Fox-Aniboom Holiday Animation Challenge

Fox Aniboom Holiday Challenge

Hey everybody, it’s “an animator’s shot of a lifetime,” according to the Fox network and Aniboom.com, who have teamed up to sponsor an outlandishly demanding contest that requires artists to make them a 2-4 minute holiday-themed short for no pay. Fox Broadcasting Company prez Kevin Reilly says, “Fox has long been the sole primetime animation powerhouse, and we’re searching for a fresh new animated holiday special that could potentially become an instant classic and maybe even a weekly series.” The rules are: “Make it funny. Make it edgy. Make it uniquely Fox.” The reward is a few bucks and some kind of a development deal at Fox.

Bottom line: Name me one well-known animation creator who has launched his or her career due to an online contest? Zip, zero, nada! These type of gimmicks are designed to bring attention to the corporations sponsoring them, not to help artists gain a foothold in the industry. Nevertheless, gullible, young and stupid artists who don’t know any better enter these contests by the legions inspired by years of conditioning from reality TV competitions that promise fame and fortune with minimal effort. The only winners in this contest are those who are intelligent enough to not waste their time entering this sham, and instead choose to pursue the path of success that every other great artist has followed in the past, and that quite simply involves hard work, determination and persistence.

UPDATE: Veteran animation writer Mark Evanier addresses the issues of contests, like the Fox/Aniboom one, on his blog. He says, “The terms might as well say, ‘We get everything, you get nothing except what we decide to give you.’ That’s not good for an artist’s wallet, career or soul.”


  • Tom

    CB is starting to become the moral backbone of the animation industry. Just another thing to love about the Brew.

  • Mattieshoe

    The last thing we need is another “Edgy” Fox Prime-Time “Animated Sitcom” that looks like it was drawn with a compass.

    and of course they need some seventeen year old kid who’s never animated anything off of Newgrounds to come up with a “Fresh” idea rather than an accomplished Animator and draftsman whose ideas aren’t “Fresh”

    I thought things might be getting better. but no.

  • poopsmith

    I think its a bit drastic to put EVERYONE who enters the contest in the catergory of niave and wanting instant fame. Ever think that some animators just love making shorts in their free time, and hey why not submit one if you want to?

  • http://doujinshiland.blogspot.com Adam

    Hilariously, if you read the rules of submission, they more or less forbid you from creating anything resembling their three most successful animated programs. Everything one sees regularly in The Simpsons, Family Guy, and Futurama that could be called ‘edgy’ is forbidden.

    If they had tried to get Family Guy on the air by submitting it to this contest, it would never have been picked up.

  • http://mymedicatedlife.blogspot.com/ Bitter Animator

    If I choose to enter, will they give me access to their studios in Korea? I’m just going to knock up a few boards, throw in a Knight Rider reference and a vomit gag and send it over to the sweatshop.

    Guaranteed win for me.

  • Alex Kirwan

    I have to take the side that not every animation industry contest is inherently insidious. Placing in a 1996 Hanna-Barbera storyboarding contest while still a high-school senior may not have gotten me my own series, but it did give me much needed contacts and confidence that allowed me to move to hollywood and get a foothold in the industry several months later. This could be just the type of thing a young outsider needs to break in.

  • http://rockitpack.blogspot.com :: smo ::

    because all of us are looking for that “big break” and fox is totally the ticket! screw “art,” and “quality” money’s all that counts [maybe fox will give me some], and i want to work on dribble for the next 10 years, this is my ticket in!

    barf.

  • http://rufftoon.livejournal.com/ JMatte

    Guh, I tend to hate catch words like “edgy” (define edgy- or rather, give me your personal definition of edgy so I can tailor it to your egdy senses).
    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Dexter’s Lab started off as part of a contest?

  • Richard

    “Make it uniquely Fox”? What, like cancelled?

  • http://animationapocalypse.blogspot.com/ Baron Lego

    [i]Hilariously, if you read the rules of submission, they more or less forbid you from creating anything resembling their three most successful animated programs.[/i]

    So… it’s safe to rip off “The PJs”, then? Score!

  • fishmorgjp

    Wow! Here’s YOUR big chance to help Fox make more cheap, repetitious, pop-culture reference swill! Hey woo! Maybe it will be as hilarious and edgy as Family Guy!

  • T

    I think that South Park got started with some exec asking Parker and Stone to create a digital holiday card for him. They had Jesus fight with Satan. And the rest is history. I think that’s what is behind this concept. I also think making it “uniquely Fox” means that it should involve some high-ranking Murdochian getting drunk and then fondling someone or something.

