Animag is ramping up for the 2013 edition of our annual Pitch Party contest — the online/print pitching competition that puts your animated project ideas into the hands of industry decision makers. Submissions are now open for this year’s contest, with the winners set to be announced in our July Comic-Con issue. Don’t forget: The pitch with the highest ranking from our judges panel of animation executives will get the chance to pitch their idea to the judge of their choice.
Our first four noteworthy judges have been confirmed; stay tuned to the site and newsletter for further updates, and be sure to visit the Pitch Party page for more information.
Barry Blumberg – Executive Vice President, Alloy Digital | President, SMOSH
As EVP for Alloy Digital, a major creator/distributor of next gen media and entertainment for the 12-34 set, Blumberg guides editorial strategy and programming development for Alloy-owned sites and video channels underl the Alloy Digital Network. These include popular properties Clevver TV, Crushable, The Escapist, Gurl, The Gloss, Teen, SMOSH, along with recently launched YouTube channel spin-offs SMOSH Games and Shut Up! Cartoons. The network currently reaches an audience of 90 million consumers and has over 30 million followers on its varied social media profiles. With the combined numbers of its YouTube channels, Alloy’s properties rank No. 1 in total subscribers (over 6.5 billion views)–including SMOSH and Clevver TV which have reached 2 billion and 1 billion views respectively.
Blumberg continues to serve as President of Alloy Digital’s pop-culture phenomenon SMOSH, which Time Magazine called the “SNL of the Internet” and hit Forbes‘ “30 under 30.” The award-winning comedy website and multiple top-ranked YouTube channels attract a devoted audience of teens and young adults that reach more than 10 million total platform subscribers. Under Blumberg’s guidance, SMOSH has blossomed into a multi-faceted enterprise that includes multiple record-setting channel spinoffs, top-charting musical endeavors, merchandising brand extensions, mobile apps, gaming and theatrical exhibition. He is also the brainchild behind SMOSH’s Shut Up! Cartoons, the original animation channel that ranks as one of YouTube’s fastest growing and most viewed of the platform’s premium channel initiative.
Before making a splash at SMOSH, Blumber served as president of Walt Disney Television Animation, where he oversaw production of more than 1,000 episodes delivered to Disney Channels and other global distribution outlets. His resume also includes a stint as EVP of Harvey Entertainment, where he managed media and merchandising activities for evergreen brands Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich.
Cort Lane – Vice President Animation Development & Production, Marvel Television
As a life-long Marvel fan, animation VP Cort Lane says he is thrilled to develop and produce shows within the rich Marvel Universe. In addition to supervising the animation development team, he serves as current series executive on all ongoing series. Drawing on a wealth of experience in entertainment, interactive media and marketing for children, Lane is well suited to lead Marvel’s expanding slate of productions and co-productions.
Most recently, Lane served as development executive and supervising producer on Ultimate Spider-Man for Disney XD’s Marvel Universe programming block, as well as the upcoming shows Marvel’s Avengers Assemble and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., set to join XD’s Marvel block July 7 and August 11 of this year, respectively.
Lane has also worked on co-productions of Iron Man: Armored Adventures with Method Animation for Nicktoons and Marvel Anime: Iron Man, Wolverine, X-Men & Blade with Madhouse for Japan’s Animax, as well as developing and supervising production on The Super Hero Squad Show for The Hub. Previously, he served as Director of Development for Marvel Animation, working on co-productions like BET’s Black Panther.
Prior to joining Marvel in 2008, Lane spent seven years at Mattel producing animated, live-action and interactive entertainment across brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price. His period at Mattel includes several productions, including supervising Universal’s Barbie in A Christmas Carol and developing Monster High.
Fred Seibert – Founder, Frederator Studios
As his matter-of-fact biographry states, “Fred Seibert makes cartoons and television networks.” While true, this is putting things a bit simply as Seibert has been a fixture of the TV industry and animation community since the ’80s, when he revolutionized channel branding as MTV’s first creative director. In the same decade, Seibert and partner Alan Goodman turned around then-floundering kids network Nickelodeon. In 1992, he became the last president of Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and turned around the studio by creating Cartoon Network’s What a Cartoon!, which spun off into popular series Cow and Chicken, Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls and Courage the Cowardly Dog.
Seibert founded Frederator Studios in 1997 after Hanna-Barbera was brought into the Turner/Time Warner fold. In addition to Frederator’s first-look deal with Nickelodeon–which has spawned The Fairly OddParents, ChalkZone, My Life as a Teenage Robot, Nicktoons Film Festival, Oh Yeah! Cartoons, Random! Cartoons and Fanboy and Chum Chum–the studio also produces Cartoon Network’s hit action comedy Adventure Time. Seibert also founded one of the first online toon channels, Channel Frederator, as well as Next New Networks (acquired by YouTube) and Cartoon Hangover, home of Penn Ward’s Bravest Warriors.
This year, the enterprising Seibert started up Frederator Books, a digital-only ebook publisher whose first title The Lieography of Babe Ruth came out in March, followed by The Lieography of Harry Houdini; both by Alan Katz. Additionally, Seibert currently serves on the board of directors for Sawhorse Media, creator of the social media Shorty Awards, and popular blogging platform Tumblr.
Linda Simensky – Vice President Children’s Programming, PBS
As veep of PBS’s acclaimed children’s programming division, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners, PBS station programmers, and distributors throughout the development, production, post-production and broadcast phases for PBS KIDS programming. Since joining the channel in 2003, Simensky has helped develop hit shows that reach 82% of kids 2-8 in the U.S.–including Curious George, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Wild Kratts and WordGirl–as well as PBS KIDS’ latest series, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, inspired by Fred Rogers. Her efforts in transforming the preschool and school-aged programming lineup have helped make PBS KIDS the most trusted educational media brand for children, with its shows consistently ranked number one with moms and in the top five with preschoolers. Simensky is currently working on new pre-k series Peg + Cat, premiering this fall.
Prior to joining PBS, Simensky was senior VP of original animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw the development and production of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog and other major projects. Simensky began her career with a nine-year tenure at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch such popular series as Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show.
Simensky is a past-president of ASIFA-East, and the founder of New York chapter of Women in Animation. She has lectured at numerous colleges and animation festivals, and has taught courses in animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has written for numerous animation publications and has had several essays published in books including Nickelodeon Nation and The Children’s Television Community.
Simensky holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and history from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in media ecology from New York University.