A Pitch Party Where Everyone Loses Except Animation Magazine

Pitch Party

The problem with publishing a magazine about animation that nobody wants to read is that one often has to resort to questionable tactics to raise money. One of Animation Magazine‘s most insanely screwball stunts is their annual Pitch Party, which they’ve been getting away with for the past ten years.

Here’s how it works. Contestants pay $375 to “pitch” their animated project. Except, they don’t really pitch anything. Instead, they submit one 2″ x 5″ image to the magazine that contains their entire idea. I can’t even fit my daily to-do list in a space that small, much less an idea for an entire animated project. But amateurs and students who don’t know better still try to do it:

Pitch Party

Anybody who has worked in the animation industry for more than a week knows that this isn’t an even remotely realistic way to sell a series, and anybody who hasn’t worked in the industry could learn that by spending a few bucks on David Levy’s excellent primer Animation Development: From Pitch to Production. The sad thing is that Animation Magazine knows this too. They’ve published enough interviews with executives over the years that they could compile their own book of dos and donts for pitching.

What’s so wrong about giving industry access to amateurs and students who otherwise haven’t learned the proper (and free) way to contact executives. Nothing, if Animation Magazine billed this as an educational opportunity to develop a project and receive feedback from execs. They don’t do that though. They frame the contest as an “economical marketing campaign that lets you–the independent artist–and your animation project reach decision-makers the smart way.” In other words, they lead entrants to believe that this is a legitimate way for them to put their ideas in front of an audience of professionals. Ahh, if only it were that easy.

Pitch Party Executives

One of the main attractions of the event is that the entries are “judged” by development execs and producers, pictured above. Commenters on the Brew often make fun of those who judge movie posters as an indicator of a film’s quality, but guess what, professional industry execs have the magical ability to judge an entire series concept by looking at a miniature rectangle. This year’s nine judges, all respected professionals, should know better than to participate in this shakedown of budding creators. Not only are they squandering their own hard-earned reputations, they’re making our industry weaker by misleading people about how the animation business really works.

To end on a personal note, a couple weeks ago when I moved, my movers told me about their idea for an animated series. They’d even recorded tracks, but didn’t know the first thing about producing animation. I offered to meet with them for coffee and give them some basic guidance and tips. That’s how you help people. Animation Magazine and the executives who enable their contest believe that the best way to help people is to take people’s money by concocting a ridiculous event that has no grouding in industry realities.

An ironic note: part of the prize package if you win the contest is that Animation Magazine will reimburse your entry fee. The real winners though are the artists who weren’t naive enough to fall for the magazine’s pitch folly in the first place.

UPDATE: The folks at Animation Magazine want everyone to know that my article is “full of factual errors and negative comments,” and that they do the Pitch Party because, “It’s a valuable service to offer. . . .and not because it’s a huge profit center.” You can read the full statement on their website.


  • Marcklopfenstein

    It’s sad seeing such a force in animation media exploiting people like this. If I subscribed to this when I started animating in high school I probably would’ve went for it. That’s how this magazine appears to appreciate the young looking up to them.

    There are so many ways to make money or make the magazine more cost effective. Why would they resort to something like this?

    • http://pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

      “Why would they resort to something like this?”

      Easy. Its a way to sell advertising space and make money.

      Have you ever seen a magazine “tribute issue”. They find someone important in the industry, write a nice article about them and then sell overpriced advertising space to the “honoree’s” business suppliers. If the suppliers are smart, they’ll buy an ad congratulating the “honoree”.

      If they don’t buy an ad, the “honoree” says, “Hmm… Acme Widget Works didn’t say anything nice about me. Cancel their account.”

      Same thing here. You’re buying an ad to honor the Pitch Party.

      • http://www.animationmagazine.net Jean Thoren

        To answer your questions. These ads are not profitable. Animation Magazine does it as a service for those creators who can’t reach the industry professionals they would like to pitch to. The pros that volunteer their time to judge the entrants do not trash the creators work, but instead objectively rate and give each project constructive feedback. Do the math, these $375. ads are seen by thousands of people who pick up the magazine for free at Comic Con, they are displayed for a week at the top of our site, along with distribution to all of our digital and print subscribers. This equals thousands of impressions to a very targeted group. Most of Amid’s article was factually wrong. It isn’t the first time he has written this type of tome about Animation Magazine. Consider the source and check his facts. I am happy to offer a free digital subscription for 6 months to anyone on this comment thread who would like to find out for themselves why we have been around for 25 years. Sincerely, Jean Thoren, Owner/Pres. Animation Magazine I challenge you to print this response Amid!

