critical guidance
  • And especially my wife, Caity, for working double (and triple) duty over months of late nights working on this!

PPS: Try the game here on TikTok via the @looneytunes channel.

PPPS: Let’s work together!

2 Comments

  1. Gem April 14, 2024 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    I’ve seen the hard work you’ve put into this and I’m so proud of you for what you’ve accomplished, taught yourself along the way and created. Massive respect Dan.

  2. April L White April 15, 2024 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    Congratulations, Dan. This is an amazing accomplishment, but I would expect nothing less from you. You bring light into a world that is feeling dark at the moment. I always feel the Light with you and Caity. 💜💫✨💜

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