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Animation Exec Speak 101

Animation Development Company

If animation executives thought out loud, this is what they’d sound like. Keep a barf bag handy.

UPDATE: The folks at Animation Development Company removed their video from YouTube, but somebody posted this mirror. Enjoy:

(Thanks, Ted)

  • At first I thought this was a spoof–like a SNL skit–then a few minutes in a got the cold sweats realizing it was real!! AH, the BUSINESS of children’s entertainment! I wish it wasn’t true, but it is BIG business.

  • purplelettuce

    Oh god, that was frightening.

    And I like that this wonderful company with worldwide appeal has a bunch of programming that I’ve never heard of.

  • trn

    THIS IS REAL?!?!?! *blorgph*

  • Wait, Action Dad?

    I remember that from Andrew Dickman; but, why does it look so…terrible?

  • Mark Cee

    Douchebag supreme

  • I did as well think this was an SNL skit when I began watching this… how HORRIBLY wrong I was. I did some research on Animation Development Company, LLC and just like any other animation company of course they want a marketable cartoon, but the thing about ADC is that their whole business is about selling cartoons like Paid Program commercials. Honestly, if you watch their videos and read the articles on their site, the whole company is pretty much ran by filthy old farts holding cartoonists against their will to copy something popular and make it into their own money grubbing scheme. 1980’s anyone?

  • I really wouldn’t want to be apart of a company that’s so blunt about making money that it makes a video telling you that it’s the only reason.

    I mean, I know that it’s what all companies really want, but why make a video just pointing it out? It makes you seem needy.

  • jgpunk

    Andrew Dickman is apparently a part of this company as a character designer and storyboard specialist.

    Like others have said, I was thinking this was a spoof… pretty scary but I would love to have that Pokemon revenue.

  • Dear god. I also thought that was a parody — I’ve written similar things as parodies of MBA-speak in the “creative” realm — then as it went on I opened new windows to check their other YouTube videos and their website and found it was no joke.

    Wow, this isn’t just the BIG BUSINESS of children’s entertainment, but the misguided business of trying to position entertainment like widgets.

  • purplelettuce

    wait, wait… I’m getting confused.
    They say action dad is their leading programming, but I can’t seem to find the show actually showing anywhere.
    Not to mention that the trailers that they showed for 2009 were vastly different, and really crappy flash animation…

    The info reel is form 2008, and shows clips from the TRAILER of the 2008 version of Action Dad, but doesn’t seem to contain anything else…

    And that pronunciation of Pokeemans is really irritating.

  • As an artist, why not learn the language they speak? Then you can convince the money-holders and executives of your opinion using their own tongue.

    I found this intensely informative. Thanks for posting.

  • This might mean work for artists so is it really all that bad? Who knows, maybe one day they’ll figure out the real formula: hire the most talented people you possibly can and don’t get in their way!

  • Rooniman

    3 minutes of this crap was enough. It hurts my heart to know this is for real, practicaly living nightmare.

  • They disabled comments on the video HEHHH

    “Oh no, this might hurt our enormous profit margins!”


    But seriously, people like this are what drove animation into the shitter in the 1980s. Dylan King has this right.

  • I couldn’t watch the whole thing. I hope that was a joke.

  • NC

    “Recession proof industry”? Apparently I’m not trying hard enough. Another favorite line, “Maximum Exploitative Possibility” or “The Most Rape-able Person in the Room.”

    I do, however, agree with jim.m and Taber Duipace. It is important to be able to speak their language. James Gurney seems to get it. It’s how he has one franchise and makes at least a livable wage of it.

    Although the fact of the matter is these guys at ADC are stealing people’s ideas and they’re even admitting to it!

    I also don’t get how the highest ranked companies made only 15% returns but children’s entertainment makes over 80% but none of the companies listed were children’s entertainment companies. I’m not a fancy business man with my MBAs and all that but something smells bad.