      • amid

        Jean, You may not agree with my commentary about your pitch party, but there is nothing factually inaccurate about anything I wrote. If there were specific inaccuracies, I’m sure you would have been eager to point them out in this comment or in the response published on your website, which you haven’t.

  • http://siskavard.tumblr.com CM

    TV is a dying, stubborn old beast.

    Don’t ask for permission from people, you don’t need it nor their money.

    Make something and put it online. Fail and make some more.

  • Was My Face Red

    As this is the tenth year what better way to celebrate this wonderful scheme than by a special feature highlighting all the successful projects this contest has helped into development?

    • Was My Face Red

      Maybe they could charge to be included?

  • http://sparklepony.blogspot.com Peteykins

    Wasn’t Jerry Beck one of the founders of Animation Magazine?

    • amid

      Jerry can tell you himself better, but he definitely played an important role in its early days. The magazine was for many years, especially in pre-Internet times, a vital resource for the community and played a valuable role within the industry.

      • Jason

        I wish it was still like that but it has regressed into complete trash. Though then again most magazines are following the same direction so kudos to you amid for busting into the internet with a great resource.

      • Chris B

        I used to love that magazine back in the 80′s and early 90′s I stopped buying when I noticed in the late 90′s that it became Animation Executive magazine…I haven’t purchased one in years. It’s fine if your going to feature the animation industry as a whole but it slowly excluded the backbone of the Animation industry THE ARTISTS.Hopefully it has changed but who wants to hear stories about who moved to this studio and that studio executive wise.

      • http://sparklepony.blogspot.com Peteykins

        Right, I started seeing it in the early 90s when I worked for the Festival of Animation. I remember being amazed at how boring and mainstream an animation magazine could be.

        Thanks for the reply, Amid.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com Frank Panucci

    I have no dog in this pony show, but I enjoy posts like this one.

  • http://www.mikeoverbeck.net Mike O

    Someone, please greenlight Marine Baby. Please!

    • http://www.abelboddy.com C.Edwards

      I KNOW.

      “Todd Deller?” It doesn’t get much better than that!

  • Karl Hungus

    Great post.
    *And its a real testament to the integrity of Amid and CartoonBrew that one of the execs he is calling out is a guest contributor to this very website.

    • Lamont W.

      I was about to say… isn’t that Linda Simensky pictured there?

  • chipper

    I wish I could vote for all of them and have everyone win. That’d mess with people, and then everyone could get their money back.

  • Paul N

    I frequently disagree with Amid, but in this we are absolutely in agreement. This “contest” is an embarrassment for a magazine that is long past its glory days, or even relevance to the industry. It’s sad; back in the day Animation Magazine was phenomenal, but that was long ago…

    • http://www.rawlsy.blogspot.com Rawls

      I agree with this agreement about usually disagreeing with Amid but absolutely agreeing this time!

  • Xena

    8 men, 1 woman.

    Animation Magazine: not even trying to feign equality! Baah!

    • http://www.doctorwhom.com gavin

      Animation Mag aren’t to blame for there being more male execs in the industry. For all we know they may have approached more female execs, but they all had the smarts refuse involvement.

  • Adam

    I certainly see Amid’s point, and don’t know anything about this contest… But seeing all the esteemed judges (some of whom I consider friends), it seemed there must be another side to the story. I decided to do a search on Animation Magazine’s website to see if there are any updates on past winners. I found these:

    2011: http://www.animationmagazine.net/people/catching-up-with-past-pitch-party-winners/

    2010: http://www.animationmagazine.net/events/whats-new-with-our-pitch-party-winners/

    2009: http://www.animationmagazine.net/events/pitch-party-winners-updates/

    For sure, it’s a mixed bag, but some people did get some success from the exposure. I figure more information can’t hurt, so people can read and judge for themselves if it’s worthwhile for them…

    • amid

      The thing to remember though is that the people who were successful would have been successful with or without entering the contest. Talent always rises to the top.

      Animation Magazine is positioning itself as some sort of gatekeeper to the industry. The truth is that nobody needs to pay any magazine hundreds of dollars to have their work seen by the industry. That can be achieved for no cost by doing a little research. An industry publication that respected its readers would publish articles that guided artists on how to get their foot in the door, not run contests designed to take their money.

      • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

        Unfortunately, this is a common practice in many aspects of showbiz. There are film festivals that charge “entry fees” some as much as 500 dollars for the privilege of having your film in their festival. In stand-up comedy there are “Bringer shows” where you can get on stage at a major comedy club IF you can bring enough people. Some are ruthless enough to not give you stage time if one less person than the required number shows up to see you, and/or charge you money for the difference. I’ve heard similar stories from rock bands and the clubs they play at. I’ve been there/done that with all of these. Like Amid said, in every case, the cream always rises to the top and they are usually the people who realize early on that they don’t need to “Pay to Play”.

    • http://www.facebook.com/pages/JM-Urbina-Animation-Director/138440486216374 J.M. Urbina

      I personally like the Princess and The Mermaid (kissing each other) pitch. I absolutely see that on Disney Channel.

      And bout this con I only have to say that I’ve been in L.A. for 8 months pitching my properties around and it’s not as easy as these guys make it sound. But it’s not impossible either. Without no agent I have gotten the chance to show my work directly to Disney ,Nickelodeon and Frederator…not Cartoon Network unfortunately they won’t look at any of your stuff unless Ari Gold from Entourage calls them on your behalf…BOOM!

  • Broken But Hopeful

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is the free way to contact executives? Even I can see that this “Pitch Party” is a scam, but I was always told that you could only contact an executive if you already knew someone in the industry (and if you were prominent the industry yourself). My past pitching attempts resulted in absolutely no response whatsoever, so I had assumed what I was told was true. Do I need an in, or is there some way for “outside artists” to actually pitch something?

    • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

      Some studios used to have an open door policy – a few still do. Anyone could come in and pitch. Others now require that you have an agent, manager or lawyer contact you on their behalf first. If it’s important enough to you, you can get in front of someone to pitch.

      • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

        I meant to say’contact THEM on YOUR behalf’ not the other way around.

      • Broken But Hopeful

        Interesting! Thanks for the info! Sorry to pester you further, but do you know off-hand which studios still have an open door policy? Any additional information would be very much appreciated.

        I suppose one problem I have is that while I’m a cartoonist and animator, almost all of my art is made for charity groups for free instead of for profit. In other words, I don’t have a lot of money to risk. But these pitches I have are indeed very important to me; not only do I care very deeply for the characters, but it was always my dream to have some kind of established series and to use my notoriety to further help charity. I’ve been trying to accomplish for years, but with no luck. If there’s anything I can do to achieve this, I’ll do it.

        Any advice anyone has would mean so much to me!

      • Ira

        I really think the best place for you to start is by doing a little research. I think that’s the bottom line for most people who want to work in animation. If you want it badly enough you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. Knock on some doors, start with the studio sites and cold call if you need to.

        Best of luck.

      • http://www.ronimation.com Ron

        @ Broken but hopeful, sure I’d be happy to help you out. Click on my name and email me directly. I’d be happy to chat with you.

      • Broken But Slightly More Hopeful

        Ok, sent an e-mail last night! Thank you so much for this!

    • http://mikeamos.blogspot.com/ Michael Amos

      I have never had a problem pitching directly to the TV networks with no introductions etc. and I am certainly no big name in TV animation.

      I have done this by looking up the correct people to pitch to at the respective networks and calling or emailing them and introducing myself, talking about my experience and asking them if I can send them a bible / sample scripts for my concept. Or even better, asking them if I can organize a meeting time whilst in the US (I am in Australia) and pitching it to them in person, and I have always found the door open.

      Even though that ad is tiny, a great image and a very funny log line would be enough to get someone interested to find out more. I notice that most of them have a blog or website. Hopefully the judges look at those to make the final decision.

  • http://trevour.blogspot.com Trevour

    I was wondering when someone was gonna reboot the California Raisins as hot rod microphones!!

    • http://www.crazythalia.com Thalia

      I just noticed what I think is the female microphone – Those chesticles look like testicles…

      • Peter H

        I think this comes under “thoughtless usage of cartoon cliches” – you can’t mix ‘long thin neck’ with ‘arms sprout from under ears’!

  • http://animationanomaly.com Charles Kenny

    Oh, all the judges see is the ad? I was always under the impression that they saw some kind of more complete pitch package.

    Going by just those ads is indeed a tough way to judge a series.

  • Chris

    This post would be good if it were not for the first line “The problem with publishing a magazine about animation that nobody wants to read” That is a cheap shot and completely discredits the rest of the post.

