Having watched the fascinating Netflix documentary, ‘Ancient Apocalypse’, I was inspired to pull together a free and unusually dark-themed PowerPoint template for you (as I did with Stranger Things!). In this blog and associated video, I share with you the template and use it as a slidedeck to summarise the hit Netflix series. I also share some PowerPoint tips along the way, for example on slide transitions, inserting icons, and spreading content across two columns to improve presentation.
“We truly are a species with amnesia. We have forgotten a very important part of our story.” – Graham Hancock
Before we dive in, here’s my YouTube video which includes demos of tips and further discussion:
Ancient Apocalypse Attracts Apocalyptic Reviews
“Human history has become too much a matter of dogma taught by ‘professionals’ in ivory towers as though it’s all fact. Actually, much of human history is up for grabs. The further back you go, the more that the history that’s taught in the schools and universities begins to look like some kind of faerie story.” – Graham Hancock
Graham Hancock describes himself as a journalist and contrarian; two traits that naturally go hand in hand. But his journalistic handiwork synthesising information about the vast subject of human prehistory and reporting it to the masses has seriously rocked some academic feluccas! In particular, his fresh perspectives on ancient archaeology and questioning orthodox paradigms about the big picture of our ancestors dating back to the end of the Ice Age (and before).
Having read both his signature works, ‘Fingerprints of the Gods‘ and ‘Magicians of the Gods‘, I can attest to him making our prehistory a gripping subject for the layperson. He challenges common perceptions and misconceptions, while articulately presenting to the world a logical yet beautiful new paradigm for understanding our ancient history, doing so in a thoroughly more engaging manner than a dusted-off fragment of old pottery. It makes you realise how little of the world we’ve actually explored to understand history. Throw in some more paradigm-shifting synthesis of mind-bending material in his recently re-released bestseller, ‘Supernatural‘, you’ll be questioning your own consciousness in no time!
In response to his well-versed critiques and widely-researched analyses, several archaeologists have taken his reasoned hypotheses as a personal slight on their lifelong specialist career. In turn, they have seemingly made it their mission to raise personal vendettas against him and his work, lobbying hard for various media outlets and sympathetic activists to censor and denounce him. Take for example the following apocalyptic reviews in slide 2 of my free PowerPoint template:
“Dangerous“, “conspiracy theories”, “declared war”… Wow! The Society of American Archaeologists’ noses were so put out of joint, they even spent a great deal of time compiling a 1000 word open letter. In it, they not-so-subtly call Graham a racist, conspiracy theorist (among several other things), and demanding Netflix take down the popular series; or at least demote it to the category of ‘science fiction’. If interested in the debate, Graham Hancock has just yesterday published a robust point-by-point rebuttal to the SAA here.
So who in their right mind could resist watching the series after such vociferous fanfare? No wonder it was one of the top documentaries ever on Netflix; I’m sure Graham would’ve been pleased at the explosive impact. As the journalistic adage goes, “There’s no such thing as bad press!”
What is Ancient Apocalypse All About?
“Stuff just keeps getting older!” – Graham Hancock
So what is Ancient Apocalypse all about? Ancient Apocalypse is an eight episode documentary series questioning the mainstream theory about human history dating back to the Ice Age. It proposes answers to the age-old questions of humankind: Where do we come from? How did we get here?
As presenter, Graham explores global archaeological sites and expertly articulates an alternative (yet reasoned and scientifically-evidenced) hypothesis to account for our potted prehistory. Synthesising together a range of geological, archaeological, astronomical, and cultural expertise, he argues from this multidisciplinary standpoint that advanced human civilisations existed before (most of) archaeological academia claims. Here’s the main three arguments which pervade throughout:
- Human civilisation is far older than mainstream academia has proposed, and in support of this theory, “stuff just keeps getting older” whenever new evidence is found.
- The ice age ended following cataclysmic meteor impacts, for which there is growing geological evidence.
- Myths and legends are not complete fabrications, given their commonality across the globe and congruence with climatic phenomena over human history.
In essence, it’s a beautiful and visually-impactive summary of his decades-long research and reporting on the subject of our prehistory through his bestselling publication. As one example question, he asks why on Earth could there not have been advanced civilisations living alongside hunter gatherers, as we do now? Before the climate-changing cataclysm of the Younger Dryas, and as the Ice Age came to an abrupt close and sea levels rose 400 feet to current levels.
Whether or not you are open minded to the evidence presented, regardless if you think of it as a documentary or fanciful science fiction, it’s a fascinating series well worth a watch. In the following slide of my template presentation, I list the eight episodes of the series. The titles clearly bear the hallmarks of intrigue and enticement Graham uses as chapter headings and subheadings in his bestselling books.
To find out more, here’s the eight episodes of Ancient Apocalypse, including a synopsis of each. The video I’ve embedded below is an engaging ‘post script’ interview with Graham Hancock following the meteoric impact this series had. Then of course there’s a fascinating and more in-depth discussion he had with the eminent podcaster and paradigm-shifter, Joe Rogan.