  • Sorry to be lewd but this guy looks like he’s climaxing every time he says “billion”.

  • What an idiot. I wanted to punch that guy in the face, strap him to a chair, and make him watch five hours worth of Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Bob Clampett cartoons straight with no breaks, so he’d learn his lesson about undermining the medium and exploiting the artists for his own financial gain.

    I can’t believe hacks like that money-grubbing douchebag even have anything to do with animation. I can certainly imagine the execs at Cartoon Network being just like that guy. I’m with RooniMan here. I could barely watch any of this crap either.

  • Gregory Bernard

    This reminds me of working with Ben Greene in the nineties, when I was a lowly animator on Apple a Day for the CBC. Ben told a story of a dev exec who would literally salivate at the earnings projections- the man would actually mop drool from his lip while talking the numbers. This was for the merchandise rights to Apple and Shinebox!, Pogstackers, Burt and Birdie, Stumbledown Town, and Chocolate Island Adventures, all of which were huge hits in Canada, but none of which actually earned much in merch sales. I still see Burt and Birdie “label slap” merch at the local Royal Discount store and at Zero’s down in the city, and I wonder what happened to that man. I heard he was back in Quebec sniffing around the production offices of Grandpa and Gramps, still trying to hitch himself to a winner. It’s almost sad, but he was so single minded and greedy, I’d just as soon not see him again.

  • erlab

    This is… was… no joke. Their ads ran obsessively in all issues of Animation Magazine… and probably still do. I also once followed Andrew Dickman’s work because he really CAN think up very fresh ideas for shows as fast as hotcakes on sale.

    But it was 2008, when companies were going bankrupt left and right. No offense to the hard working people there, but I hope ADC does as well.

  • He inspires equal parts boredom and fear.

  • I wouldn’t give any money to people who can’t even frame their own sales reels right.

    I also love that they define success as A) exhibiting at a sales convention and B) being the 13th most watched item at said convention. Didn’t hear about anyone buying it.

  • Aaron

    This guy needs to die!

  • VinceP

    A lot of horrible things have happened to this world by treating people like numbers.

    Then this guy comes along with a video on how he wants to “exploit” children. That just sounds so awful to repeat…but he actually said it with a straight face!! ARGH!! What an evil man!!

  • The cartoon we saw in the begginning of that doco is called “Action Dad”
    by Andrew Dickman
    here’s his blog

  • Charlie

    2:33..Hmm..Haven’t I’ve seen those green rings before?

  • Gerard de Souza

    This is not news. From Walt Disney the man licensing characters during the depression to your favorite CG film; it’s all about licensing and merchandising. As the quote goes, That’s why it’s show business and not show art. Where should the money come from?
    I wish animation was more equitable and less exploitive of the properties and artists but this is a fact of commercial animation life.

  • Pedro Nakama

    He should team up with this guy…

  • Ron

    Jim M. Has an excellent point. I’ve never heard of Andrew Dickman but his designs are cool. Does he share in any of the revenue that his projects generate? I would sign on for this as a creator IF they promised me that on paper. I’m not an “artist” in that sense. I actually want to make money from my cartoons but that’s just me. I’m crazy that way.

  • OtherDan

    Are his eyes blue? Because, I don’t think I trust him…Actually, it was a pretty lackluster illustration of why our union minimums should be higher. Steve Hulett should watch this before his next contract negotiation.

  • GB

    As a rabid Pokemon fan (don’t judge me!) this guy COMPLETELY misses the point to it’s success. Pokemon the cartoon was only popular because of the interactivity associated with it (most prominently the video game, followed by the card game, tournaments, etc). The show was popular because the GAME was popular, children watched the show so they could see their favorite Pokemon interact, as well as new and upcoming Pokemon.

    If that show had come out sans video game, it would have bombed.

  • de

    This is the face of the enemy.

    and ironically, this guy actually believes he’s one of the good guys.

    Greed is not good! I don’t care what Michael Douglas says.