    • Mike Old School

      Absolutely–this one definitely sounds like sour grapes from the grumpy “Oh we really, really care about the artists” hacks who crank out this blog.

      It’s funny how Cartoon Brew isn’t above taking people’s money when it comes to banner ads during the award season, but rags on a legit magazine when they sponsor a contest that allows artists to promote their ideas to studio execs–something that they probably wouldn’t be able to do without the ads.

      • Animojojojo

        A “legit” magazine? Have you ever tried reading a copy?

      • http://marcklopp.tumblr.com Marcklopfenstein

        so you’re saying cartoon brew can’t criticize questionable acts of making money-which are explained as logically problematic, while making a profit off of legitimate advertising at a good opportune moment?

        that sounds backwards, stop being backwards!

  • Jim M

    Okay, “Fat Girl Mystery Club” legitimately made me laugh.

    I’d buy that series for Adult Swim.

    • http://www.crazythalia.com Thalia

      That was my vote!

  • eeteed

    amid says: “…talent always rises to the top…”

    ummmm, no.

    you’ve been in and around the animation biz long enough to know better.

    mind you, i’m not saying this silly contest is a good idea, but talent always rises to the top is untrue, and as such is no argument against said silly contest.

    • Scarabim

      I agree. If “talent” always rises to the top, how does that explain Butch Hartman’s success? ;)

      • http://dtoons.com/conroy Failed Art Student

        I don’t hate Hartman’s stuff, but don’t forget connections always help.

        As for talent rising to the top.
        My last quarter at the Savannah College of Art and Design where we had a professional coming in telling us that even the best artists in the industry still struggle getting a job and pitching their stuff, and that no one will settle for mediocrity.
        So I’ve basically given up, and just make webcomics and web animation for a hobby.

      • Bud

        If “Talent” rises to the top, why is someone like max howard judging this?

      • http://saidomareshaq.blogspot.com/ Omar

        well amid didn’t say “…JUST talent always rises to the top…” and he also dind’t say “…talent always rises to the top IMMEDIATELY…”

        just keep chasing your dreams. eventually you’ll get where you want to.

  • http://www.tubbirdbelty.com Barbara

    If there is a Kickstarter campaign for “In-Security” I will totally donate to that cause

  • James Ciambor

    These ideas quite naturally suck. They actually think they pitch these ideas to networks and get the ideas sold? I can’t even laugh it this its so pathetic.

    • Jason

      I don’t man, I’ve seen some pretty horrible ideas get awfully close.

  • http://www.crazythalia.com Thalia

    Well now my mind is made up – I’m subscribing to Animation Magazine!

  • Mark Sheldon

    I’m embarrassed to say that the first year of this turd I payed for an ad. About a week after I paid my then 400 bucks I saw Amid trash the entire concept here in the brew and I realized I had been bamboozled.

    My show never got picked up by the way. And I consider the AM Pitch Party a very expensive life lesson.

    • http://marcklopp.tumblr.com Marcklopfenstein

      very sorry for your loss

  • Cowbell

    I actually liked some of the magazine articles with the short interviews, and the “day-of segment at the end”, they also seemed to have lots of other articles aimed at animation students which was cool. This is kind of a bummer…subscription will not be renewed.

  • Vic

    I know this is a little inside, but the dude from Disney Jr. looks like somebody combined Gary Marsh and Rich Ross. Spooky.

  • Ryoku

    Meh, none of these pitches look impressive.

    I don’t read Animation Magazine (nor know where to get it), how has its quality declined over the last few years?

  • The Gee

    The idea that a one-sheet is a good way to promote an animated series that is being pitched has always bugged me.

    When someone told me that is what his agent said he needed and when he seemed to imply that was a way to get the property out there, I couldn’t disagree. It just didn’t make any sense to me to agree with it.

    The reason I bring it up is that approach lowers the barrier to entry to barely realized ideas. For animated cartoons that could actually be done as a long-running series…why prepare a little when it is better to prove that a lot could be produced? And, to be able to prove that the property (sigh) is interesting and has something which will make a good cartoon?

    Animation Magazine’s pitchy party, enh. It might be scammy. It just seems like if people really and truly had cartoons they believed in then they would just make them. If they couldn’t, why are they bothering to believe the ideas are good?

    I”m not saying any participants get what they deserve. It is good that potential pitchers can find out this is a bad deal. But, I have less sympathy for them than I once would. The contest isn’t essential. It isn’t a gateway to anything, from what I can see.