  • http://www.ryanleach.com Ryan Leach

    “Name me one well-known animation creator who has launched his or her career due to an online contest? Zip, zero, nada!”

    Have online animation contests really been around long enough to establish whether they’re career launching or not? Obviously this contest has a lot of faults, but if it’s the direction the industry is taking then artists can either reminisce about the good old days or find ways to keep up.

  • shouldbeworking

    I suppose all entries become property of Fox too, as is common with these sorts of “contests”, whether a logo competition or animation?
    That would be a deal-killer for me to enter; That if I don’t win they still own my idea. That is acid test for me whether it is a scam.

    Everyone and their dog thinks we just sh*t this stuff out.

    I’m running a contest: Producers can give me the budget based on what they spend for a half hour. If my animated film makes money I’ll pay them back.

  • shouldbeworking

    There we go! Right off the web page:
    “FOX retains all rights to use submitted materials including the right to use your submission in all
    media for all time. ”

    You’ll be giving your concepts away for free! SCAM.

  • cliffclaven

    Remember, the South Park short was a talked-about viral hit before Comedy Central took a chance. Do you think it would have lasted two minutes if it had been an entry in a contest like this? Or if it was a pilot offered to guys seeking “something more like [fill in whatever was hot that week]“?

    In the same vein, Simpsons was under-the-radar filler on another show while Beavis & Butthead and Ren & Stimpy were festival crowd pleasers. Like South Park, they had to find audiences and prove their appeal rather than count on network executives getting it. (And looking at the network-ordered imitations of all three, the execs still didn’t get it.)

    It’s like old Hollywood, when studios actually scouted talent and put mobs of blandly attractive young actors under contract — the vast majority of whom ended up playing Hat Check Girl or Second Cop next to Edward G. Robinson and others who’d never win a beauty pageant.

  • Michael Dann

    Someday FOX prez Kevin Reilly will go in for his first colonoscopy. Instead of a trained internest, he’ll be greeted by a fresh, new dude with a cutting edge concept and a sharp fork. Thanks to the Fox America’s Next Top Surgeon ground rules, Reilly will legally own whatever gets pulled out and it will be televised.

  • http://www.ivandixon.com Ivan Dixon

    I agree with all the points you make, Amid. This competition is comparable to what is known as ‘speculative work’ in the design industry. This is when a company holds a “competition” for a logo design with the prize money just be barely more than what you’d charge were it a professional job. Basically it’s a way for the company to gather numerous concepts without any guarantee of the designer getting paid. It stinks.

    I’m interested if you have any opinions on the “Nickelodeon Open Mic competition.” In this case you’re just emailing a concept and Nick doesn’t automatically take ownership of your work. It could, however, be a way of gather ideas.
    http://www.onesmallseed.net/events/nickelodeon-open-mic-character

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    I’m entering this.
    I already have some great stuff I think they’ll love.
    Right on!

  • http://zeteos.blogspot.com/ mick

    ‘Someday FOX prez Kevin Reilly will go in for his first colonoscopy. Instead of a trained internest, he’ll be greeted by a fresh, new dude with a cutting edge concept and a sharp fork. Thanks to the Fox America’s Next Top Surgeon ground rules, Reilly will legally own whatever gets pulled out and it will be televised.’

    Michael Dann wins…. cutting edge concept and a sharp fork… poetry

  • anonymous

    Ivan the NICK Open Mics are a bit different. They are only wanting 1 to 2 page pitches. They’re not wanting 2 to 4 minute fully animated pilots as they are giving 10,000 EUROS to any pitch they like into a pilot.

    So it’s a little different from what FOX is doing. At least there is less effort on the part of the artist with NICK’s competition.

    A creator is probably better off sending a couple page outline & rough sketches to NICK that they will never go forward with because the characters won’t be aspirational enough as opposed to working your ass off on a 2 to 4 minute pilot for FOX that will never go anywhere & because its not Family Guy enough.

    It’s a pick your poison kind of situation.

    OR don’t pick any of THESE poisons and make your own fucking films in your spare time or with friends!

  • Galen Fott

    To me the only thing bad about this (and I can’t believe it took so long for it to get mentioned here) is that Fox owns your submission. That’s a total deal-breaker. Making a 2-minute spot for nothing, but knowing that the network will screen it…that’s not at all outrageous, depending on one’s circumstances. But losing the rights to your creation is unacceptable.

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    I saw the Youtube video ad for this contest before reading the article here, & I could tell then that this was complete & utter BS. Period.