  • Another here who thought that was a joke. I mean, that’s a young guy pretending to be older, right?

    But I have vague recollections of seeing their ads at the back of Kidscreen magazine (probably the same ones as in Animation Magazine), complete with godawful design attempts. Misc boys action show. For people who call themselves a development company, I couldn’t help feeling their designs needed, well, more development.

    As for the idea of learning the language they speak, I’m not so sure. The longer I’ve been in this business and the more I’ve learned to understand the language they speak, the less it’s a business I want to stay in.

    Which, considering what many of us here do (make children laugh, smile and sometimes even educate them), is pretty sad.

    I don’t want to be him.

  • People like him made me give up animation.

  • Wow… look at the difference between this guy, and pen ward…

    who’s cartoons would you rather watch?

    could you imagine a meeting between those 2 ?
    it’s like the difference between the big lebowski and the Dude.
    “News flash! the bums lost! The bums will always lose!!”

    Sadly, as a fellow freaks and geeks reject, I think broadcasters respond more to suits because its felt they can “deliver”. Sure. But delivering what exactly? an efficient truckload of manure?
    To make a hit ya gotta take risks, playing it by the numbers gets you nowhere but diminishing returns.

  • purin

    I think the reason this screams “parody” is the tacky art direction and use of corny clip art. Gee, who could help with that?

    Wait, an animated remake of 90210?

    I kind of knew Pokemon was going downhill when the companies that it made amazing money for (and, in this case, someone who wants performance similar to it) couldn’t even pronounce “Pokemon” right (Early, actually not too horrific, 4Kids dub vs. Later 4Kids Dub).

  • trn

    was convinced this was fake when he kept saying the term ‘exploitation’ WHY ARE YOU PUBLICLY SAYING YOU’RE EXPLOITING PEOPLE

  • Pincushion12

    I remember when that whole bit about John K’s opinions against animation executives on the internet caused a big stir, with people trying to crawl out of the woodwork and defend execs and writers.

    That particular side of the argument against John isn’t looking quite so good anymore after seeing THIS, is it?

  • Graham

    After watching that, I had to check out the channel’s other videos to see this “Action Dad” they were gushing about.

    The 2008 trailer actually looked pretty awesome and, had it been picked up for television, probably would’ve been an interesting series.

    The 2009 retooling… WHO APPROVED THOSE CHANGES?!? It had the bland “6Teen” look and the humor went down the toilet.

  • Shivering in me seat… thinking… “So glad I’m a puppeteer”… Then I realized animators have a better change of regular work… But I’m sure sometimes it’s soul crushing like this mess.

  • ADC LLC: My only critique of that video was that it needed MORE tiny children eating cheeseburgers while vacantly watching TV. Also can you encrust your host in blood diamonds and heavy crude oil next time? FEEL THE POWER. SHARE THE DESTINY.

  • Iritscen

    It’s easy to hate these guys for using words like “exploit”, and “billions of dollars”, and “Pokeeman”, but remember, parents have been buying their kids all the crap they ask for since the 80s, so it’s American families that fuel the fire of these guys’ greed. It’s still depressing to watch this, though.

    I did enjoy the part where the presenter (let’s call him Mr. Evil Hands; I particularly enjoy the Monty Burnsian pose at 3:14) says “A quick search on the Internet will tell you that the top three Fortune 500 companies this year are…”; isn’t that not-so-subtle code for “Our quick search on the Internet told us…”? These guys feel like they’re trying to talk the talk of a big player, but apparently they don’t even have a subscription to Wall Street Journal, which any businessman knows is essential to being taken seriously!

  • Michel Van

    be frighten
    this is bloody serious…

  • Favourite line “Happy idea virus”!!!

  • Wouldn’t any investor notice that in that part of the video where they’re showing that MIPCOM most-viewed list that Action Dad is one of the very few shows on that list that wasn’t picked up despite being viewed that many times? If they were really smart, they woudn’t put so much stock in one idea.