    And, I totally agree with what CM wrote in the second comment: make something. Just make it good and care about it for what it is and not for if it might make you rich later on. Do that or start partying with the right people and stumble upwards.

  • Gerard de Souza

    So the prize is…….the winner gets to submit for free? What a con.

    • http://marcklopp.tumblr.com Marcklopfenstein

      i think the point is to show the idea to executives, which any uninformed person would assume could be more expensive than 375 dollars

  • Mike

    I’m new to the animation world and maybe a bit naive when it comes to “the pitch,” but wouldn’t a short ANIMATED teaser be a better way to go about promoting a project than a still image?

  • Mark

    That mag has been failing for over 15 years now. Sad-sack ads and “A day in the Life of..” hardly constitutes a legitimate animation magazine. Pathetic. I wonder why anyone is still taking this seriously?

  • MikeN

    I was going to stay out of commenting but a few comments and some prevailing attitudes have tipped me over the edge.

    It’s one thing to go after Animation Magazine if you don’t agree with the premise of this contest but some of the people posting their criticisms need to stop making assumptions about the intent, maturity, knowledge and goals of the various participants in this contest.

    Take some time out to explore some of the blogs of the better put together ads and consider a different perspective. There is this attitude that the people submitting are not hard workers or are just after some ‘get rich quick’ scheme or just dumb and uninformed and easily scanned and any study of at least a few of these entries reveals otherwise.

    If you are that concerned about budding animators and property developers taking advantage of various ways of putting their ideas infront of people then notice then take some time to visit their blogs or contact them with helpful critiques and feedback and suggestions on who to contact.

    Do not just sit and bash them over what it sounding more and more like a grudge against Animation Magazine, please. As to Animation Magazine – I will say that I did some research and normally a 1/6th page ad in a decently distributed magazine would cost upwards of $500.00 if not more – looked at from the perspective of a discounted ad in a magazine dealing with your subject matter – this isn’t that strange to fathom. For some people involved it’s not about winning. This is just -one- avenue they are using to market themselves and their ideas to eyes that might have missed it before now.

    • The Gee

      There’s most likely nothing beneficial to me to bother looking deeper into any of the participants’ ideas. Quite frankly, I can’t see why anyone not involved with this competition would look deeper than to skim this post.

      That written, sure, there could be some gems right out in the open waiting to be discovered. But, like with a lot of things related to developing a show, there’s more to be done so until those things happen, why should these pitches matter to anyone outside of this PitchParty process? It don’t mean much unless it ships.

      As for contacting the creators and giving them advice, tips and stuff? If I knew someone involved, yeah. Otherwise, I’d charge for consulting.

      The thing about this competition is that it introduces a middle man into a process which usually doesn’t require one. And, even in the standard process of pitching to the studios, from what people who’ve done it have told me, the chances of even getting a deal are slim. I swear it seems like its easier to produce a live action pilot than an animation pilot. But, it happens. Shows get made and aired.

      While I will offer the best to anyone involved, I hope they actually have something good and are willing to continue to do the hard work at making it better…without expecting the world–or 9 judges– to proclaim it as already being good.

      • MikeN

        Again the issue with Animation Magazine’s approach or verbiage on this matter is a separate issue for me.

        People should not be going into the contest with the assumption that success automatically means they get a show. In fact – Animag’s own articles that followed up with past winners clearly revealed otherwise. Some projects are still being worked on and for others who placed their activity in the contest led to -other- unrelated opportunities such as making industry contacts and job positions. It is not my place, nor yours, to address if someone got a job by being at a party at the right place and right time or if they got one by getting noticed by someone who saw their Pitch Party entry. If their work is good and their deserving of the recognition – so what.

        And that really takes me back to my original point which was to state, and now restate, that some – not all – of the comments have made blanket assumptions and criticisms about the various people who have entered this competition and put forth comments that range from untrue to patently ridiculous. While it’s fair for you, sir, to say there’s nothing beneficial to you to look deeper into someones idea – it is actually incumbent on the person levying the criticism to know what they are criticizing and some of the implied comments about entrants not knowing the pitch process or looking for a quick way in or not believing in their projects could not have -possibly- been made if that sort of insight existed.

        Again, go after Animag if it suits you or if you believe the verbiage of the ad can be misleading, but don’t attack the competitors or presume to know all of their mindsets, strategies or work ethics, related to their projects.