Now let’s get to that template!
An Apocalyptic Presentation Template
Throughout this blog so far I’ve shared the four slides of this presentation, which are summarised again above. Below I share the key features of this fantastic PowerPoint template for fans of Ancient Apocalypse. Revisit my video at the start of this blog to see how I applied them. You can also click the image preview above to download the PowerPoint template file (2.6MB).
General ‘Ancient Apocalypse’ Space Theme
I’ve gone for a general dark theme, with a black background and white or light text. This combination is the next-best thing for document accessibility and readability than a white background and black text combo. The background image is of a space scene, full of stars, to emulate where the ancient apocalypse described in the Netflix show came from.
You may also like the slide transition I’ve applied to each slide in the presentation. I wouldn’t normally apply such elaborate animations to presentations, but just seems to work here! It’s called ‘Fly Through‘ and indeed it does make you feel like you’re flying through space, like an asteroid on a collision course with Earth maybe. To apply slide transitions like this, go to the ‘Transitions’ tab of the ribbon and select ‘Fly Through’. You can also play around with the ‘Effect Options’ as I have done. For example I slowed down the speed of the transition to give extra gravity to the display.
Title Slide: Ancient Apocalypse
I’ve emulated the Netflix Ancient Apocalypse title sequence, by using a combination of shapes and formatted text. I’ve inserted a simple circle shape (holding Shift to resize as a perfect circle) to emulate the Earth. This combo goes fantastically well against the background royalty-free image of space. For the fiery glow around the Earth, I created a freeform curving shape around the circle, used a gradient fill, then added glow to the outer border as a final touch.
The title font used here and on subsequent slide headings is called ‘CASTELLAR‘. I couldn’t possibly think of a more apt name for a font which captures both the antiquity and interstellar conclusions of the Ancient Apocalypse series. This is now my second favourite font, after the Stranger Things font! The text is white with a 5pt coloured glow to make it stand off the page a little.
Slide 2: Apocalyptic Reviews
This is a great general-purpose content slide you can use. I like to keep plenty of space for the main content of any slide, so as usual the title and footer designs are subtle. However, I have slipped in some interesting icons to commemorate the show, with a comet in the top left and pyramid residing behind each slide number. There’s a suite of such icons you can incorporate into your own presentations in PowerPoint. Just go to the ‘Insert’ tab of the Ribbon, then choose ‘Icons’. I’ve previously explained this feature in my ‘Cartoon People’ explainer video.
I’ve then given each icon their own formatting, including outline colour, to really make them ‘pop’. For the pyramid icon, I’ve placed this behind the slide number of each page as a unique, antique numbering system. To insert slide numbers in PowerPoint, that’s also under the ‘Insert‘ tab of the ribbon, then via the ‘Header and Footer‘ button. This will automatically number any slides for you, rather than having to manually do with text boxes.
As for the main bullet-point content, I’ve formatted the text white and in this instance the usually-drab ‘Calibri’ default font works quite well. I’ve also oversized the bullets, like glowing meteorites in line with the space theme.
Slide 3: What’s the Gist?
For Slide 3, I mix things up by providing you with some nicely-formatted rounded rectangle shapes to convey ideas. The rule of threes is a good tip to bear in mind when creating your own infographics… “Omnium, trium, perfectum”.
I tend to avoid using PowerPoint ‘Smart Art’ to create graphics or shape/text model patterns. It never saves time, it’s tricky to format the shapes individually, and never looks as good. Especially when you can align individual shapes easily anyway. If you’d like to insert your own shapes, you’ll find a raft of options under the ‘Insert‘ tab of the ribbon (next to ‘Icons’ shown in the screengrab above).
Slide 4: Episode Schedule
The final part of this apocalyptic slidedeck is an alternative presentation of text information to Slide 2. Here, I’ve used the multiple columns feature, which can be a helpful way of making best use of space on your slides; particularly when dealing with short, punchy bullet points.
To create multiple columns in PowerPoint, first select your textbox, then under the ‘Home‘ tab of the ribbon use the tiny ‘Add or Remove Columns‘ icon I’ve highlighted for you below…
You may notice I’ve also included a yellow ‘Watch >’ hyperlinked shape. This is simply another rounded rectangle shape, but this time I’ve right-clicked and linked to a URL. Note that these hyperlinks are only active while in ‘Slide Show’ presentation mode.
I hope you’ve found this guidance, template and video on PowerPoint presentations helpful. Subscribe to my EATO YouTube channel for more MS Office how-to videos and presentations. Liking the content? Please like and share with friends and colleagues who may also find it useful. If so inclined, supporting my work helps keep free content flowing. Want fantastic, time-saving templates just for you and your business? Then please get in touch to arrange a bespoke quote. Finally, please feel free to leave your feedback below, including what tutorials or templates you’d like created.
Kind Regards, Adrian