  • purin

    Oh, yeah! Pokemon wasn’t a cartoon that came out of nowhere by a small independent production! It was a cartoon spinoff of a popular (and good, though the later incarnations got too complicated for my taste) video game from what could be considered the Disney of video games. Besides, they shouldn’t talk about media buzz to “capture children’s imagination” when their example, when it came out in the US was already infamous for giving kids seizures in Japan and was the first thing people thought about when they heard the name.

    Seriously, if the company in the business to have the cart driving the horse can’t even recognize other cartoons’ connection to the products they sell, I don’t know how smart they are. In fact, exactly what DOES this company do? It sounds like they’re just an overpriced art rep or agent.

  • Grayson Ponti

    What a cold-blooded man that deserves to have no part in our wonderful industry. We make animation for creativity, good film-making, expressing ourselves artisticly, and to make children laugh & smile not to be part of a BUSINESS that makes MONEY! We make money but it’s by making good films not garbage. This man has no respect for our art and craft & i demand he sees hours of what we call good cartoons. When I’m animaitng I’ll have no connection with that horrible tycoon

  • This dude is generating billions and billions of mega bytes of BS.

  • This HAS to be an elaborate, belated April Fool’s Joke, or some sort of a litmus test or something…

    …there’s NO WAY this is really for real.

    I…I just can’t right now.

  • Shecky

    I’m surprised so many people think this is fake. After all there’s a reason it’s called show BUSINESS.

  • w


  • Mitch Kennedy

    Pokemon wasn’t marketed so heavily until the humble, well made videogame made such a splash (which only happened because the Game Boy/Color was already in the hands of every child). I love how he compares ADC to Pokemon’s success — a property which ADC had absolutely nothing to do with.

    God this whole video breaks my heart.

  • Cartoon Cave Hermit
  • Lurcheep

    For some reason, when I see this guy, I think of Lou Scheimer.

  • I think their “Z-Force” pitch reel sums it all up. An over-complicated mess that seems to be driven solely on demographics. But at the same time doesn’t seem much different from “Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light” from the mid-80’s.

    I liked it better when the toy companies did this stuff directly without the middle man. It seemed more honest that way.

  • w

    Hey, hats off to ‘Jimmy 2 Shoes’ crew (created by Sean Scott and boarded & animated in Ontario) for making the TOP of that ‘most watched’ list – and for my current employer, House of Cool for busting the Top 10. Hahaheh…I have to go wash my eyes now.

  • Brad Constantine

    Oh I get it…The trick is to develop only “hit” shows. Things should be much easier now. Thanks fer sharing.

  • Gah, Alan Alda’s right in the most inane way possible – despite the fact that his company doesn’t even do its own pitch any justice.

    The thing to crib from this is merely the stupid exec speech. Also, adults watch TV with their kids, soooo… I would think that would be a BIG part of the marketing, jackass. Your MBA is probably written on cardboard.

  • AWD!

    Just for the record.
    I’ve had no involvement in Action Dad or this company since the beginning of 2009 when the producer and another artist took over the development. So this stuff doesn’t shock me anymore.

  • …And it was taken down.

  • David

    is there a mirror of it?

  • I didn’t get to see the video? Anyone got a transcript?

  • Beavis
  • This guy kind of reminds me of the leader of that Heaven’s Gate cult. The one who convinced his followers to castrate themselves and then all drink poison at the same time.
    He’d have to have surgically removed his soul in order to spout all this manure and not feel one bit of remorse, or at least a slight twinge of “something’s not quite right here”.

    Yeah, the industry could really use less of these kind of companies…… a LOT less.

  • 80% profit margins for years, with no further manufacturing costs! What a great argument for paying ROYALTIES to the folks that work crazy hours for 9 months and then get laid off. Sure, animation is a business…for all of us, not just for the guy in the slick suit. Let’s see HIM make a cartoon

  • Jesse

    I love that the way he enunciates “ADC” sounds like he’s saying “idiocy.” How appropriate.