  • Vzk

    Hydro Bull has to be the greatest idea ever conceived in the history of animation.

    • http://bruandboegie.co.za Mike

      Somebody stole my freaking ‘Hydro-Bull’ idea. Ghaaa.

      • Was My Face Red

        “Hydro-bull. Hydro-bull. Does whatever a water pump can.”

    • Professor Widebottom

      I’m all over Hydro Bull. Don’t give up on the Bull!!!

  • http://davidderooij.nl David

    I have some cartoon ideas I would like to pitch some day, but I live in the Netherlands, so the chances of pitching to an American animation network aren’t so big.

    Isn’t there a way CartoonBrew could help with something like this? Maybe work together with a network? Or let people do their pitch online with promotion on Cartoonbrew and funding on Kickstarter/IndieGoGo to make a pilot episode?

  • Valentin Moretto

    “Plunger Pup” and “Carl” have a lot of potential.

  • Frank Ziegler

    Thanks Amid for saying everything I wished I had about this cruel scam. Just one of the many reasons I stopped buying that rag many moons ago.

  • http://thatssokraven.livejournal.com/ Kelly Tindall

    I feel bad for everybody involved except the magazine, who should be ashamed of itself.

  • Was My Face Red

    On a basic level the pitch fest doesn’t work very much like real pitching does. Really it’s just an opportinity to put an ad in the mag for a reduced rate. It also fosters the false idea that what is importnat is ‘the idea’ rather than what you do with it. A single image can catch the eye, for better or worse (I seem to be obsessed with Hyrdo-Bull now) but there’s so much more to it and to a show – and to convincing anyone else.

    For example to pitch at Cartoon Forum, a pro European pitch fest, you need..

    A show bible.
    Two scripts.
    Tons of visual material.
    A 40 second trail.
    About 30 minutes of live presentation.
    And to network your ass off!

    For more info on show developemnt and pitching do read the book Amid recommends. It’s honest and true.

  • http://altanimation.podomatic.com Joshua

    “could learn that by spending a few bucks on David Levy’s excellent primer Animation Development: From Pitch to Production.”
    If you click on the link it takes you to Amazon, where another scam is awaiting you. Read up on the scam that is the Amazon studios.
    Its sad to think how many people go there for animation related material that get tricked with their little add on everything that has to do with animation, and waste all that time and money…

  • Celia

    When the pitch party issue comes out, I usually try to get a free copy from a summer festival, and get other animation friends together to look at the entries. We have a couple beers, read the entries out loud, and laugh our asses off. Not sure if this is a pitch party motive, but either way, it’s very successful!

  • Max Howard is Useless

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “It is OK to post with a nickname or alias, but your email address (which we will NEVER share publicly), must be a real, permanent email address. Comments with fake or non-permanent emails will be deleted.”]

  • Up North

    It’s been a few decades now, but me and some fellow animation artists up here in Canada always refer to Animation Magazine as “Animation Producer Magazine”. It really isn’t for the animation artists,it’s a forum for animation executives to be featured and promoted while whatever animation crew within their project is completely kept in anonymity and off the pages. They used to say it was to prevent other producers from poaching artists that would be too prominently featured.
    Someone should come up with an animation rag that focuses on the animators, call it ” The Unpoachables”.

  • Inkan1969

    Oh, wow. The 4chan board /co/ had a thread about these pitches. I couldn’t believe how bad most of the pitches were. So this is the explanation behind the pitches.

  • Keith

    Amid’s movers will be top creative executives at Nick in six months.

  • snip2354

    Is it me, or is the synopsis for “Todd Dweller” written in a fashion that seems like it’s parodying Peter Griffin’s own failing attempts to write (his dirty novels, and “Handy Quacks”)?

    In that sense, the entrant may have submitted it as a prank.

  • dbenson

    I’m definitely an outside observer, but I had the impression studios don’t want to be exposed to unsolicited brainstorms — certainly not in a context like this — for fear of legal action.

    A lot of these seem to center on derivative designs or premises that have been done too often before and will be done too often again. Imitation generic anime? Critters with hip, urban attitude? Highly affected “styles” that look eerily familiar? Gee, those would break through the clutter.

    Most of the Big Ideas here are already all over the tube, and I’d bet several more are waiting to be unveiled this fall.

  • http://pierrefontaine.webs.com Pierre

    Entirely as an aside to the topic at hand, I’ve always found the poor graphic design in these pitch adverts to be just as amusing, if not more so, than the actual “pitch” ideas.