    Just watch the Youtube Ad & you’ll see what I mean:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvIxjDjyZoE&feature=fvhl

  • http://invaderpetblog.blogspot.com Brandon

    If they pick your submission, and they actually use it, don’t you still at least get credited for creating it? That would be nice.

    I have created a few of my own cartoons, but no way in Hell would I actually offer them to Fox. I think what I’d do is just do what Matt Groening did, and create something else on the spot that you really wouldn’t care if it’s owned by someone else. By the way, what’s the deadline?

  • http://www.artisticanatomyblog.com/ Chris Hatfield

    Avoid spec work like the plague.

  • Jay Sabicer

    Folks, if you want to get your work out there, we already have the best damn media outlet at your very fingertips. If you have to make something for free, yet keep the idea yours, publish it on the web. Make a website, use YouTube, Vimeo or Google, spread the word on Facebook and MySpace and let Jerry and Amid in on the specifics on how it was made. Even if you see penny zero, you’ll have the audience, honest criticism and more street cred than any greasy network exec (whom I see as the successors to music producers). It may be desperate times around us, but it isn’t an excuse to sell your soul just because it’s a seller’s market.

  • Thomas Pinchin

    Mr. Leach, put it to you this way, there is a “movie score” contest for the latest, say I dunno, Miley Cyrus movie. The winner’s score gets to be on the movie BUT the rest of the score does not belong to youor any of the contestant anymore. The copyright becomes that of Billy Ray Cyrus’ company and you can never reclaim it. And any time so much of a chord or a bar from that composition you made for that movie score competition pops up in one of your later scores and musical composition, Billy Ray Cyrus and Disney reserves the right to sue you.

    Would YOU enter that competition?

  • Alex

    I’m with Brandon here. What’s the harm in creating something in your off time using some property you’re not worried about throwing away? I’m going to give this one a shot, and I’m not gullible and stupid. I know the conditions. I know Fox is part of an evil conglomerate. I know that whatever I submit will be out of my hands.

    But jeez, Amid, not everything is black and white. There is such a thing as middle ground. You think young animators don’t know that most successful careers come out of persistence and hard work? I graduated a year ago and I’ve yet to find anything outside of sporadic freelance work. But I’ve been persistent and I’ve worked hard at trying to get a career started. My situation means, however, that I have more free time on my hands than I would like and as such, what the heck, why not enter a contest?

    You can attack Fox, I don’t care. I would never defend them as being, ahem, fair and balanced when it comes to either creativity or business. But please, Amid, do you have to take that tone with those of us who want to enter it because it might be…fun?

  • http://kittyhasfleaz.blogspot.com/ Felicia Spano

    This contest is insulting. :(

  • http://tangoland.com Cynthia

    “FOX retains all rights to use submitted materials including the right to use your submission in all
    media for all time”

    This contest is glorified spec work. Artists should never work without some leverage. Don’t ever give yourself away to a media corporation who has more than enough $$$ to pay you properly. Especially one who is planning on possibly using your hard work for financial gain wihtout compensating you anything.

    Would a contractor sign a deal for him to build a house on spec, then allow someone to come live in it for free?

    Jay, I agree with you totally. The days of relying on big biz to promote your work is OVER.

  • Fred Sparrman

    I’m sure the reason you have to give over the rights is so that if 10 years later Fox has a show that resembles your submission in some way, you have no grounds to sue them for ripping off your idea. It isn’t “yours” anymore! It’s odious, but I’m sure there would be no contest at all without that clause. Which would probably be just as well.

  • http://cartoondavid.blogspot.com david

    fox can eat a big fat you know what. and this aniboom stuff too. they always send me emails asking me to submit content. The animator’s chance of a lifetime is investing his/her time into a personal short film (or a collection of them) developing a fanbase on the internet via youtube, vimeo, and other larger avenues of distribution and then milking it. NOT giving away your ideas for free so that corporations can further exploit talent. At least other more self-respecting major studios have the decency to respect the artist (i.e develop the project, fund them, advertise etc.), but this is just an obvious desperate attempt to get something for nothing..or find “hot new talent”

    insulting.

  • bug

    it angers me to no end to see aniboom thrive

  • http://www.myspace.com/lezbo2000 fiesta-chorizo

    In my mind there is nothing really wrong with the basic concept of the competition. The problem is the Draconian demand of the artist to void all rights and IP upon his submission – which means he will never be able to do anything with the material or its components, even if he comes in in 60th place of the competition and his short is buried forever in the Aniboom archives.

