Animag’s 10th Annual Pitch Party Winners Announced!

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Although behavioral scientists believe that it only takes a few seconds for someone to determine whether they like a concept, an image or even a person, we hope it takes animation executives a little longer to figure out whether a pitch is going to work or not. Nevertheless, they all agree that the right image, paired with a clever, original idea presented to the right person can be the beginning of a great new animated show.

Animag’s annual Pitch Party contest works as an extremely targeted ad campaign designed to help indie and up-and-coming artists hone their talents to present their pitches to an expert panel of industry execs and agents. The contestants who purchased a 1/6th page in this issue (which has a bonus distribution at San Diego’s Comic-Con event) also have the chance to showcase their ideas to the animation community at large.

We are very pleased to announce that this year’s First Place winner is Nath Milburn, who received the highest score from our panel with his pitch for a show called Sheriff Banks’ Ghost Town. As part of his prize package, Nath will be reimbursed his entry fee and get to pitch to his favorite judge directly.

We also had record turnout for our online voting! The winner of this part of the Pitch Party was Fat Girl Mystery Club by Cory Osterberg. Second place goes to The Taffetas by Yesenia Carrero and Tracy MacLauchlan, and third to The Chronicles of Anna and Lo by George Moss.

We would like to thank every one of our amazing 2011 Pitch Party contestants. Many of our previous editions’ contestants have had success with their toon ideas (you can visit www.animationmagazine.net to read up on some of their inspiring stories). As one of our industry experts noted on their response form, “It’s all about polishing your ideas and presenting it to the right network or entertainment outlet. Never underestimate a good idea that can capture the imagination and make people laugh.”

First Place: Nath Milburn

Our judges really responded well to Nath’s excellent graphic style and classic cartoon premise of a no-nonsense sheriff having to deal with the ghostly denizens of a haunted town. Nath is a 21-year-old artist and animator who recently graduated from Savannah College of Art & Design with a BFA in Motion Media Design and a Minor in Animation.

“I really wanted to make something about plants to show that they are alive and well and aren’t just accessories for people,” Nath recalls. “Cacti have always been a favorite type of plant for me so I started there. The Western theme kind of developed from the desert environment and then the ghost came along after researching old ghost towns. I wanted to keep it simple this time since I tend to try and add too much at the start.”

Nath says he has two major goals: to create an animated TV series and a feature-length cartoon. He also sites Joe Murray, the man behind Rocko’s Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, as one of his idols. This summer, Nath has a few short films in various stages of development and is helping friends with their cartoons. We hope we all get to see his brave sheriff and dastardly ghosts at play in the world of animation in the very near future.”

Second Place Winner: Roxana Beiklik

Capilano University grad Roxana Beiklik initially created her appealing Witch Hazel character for her first year design final at the Vancouver-based school.

“For our final project, we had been asked to create a model pack consisting of five original characters which we would need to pitch to the class at the end of the semester,” she says. “After graduating, I finally got a chance to revisit the idea and work on it a little more and eventually it evolved into what was put into this pitch.”

The talented 22-year old plans to pursue a career in story and visual development.

“Right now my plan is to continue learning and improving,” she says. “The foundation of any project is definitely the most appealing part of the creation process to me.”

Roxana names animation masters Bruce Timm and Glen Keane as two of her main influences.

“I’ve always loved and admired any and all aspects of animation ever since I can remember,” she tells us. “It wasn’t until my third year in university that I finally decided to pursue my passion more seriously as a profession, and I’m very glad I did. I recently completed the two year Commercial Animation Program at Capilano University and I have to say, going there was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made; it’s an amazing program with a great faculty and my time was definitely well spent.”

This summer, Roxana is working on various side projects and animation scripts.

“I’m very conscious of the fact that I am still learning and will continue to learn for a very long time, but now there is this whole realm of possibilities and unknowns and quite frankly I’m excited to see where it all takes me.”

Keep up the great work and attitude, Roxy, and we just know you’re going to go far!

Third Place Winner: Daniel James Cox

What do computer game characters do when they’re not working? Talented Sydney-based visual development artist Daniel James Cox seems to know. He says he wanted to create a show that would combine some his biggest influences.

“I looked at the design and solid construction of the characters in the old Disney shorts and began doodling away” he tells Animag. “The name just popped into my head, and it kind of defined the characters for me. I love watching the Disney cartoons and SpongeBob with my kids, so it was really just a matter of putting two and two together, to make five!”

A graduate of Sydney’s University of Technology’s design program, Dan has worked on feature films, TV shows and animation title sequences.
“It’s been a fun ride, but what I really want to do is get my own show up because I now have the experience and knowledge to make it awesome,” he notes. “At least, I think it’s awesome!”

In addition to Cog & Turbine, Dan is working on a graphic novel called Red Giant and is also teaming up with Alex Proyas on the feature adaptation of Milton’s Paradise Lost and with Rick Jacobson on a World War II film about the experiences of the B-17 bomber crews.

“I have lots of ideas and projects, just not enough time in the day!”

This summer, the talented artist will be making the trek to Comic-Con, as well as creating an online comic version of Cog & Turbine.

“I think it’s a good way of giving people the feel for the show and hopefully illustrate how funny it will be!” he notes. “I’ll also be at Comic-Con so if anyone is reading this and wants to say hello — or give me a big check to make the show — please do!”

Money folks, you heard the man, so now is the time to put your money to good use!

Meet Our Brilliant Judges!

Joe D’Ambrosia

VP, Original Programming, Disney Junior

Favorites: Sheriff Banks’ Ghost Town, A Cock Tale, High-Speed Waffle Man

Curtis Lelash

Director, Original Animation, Cartoon Network

Favorites: Sheriff Banks’ Ghost Town, Fat Girl Mystery Club, Witch Hazel

Walter Newman

Manager of Comedy Development, Cartoon Network & [adult swim]

Favorites: ARMSmasters Project, Insecurity, Kiko the Brave Bat

Ted Biaselli

Exec Director, Programming, The Hub

Favorites: A Cock Tale, In-Security, Sheriff Banks’ Ghost Town, Duck & Monster

Gary S. Mann

VP, Original Programming & Development, Comedy Central

Favorites: The Nubiks, Carl, Firefighter Dan, Yugo & Lala

Paul Robinson

Global CEO, KidsCo

Favorites: The Nubiks, Carl, Feeling Peculiar, Marco & Polo

Max Howard

Max Howard Consulting Group

Favorites: Witch Hazel, Cog & Turbine, Grandpa 2.0, Kiko the Brave Bat

Mike Moon

VP, Creative, Disney Television Animation

Favorites: Sheriff Banks’ Ghost Town, Grandpa 2.0

Linda Simensky

VP, Children’s Programming, PBS

Favorites: Cog & Turbine, Duck & Monster, Sheriff Banks’ Ghost Town

Animag Staff Picks

  • First Place: Duck & Monster (Tyler Kupferer/Base 14)
  • Second Place: Surf Seekers (Kevin Riley)
  • Third Place: Cog & Turbine (Daniel Cox)

Online Readers Picks – Total of 2,373 votes cast!

  • First Place: Fat Girl Mystery Club (Cory Osterberg) – 268 votes
  • Second Place: The Taffetas (Yesenia Carrero, Tracy MacLauchlan) – 201 votes
  • Third Place: The Chronicles of Anna and Lo (George Moss) – 193 votes

Congratulations to all our winners and to everyone who entered the 10th annual Pitch Party contest! We’ll see you again next year!