Pitch Party ’08 Results Are In!

After several days of deliberation, our animation industry judges have finally weighed in, and we have the winners of the Seventh Annual Animation Magazine Pitch Party. In addition, we received thousands of online votes to determine the latest crop of standouts. Our grand prize winners will be given the chance to pitch to the judge of their choice and perhaps become the next big thing in animation. We’d like to thank everyone who voted for their part in making Pitch Party ’08 one of the magazine’s biggest events of the past 20 years.

First Place [Tie]: RIP Alice (Mike Jones)

Mike Jones, a 26-year-old first-year student at north Vancouver’s Capilano College came up with a nice twist on the fish-out-of-water concept: a toon abut a big city Goth girl who has to learn how to cope with the simple pleasures of a small-town lifestyle. Don Perro, who heads up the animation program at Capilano, presented the competition to their animation/design students and their top six ideas made it to our Pitch Party pages.

RIP Alice was an idea that had formulated in my head over the last few months, having just moved to a big city for the first time,’ says Mike. ‘Traveling on the bus each day I’d see all kinds of young people who seemed like their only job was to look cool and hip … I found it very funny how they would complain about the most superficial things.’

Mike says he grew up on the Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry shorts and would love to explore the world of animation as best as he can. ‘I’d like to take a stab at 3D animation, although I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put away my sketch book,’ he adds. ‘Character design and development is where I’m strongest. Ultimately though, I’d like to work my way towards being a director. Excellent storytelling is becoming rare, and so it’s something I’m really looking to learn more about.’ We’re hoping that Alice the Goth girl will open a whole lot of doors for this talented artist in the years ahead.

First Place [Tie]: Lerning Is Fub (Brian Smith, Eggplant)

When you’re hot, you’re hot! Brian Smith, who works at Toronto’s sound and design outfit, Eggplant Collective, won top prize last year with his King of the Universe pitch, placed second place in 2006 with Monster in a Box and, this year, he had everyone giggling about his ‘educational show made by morons and starring Stitches the Lobotomized Cat.’

“It’s good to know that there are others out there just as eager to warp the minds of our children,” he jokes. “Having three daughters, I was subjected to years of so-called children’s ‘edu-tainment,’ so this was my way of getting back at Barney for all the pain he inflicted upon my wife and I.” Brian is developing more animated concepts at Eggplant, and he’s also working on an animation/live-action script about a cartoon boy who is trying to adapt to life in the real world–a new take on Pinocchio. “Any agents out there looking to rep a good writer, do call!” he says.

Brian points out that winning the Pitch Party opened new doors for his company and has landed him several fruitful industry meetings in the past. His advice for future contestants? ‘It’s really important to come up with an idea that is simple to convey: the best idea you have many not be the best Pitch Party idea. If it can’t be conveyed in the space of a business card, it doesn’t matter if it’s the next Simpsons!’ Frankly, we would love to see Lerning Is Fub become as big as the Simpsons!

Second Place: The House of Woooo (Colleen Thomas)

First-year Capilano College (in North Vancouver) student Colleen Thomas put a fun spin on the old werewolf mystery tales which appealed to our judges. ‘It started with the idea of these two odd kids being the caretaker for their grandpa, but something had to be horribly wrong,’ says the talented 24-year-old artist. ‘I’ve always liked action adventure cartoons best, and I draw a lot of monsters and scrappy kids, so it seemed like a natural combination. It’s the kind of story that I would like to work on, or to watch’That’s what I tried to think of.’ Many of our judges also wanted to see Colleen’s vision come to animated life.

Third Place: Tag (Mike Chapman)

Mike, a senior at Savannah’s College of Art and Design, says he wanted to create a short that was simple, yet, very cinematic. ‘I liked the idea of thinking of the robot as the kid’s best friend combined with the devotion and playfulness of a dog,’ he explains. Tag is basically about love, and what you would do to save what you love.’ Mike learned about the Pitch Party through SCAD chair of animation Jeremy Moorshead, who generously sponsored six of the school’s students. He says his senior project will be a short based on his pitch. He adds, ‘I think most people enter this field because they have a story to tell, something that they think about day and night. It’s a wonderful thing when we are given a chance to bring some of these ideas to light.’ We have a feeling Mike’s work will get a lot of more recognition once he finishes his senior project.

Animation Magazine Staff Picks

First Place: Lerning Is Fub (Brian Smith, Eggplant)

Second Place: The Princess & The Mermaid (Jo Reid, Capilano College)

Third Place: Cow Kitty (E. Mullock, Capilano College) )

Honorable Mention: Evil Genius Academy (Lee Sheppard)

Animation Magazine Online Readers’ Picks

First Place: That Intellectual Wacky Show (Ariel Quezada)

Second Place: Rocket (Daniel Contois)

Third Place: The Boogie Woogies, Superhero Band (Grande Musical Promotions, Selina Box)

The Pitch Party is an extremely targeted advertising campaign designed to help indie producers and up-and-coming talents present their ideas to influential people who currently hold key positions in the development and production of animated television. Contestants who purchased a 1/6th’page ad at a discount rate in this issue were able to get their ideas off of their computers and draft tables, and in front of these execs and the animation industry at large.

We wish our grand prize winners Mike Jones of Capilano College and Brian Smith of Eggplant the best of luck with RIP Alice and Lerning Is Fub and hope good things come from the exposure all of this year’s contestants received by participating. Next year’s Pitch Party will be here before you know it (deadline is June 16, 2009), so start getting those pitches together now!

Be sure to check out all of this year’s Pitch Party ads in the August (Comic-Con) issue of Animation Magazine!