    I agree with David – it’s a much better idea to make the short and put it on some ethical sharing platform like vimeo and promote the hell out of it.

  • redsnappy

    The thing that pisses me off the most about this is what they’re asking the ‘animator’ to do in the first place. First, come up with an idea, then, a script of some sort and finally (the thing that would interest most of us on here) actual animation. Although, that’s probably what they care about least. Even if it is a ‘hit’ with the execs, you’ll have to not only sacrifice the idea but design to a generic (as said above) ‘compass-drawn’ FOX style so they can hammer out episodes quick and fast whilst you keep the edgy shabaz coming fast.

    Bottom line, it’s hardly an animation competition. You could animate worse than south park episodes and still win. Maybe just submit an episode of Gyagu Manga Biyori?

  • Giovanni Jones

    My pal Jerry Siegel and I are going to submit a cartoon to this contest. It’s about this super guy from another planet with powers, you know, like bending steel in his bare hands. And he has this alias as a reporter. It’s a great opportunity. So what if we give away the rights? How much trouble can THAT cause?

  • Shmorky

    I would enter this contest just to make something that breaks the rules and loses. That’s just the kind of jerk I am.

  • Winston

    According to the submissions agreement Fox and Aniboom have exclusive rights for 90 days after the grand prize winner is announced. So, some time in February 2010 your film would be yours again. They retain non-exclusive rights of course.

    So it’s not as bad as some of you are saying, but I also agree with some of the cynical comments expressed about the intentions of fox and the origins of show concepts, oh yes and i love michael dann’s colonoscopy analogy.

  • pappy d

    They don’t just want submissions. They’re looking for submissives. Fox’s problem is that people who think “edgy ” tend to have “attitude”.

    Right now I’m smiling a faint, wry smile looking down my nose with my arms crossed in front of me & one eyebrow raised.

    “Ivan the NICK Open Mics are a bit different. They are only wanting 1 to 2 page pitches. They’re not wanting 2 to 4 minute fully animated pilots as they are giving 10,000 EUROS to any pitch they like into a pilot.”

    That’s $14,000 US for a 22-minute pilot? This could lead to a whole lifetime of exciting & creative unpaid labor!

  • djorzgul

    is it me, or it’s not possible to post a topic or a reply on aniboom’s forum?

    Maybe if we stand in our efforts to show everyone that this contest is completely and utterly bad for everything animation as an art for stands for. Maybe if we fight long and brave enough…Maybe something will happen, and they (spooky laughter) will change the fine print, buahahahahaaaaa….

    viva l’anima-zion!

  • djorzgul

    oh, I just read this…. cannot believe that anyone can actually sign, ok here I am f*** mi the arse, as hard as you can and as many as you can, I can’t wait for it, go, go, a chance for all kind of masochists…

    “I used to enjoy masochism, but never as an alternative to good old fashioned bum!!!!!”

    ~ Oscar Wilde

  • djorzgul

    the part I was referring to:
    quoted from CONTEST SUBMISSION AGREEMENT

    8. I acknowledge that I am submitting the Content voluntarily and not in confidence or in trust, and that the submission of the Content does not create any confidential or fiduciary relationship between me and Aniboom and Fox. The use of any part of the content by any member of the public shall not impose on Aniboom or Fox any liability to me or any other entity claiming rights from or through me.

    9. I acknowledge, however, that due to the fact that Aniboom and Fox are, among other things, operating in the business of internet content and entertainment, Aniboom and Fox have wide access to ideas, stories, designs, and other literary materials, and that new ideas are constantly being submitted to it or being developed by their own employees. I also acknowledge that many ideas or stories may be competitive with, similar or identical to the Content and/or each other in theme, idea, plot, format or other respects. I acknowledge and agree that I will not be entitled to any compensation as a result of any Contest Entity’s use of any such similar or identical material. I acknowledge and agree that the Contest Entities do not now and shall not have in the future any duty or liability, direct or indirect, vicarious, contributory, or otherwise, with respect to the infringement or protection of the copyright in and to the Content.

  • Graham

    It looks like someone’s getting desperate after they hastily canned Sit Down, Shut Up.

    And they expect to have all this new content for FREE? That’s insane. When people have JOBS, they expect INCOME. That’s the way economics works.

  • orbital318

    Nickelodeon had a similar design contest for internal staff about 2 months ago. The goal was to seek out new preschool ideas for Nick Jr., to find the next Dora if you will. I entered, not because I knew I would win but I figured what the hey.