    I’ve certainly seen some nicely laid out “pitches” when Animation Magazine prints the contestant’s entries, but for the most part the layouts and design are just deplorable, as the sample “pitches” reproduced here plainly illustrate.

  • costerberg

    I’m actually in the pitch party contest, I submitted “Fat Girl Mystery Club”. While its not the case with all the entries, six of them (including mine) are actually the result of an in-class contest at Capilano College’s commercial animation program. Out of the class entries, six are chosen and then the program pays for their submission into the magazine.

    None of us are idiots who think this is going to result in a show, and none of use had to front any cash for our submissions.

    • http://www.animehell.org danno

      Fat Girl Mystery Club gets my vote.

      • Was My Face Red

        There’s some really nice artwork on the creators website and OH MY GOD, THE CONTEST ACTUALLY WORKS!!!!

  • david

    Funny how animation mag has not gone completely digital. It feels like the magazine is always so behind the news. And you would think that if it can’t deliver animation news first it would at least contain comprehensive interviews and reviews. The animation archive and cartoonbrew cover all things animation with a lot more effectiveness and insight.

    My favorite pitch from the magazine of years past was gertie the dinosaur , the series.

    • http://www.animationmagazine.net Jean Thoren

      FYI Animation Magazine has had digital subscriptions for 6 years now. This is just another rumor from this website that doesn’t check it’s facts as professional journalists would do.

    • http://www.gertiethedinosaur.com Earl Kisluk

      Thanks for the compliment about our Gertie the Dinosaur pitch. Even with what might seem like a slam dunk property (I sometimes think I might be the only person in the world who believes that), it’s tough getting a show on the air(and retaining some real ownership and control). We’ve been pitching a series through all kinds of avenues for years; Agents (Endeavor), Comic-Conventions (San Diego with promotional comics and toys), Lawyers, directly with Studio Execs and Independent Producers, Animation Production Companies, Tv/Film Distributors, Toy Companies, Pitch Festivals and Contests,…. and more. I’ve had deals come and go as fast as you can say “we’re moving to Beverly Hills”. I personally think, just getting your property’s name out in the public and in front of that one other person in the world who believes in your idea and happens to either be an Executive in Tv/Film or is wealthy enough to finance you, can mean the difference of obscurity and success. My advice to myself (and others if you care to listen), is to believe in your project and due the best that you can, dont give up, and eventually with good luck and persistance, your property will hit dinosaur size. So look for Gertie the Dinosaur on big and little screens near you, someday!!!

  • Mike Old School

    Wow…It’s funny how everyone just jumps on this one-sided, unethical and slanderous bandwagon. Animation Magazine has a very active website, has been offering digital versions for at least the past five years or so and features interviews with animation industry professionals in every issue. I guess since this is a blog, frequented by disgruntled artists, it’s OK to say whatever you feel like saying and follow in Amid’s footsteps. Shame on you.

  • Chris

    Please can I say this without getting chastised (since I like both CartoonBrew and Animation Magazine)? But I got a development deal with Warner Bros as a direct result of being in this competition a few years ago.

    For me, it was a foot in the door at a number of studios that don’t usually consider unsolicited materials, which were opened as a result of the judges remembering the ad and agreeing to look at my full presentation.

    I’m not saying that it’s the best way to get your pitch in front of someone, but it’s definitely a way of doing so.

  • Rick Farmiloe

    Animation Magazine has ALWAYS been about the ‘Business’ side of animation. It is loaded with pictures of new production people and executives. It’s NOT about the art of animation. You probably have to go back to Funnyworld for a really good magazine about the artform and filmmaking of animation. I feel sorry for these kids that get duped into PAYING to pitch an idea. What a scam!! Just keep logging into Cartoon Brew for what is REALLY happening in the animation world.

  • Trevor Keen

    You think that’s a lot of money?? Try being an illustrator and advertising in the major sourcebooks… $2500 for a year.

    This probably wouldn’t seem like such a scam to some people if they realized that it is simply the magazine selling ad space. Best to treat it as a reasonably-priced form of publicity, but not a magic bullet. Your concept may not get picked up, but it’s one more way to get your name out there for other jobs. At least AM isn’t demanding the artist sign over all rights to the concept, like Atomfilms does.