  • Jesse

    By the way, did anyone else find it strange he kept rambling about a product’s GLOBAL potential, all the while showing nothing but caucasian children? Where the eff did they film this… Arizona? ;-)

  • jgpunk

    @ AWD! – glad to hear it! i just hope didn’t lose your rights to your creation.

  • erlab

    “The folks at Animation Development Company removed their video from YouTube”

    No doubt in response to this blog post!

  • I like the Ron Popeil infomercials better.

  • Are they perchance based in an underground lair designed by Ken Adam?

  • I wonder, what is the legal liability if Animation Development Company LLC determines that this particular thread has damaged their reputation in the industry or hurt their business?

    I don’t know these guys. I have no connection to these guys. And aside from a poorly made promo video, I don’t think they’re much better or worse than any c-list animation producer.

    I don’t see any point to this post other than to belittle these people who are only trying to earn a living in a tough business.

    In the update it mentions that they’ve removed the video in question from YouTube, but you’ve found it via another source and reposted it – obviously to further their embarrassment. So, after they’ve been tarred and feathered for your amusement what recourse do they have? I’m surprised that you’re not talking with their lawyers.

  • Joe

    LOL! The guy talks like Steve Brule. For Your Health!

  • red pill junkie

    Aahh! Begone, ye demon! The power of Chuck Jones compels you!!

  • Steve, it’s called “freedom of speech”.

  • Steve, google “concern troll.”

  • Tim, I’m not a “concern troll”. I’m actually surprised that the operators of fanboy websites aren’t slapped down boy more lawsuits. When you see some of the bashing that goes on.

    I mean, I get it. You go to animation school. They sell you the “dream”. “Yes kids, you can be the NEXT Walt Disney… blah, blah, blah”” and when you get out in the world, you’re a factory worker. So people are pissed off and there are bad attitudes. Got it. Been there.

    But some of the slagging that goes on, really crosses the line. And that leaves people exposed to lawsuits. Just sayin’…

  • I googled “concern troll”. Good call. What kind of troll is a lawyer?

  • Grant Beaudette, thank you for reminding me of Visionaries after so very long. I loved that terrible, terrible show.

    Steve Schnier, relax. Go take a walk. Amid and Jerry are adults, and wouldn’t have posted this if they weren’t sure they were in the clear legally, I’m sure.

  • Zach Cole

    Does this guy have kids? There should be a law that children’s animation producers HAVE to have kids. The kids also need to go through testing to make sure they’re happy.

  • Maxim Reality

    I called them to see if it’s a real place, and bizarrely someone always answers the phone 24 hours a day.

  • Steve: “I’m not a concern troll but [textbook concern troll post]”

    I’m actually surprised that the operators of fanboy websites aren’t slapped down boy more lawsuits.
    HMMM could it be maybe because there’s no legal problem whatsoever with making fun of risible youtube videos by questionable companies? And nobody should be afraid to do so?

  • Johnny Doan

    You guys have no life!!!!! How many of you have a cartoon on tv? How many of you have been to MIP Junior? How many of you would love to have a company dump money into one of your crappy cartoon ideas.

    The sad thing is it will probably never happen for any of you since you spend the majority of your time on the internet hating on companies that actually are DOING something and making a name for themselves.

  • Mari Rosa

    I’m not sure what to think about this company, it’s probably low budget beyond all reason don’t know anything about the company. He obviously understands business. But what this guy says is all true though. When something gets very popular, like a cartoon show, money pours in from all the sales of everything relating to that show. So it’s actually informative, I know it’s easy to go “ew” and say “it’s not always about the money” but if you think about it, doing something you love should pay off too right? Both self fulfilling and financially. The only thing is, it has to be successful and appeal to the masses. Cheesy generic pop-em out cartoons like Action Dad no where near as successful as other big hit names of course. Usually the things that have heart and soul in them, like Toy Story