    The reason I entered the Nick one and not the FOX one is Nick wanted something that equated to a one sheet from a pitch book, FOX on the other hand wants you to do all the work and waste your time animating 2-4 minutes. The FOX contest is so obviously run by people who don’t comprehend how involved animation can be and its a shame that Aniboom is a part of it.

    PS – the Nick contest winners have not been revealed yet.

  • http://www.hunteachother.com Max W.

    while we all complain about this, I’m sure some young funny fellow who has never seen cartoonbrew is making some low-quality flash animation on his computer right now to submit to this contest.

    And he’s probably smarter than all of us, because instead of complaining, he’s “doing”, and he might end up with a show from it.

    It’s not like FOX is forcing anyone to do this contest!

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I beg to differ with the statement, “Name me one well-known animation creator who has launched his or her career due to an online contest? Zip, zero, nada!” I can name two. Both Mr. Warburton and Maxwell Atoms share the distinction of winning separate Cartoon Cartoon Summer contests, where 11 different shorts per summer ran on Cartoon Network to compete to be the next Cartoon Network original program of that following year. Viewers voted online to choose the winner. As a result, Codename Kids Next Door and Billy & Mandy were introduced to the world.

  • brak

    I’m a little late to this post, but I would like to respond to one of the first few comments:

    “I think its a bit drastic to put EVERYONE who enters the contest in the catergory of niave and wanting instant fame. Ever think that some animators just love making shorts in their free time, and hey why not submit one if you want to?”

    I’m afraid that you miss the larger point. By participating, you are actively condoning this kind of behavior, and thereby hurting your entire industry. By endorsing this type of thing with your actions, you allow these contests to continue to go on, whereas if nobody participated, they would have to find a more appropriate means by which to find “edgy” ideas.

  • http://chrisbattleillustration.blogspot.com/ Chris Battle

    Anonymous- The original shorts for Kids Next Door and Billy & Mandy were legit productions made at Hanna-Barbera/Cartoon Network/Curious Pictures where the entire staff of artists were PAID. They were not work-for-free on-line contest submissions.

  • http://constipanimated.blogspot.com Greg

    Fox has declared themselves “Animation-Challenged.” So how is this news, exactly?

  • Logan

    I think some of you are misunderstanding others. Those against the contest, no one is making you enter. You don’t have to if you have a problem with it. If someone wants to enter the contest and they make sure to read all the fine print and understand what will happen to their content, that’s great. People not entering into this contest is not going to stop these contests. They will find other ways. If those entering don’t read the fine print, that is their problem. Posting content on youtube and such is fine, but some people like the thrill of a contest and the prospect of winning. Entering the contest will not get you a job any more then posting on the internet, but at least with the contest, there is a possibilty of cash; not to mention the satisfaction of a winning contest entry. I think some of you take it too seriously. Fox is a multi-billion dollar company and I have a hard time believing that they are just throwing a scam out to the public just to get ideas. Even if they are, I think the satisfaction of your idea being used for something, whether or not you get paid for it, would be payment enough. It shows that you have what it takes. It’s a start for those who are not yet standing with a foot in the door.

  • brak

    Logan,

    Most of what you just said is exactly the problem.

  • http://www.castleinspace.net Lord M

    Hey,
    I just read the post on this blog. I am actually spending time for this contest and I can say you that all you write is right if there will be a healthy market in which young people can work.
    If animated series are made in India and Corea and everyone is searching a 10 years Disney experienced (and I actually know 20 years Disney experienced unemployed) I think the only way for young people is to do some contest, at least to say “I exist”.

    You are right: I won some contest and I am not famous, but at least I did something good to show around and I am doing what I love for the time I can…

    Don’t say me I didn’t try: I moved to foregin countries, send CVs in all the world and I got almost nothing, but every time I did something no one regreted my work or me.

    So or you have a solution for this situations or God save the contests! At least I will see a few bucks if I win, more than the ones I can get with “job no-opportunities”.

  • Jokes

    Wow, there’s a lot o negative comments on here. Well let me just say that a)I’m one o the finalists b)I’m not a naive 16 year old c)I animated an idea that can’t really be turned into a series (with the idea that if they found my shit funny enough they would come asking for more) and d)really don’t care if they “own” my shit three months or even six months as I have other things going on in my life to focus on. That’s not me trying o be a dick or anything. That’s just a response to the rather harsh entries on this site regarding the competition. I won 5000 for making a four minute short that couldn’t possibly be made into a series. I guess that means fox really is looking for “someone” and not just “something”. It’s pretty easy to shit on a large network. But they’re giving a bunch of amateurs the chance to win 15000. Not a bad deal when you think about it.