    A couple of the ads above do at least one thing correctly – they have a URL at the bottom, so anyone who’s interested can go there and (hopefully) see more info about the concept, storyboards, trailers, etc. and the artist’s bio. But they are missing the ‘Call to Action’ line of copy that tells the reader to do that.

    Mind you, if I was the AM editorial board, I might run this campaign a bit differently – make it a juried contest where I’d charge an entry fee (say around $50) but only publish the best submissions. That way, the artist doesn’t pay as much $$, and the magazine isn’t printing crappy artwork or ideas. Some of those printed above … BLEEAAH.

  • Chris B

    Any one know of how many of these pitches got picked up and aired over the years?

  • http://www.gradshow.com Don Perro

    I can’t say it better (or more briefly) than Cory, creator of “Fat Girl Mystery Club” did, but as the head of the Commercial Animation program and the design/animation instructor who promotes this competition to my students each year, I would really like to respond.

    Amid has his opinion and that’s fine. For Capilano University’s Commercial Animation program, the Pitch Party has become a great way to get our student work out into the community. Any of our 60 students can enter (we take the best six as determined by a few esteemed alumni and the competition occurs during the summer break. I like to get the students to keep drawing through the summer and the Pitch Party helps them to continue to work on their skills.

    None of my students expect to have their show sold because of the Pitch Party and when they ask me what they win, I tell them, “You’ll get spammed by creeps who want you to work for them for free”. The main reason I promote the Pitch Party is that shows often take years to get green-lit and you only succeed in this business by working, designing and evolving and competitions are a great way to inspire students to work hard. The money that Capilano U. pays for a page of 6 pitches is pretty much all of our program’s advertising budget and is definitely worth it.

    We have placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in every competition we entered (once even taking first place ahead of the talented Stephen Silver)and so the other reason we participate is admittedly a little selfish…we get our school’s name out there by showing student work.

    The Pitch Party has become a tradition for us: students are excited by it and start planning for it early in the school year. They’re encouraged to place their work on our working Pitch Party blog and get feedback from other students.

    I was surprised to hear from a student yesterday that Amid was against this. Yeah, not every pitch is a classic and AnimMag does charge, but the judges are industry veterans who green-light projects and from my point-of-view it’s a win-win-win for the magazine, our animation program and the students…even the ones who don’t get their pitch (or pitches)on to the page that we purchase.

    We just closed SIGGRAPH Vancouver and I saw schools with booths costing thousands and thousands of dollars that were seen by a lot fewer people than AnimMag reaches world-wide. Capilano U. will be entering again next year and hopefully we’ll have some fun stuff to show. Thanks for letting me post this and for all you negative folks out there slamming AnimMag, the judges and even the entrants….create something better why don’tcha?

    • amid

      If Capilano is devoted to preparing students for the industry, why not have them participate in programs that reflect the reality of how the industry works? Instead you encourage them to participate in a contest that you admit does nothing for their future except expose them to “creeps” who want to take advantage of them.

      It may be great advertisement for your school, but nothing in your comment explains how it actually benefits your student’s understanding of the industry. Animation is not a competition. Instilling a hard-working ethic and focused determination in your students will take them much farther in their careers than winning 1st, 2nd or 3rd place in a pitch contest.

      • http://www.gradshow.com Don Perro

        One of my primary goals, no…actually I see it as my responsibility, is to teach students about the realities of the animation industry and how to survive in it. How else can I prepare them to succeed in an environment where many players just want to suck artists dry and spit them out when they’ve got what they want or when a new batch of students comes along? The main reason I became passionate about teaching is that I and my peers (from various animation schools in the early 80′s) WEREN’T prepared for the industry and I wanted to give my students the fundamental skills and street sense that I didn’t get until much later.

        At Capilano, we bring in all levels of guest speakers from local studios and I demand that they tell it like it is. And the instructors I hire don’t live in ivory towers with their MFAs; they come straight from the industry. Last year Bob Jaques (director of Ren & Stimpy, Baby Huey, Family Guy) taught in our program. If anyone is able and willing to teach the realities of the industry, it’s Bob.

        I did not admit that the Pitch Party does nothing for the students. I explained clearly that the competition inspires them to keep working through their summer break and that we do try to instill a work ethic.

        With respect, you’re wrong Amid: commercial animation is most definitely a competition…for one’s entire career. And to survive you have to keep learning and growing and working damn hard while taking care of yourself and instilling balance in your life. My goal is that our students understand that by the time they graduate and I think, for the most part, they do.

  • AK

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