Pitch Party Winners’ Updates!

It’s always interesting to find out what’s been happening to the projects and talented artists who submitted the winning entries in previous years’ Pitch Party contests. So we contacted some of the top winners of the past couple of years to find out what they’re up to in 2009. Here is what they told us:

Brian Smith of Eggplant Collective in Toronto has been a regular favorite of both our judges and staff picks in the past few years. His creative and cleverly drawn pitches for Lerning is Fub, King of the Universe and Monster in a Box grabbed everyone’s attention three years in a row. As a result of last years’ win, he landed an in-person meeting with the top development execs at DreamWorks where he presented them with two of his awesome movie ideas, one of which is called Toon Boy, a family feature about an animated boy who lives in a real-life universe.

Brian Smith, Lerning is Fub, King of the Universe, Monster in a Box

‘I realized that their next big feature was Monsters vs. Aliens, so they really didn’t need another monster concept,’ he adds. ‘So I spent the night before the meeting in my hotel room, typing up an entire treatment for a brand new concept that I pitched to them! I guess you could say that I used my Pitch Party success into getting several industry pitches of the concept.’ Today, Brian is directing a campaign of live-action TV commercials. We hope one of the smart studios out there will greenlight one of his cool movie ideas real soon.

Mike Jones also nabbed the first-prize last year with his clever pitch about a Goth girl in a small town called RIP Alice. Having just graduated from the commercial animation program at Capilano University, he’s now enrolled in the computer animation program for the fall. ‘The contest really did wonders for me,’ he notes. ‘I was an intern in a studio last summer; shortly after I won the contest, the Director of development approached me and said ‘You’re that Mike Jones, aren’t you!?” Jones has also been working on illustrations and developing more ideas with his brother, who is also an animator. He adds, ‘I’ve had the fortune of speaking to a few different directors and producers about my work. It’s something I never would have expected, having just recently finished my program. To have some recognition so early in my career has been a real blessing!’

Mike Jones, RIP Alice

Colleen Thomas dazzled our judges last year with her House of Wooo concept. ‘I’ve graduated from Capilano University and I’m continuing to work on my pitch. I received a lot of feedback because of the contest, and I’d still love to do something with the story.’ She says she found the whole contest a great experience and points out that she’ll be trying to enter the contest again this year!

Colleen Thomas, House of Wooo

Jonathan Reid Sevigny who came up with a knock-your-socks-off concept about the relationship between a fairy tale princess and a mermaid wrote to tell us that he’s being developing new ideas and sharing them with his fans on his blog www.joreid.blogspot.com. He writes, ‘Since you guys published my pitch in your magazine I did an art show around the theme of fairy-tales gone gay. I’ve also participated in art and zine fairs here in Montreal. I’m selling my prints all around the city. Just recently I self-published a small book The Reckless Youth Odyssey and I’m currently working on second book Lycanthropy. I’m also currently working on two huge set designs for a baroque orchestra. I haven’t done anything to this great scale before so I’m a little nervous. I’m a perfectionist though, so I hope that it turns out as amazing as I’m picturing it in my head!’

Jo Reid Sevigny, The Princess and the Mermaid

Natasha Parish, who impressed us with her idea for a show called Deidra Daydreamer in 2007 told us that she pitched her new show The Jr. Dynamos to Rick Clodfelter at Cartoon Network. She also got some interest from Neo Network from the Magnolia Group. She adds, ‘I’m jazzed about my newest baby, Magic Mix-Up, it’s about a witch and magician constantly competing to prove who’s the best at magic in their town.’ Natasha pointed out that the contest opened some doors for her along the way. ‘People from the industry are willing to check my stuff out, where as before no one would call me back. Now they call me back at least once then disappear for a pack of cigarettes I think the Pitch Party Contest is great if you win or not, because you get such a good and varied amount of responses that allows you to look at your idea with new eyes.’

Natasha Paris, Deidra Daydreamer

U.K.-based artist Christopher Wilson made a lot of new fans with his beautifully drawn concept Night Mia last year. He says when his pitch took the third spot last year, he tried to get in touch with the judges who had listed his entry as their favorites. ‘This led to me getting in touch with Betsy McGowen and Ian Richter at Kids’ WB! on the CW. They liked my pitch enough to introduce me to a French producer name Sidonie Herman.’ WIilso had already written the first scrip and outlined a further 13 episodes for the series. After McGowan and Richter left Kids’ WB!, Alison Acton of Doomcat Studios turned the first episode of Night Mia into a graphic novel. ‘It’s an idea that just won’t go away, so I’ll continue plugging away with it, but I do have a lot of other ideas that I’d still like to get on screen!’

Christopher Wilson, Night Mia

Daniel Contois was one of the clear front-runners in 2007 with his idea for a show called Ghengis Conroy. He tells us that since then, he’s been polishing his Toon Boom and Flash skills and learning more about animation. He adds, ‘I received great publicity from the Pitch Party’I'm currently under contract with a production company out in California to animated eight two-minute animations for a wesbite. The company saw my work in your magazine and really liked what they saw!’ Contois also confirms that Ghengis Conroy will back for more adventures. ‘After a little refinement I will be putting him out there in front of industry professionals. As I work on a new concept to submit for this year’s Pitch Party, I have a better appreciation for Ghengis Conroy. I think there is a future for him!’

Daniel Contois, Ghengis Conroy

Chris Leathers, who was the First Prize winner of our contest in 2004 (with his awesome pitch, My Annoying Little Brother) also wrote to let us know that he’s been working on several hot toons at Animation Collective in New York City. “The best thing I’ve done since entering the Pitch Party was get hired at Animation Collective, and then work on Kappa Mikey and the new Speed Racer series. I am also making animation for games and working on a new idea to shop around!” You can check out his website, www.massdlm.com for more info!

Best of luck to all of the talented and creative folks who entered our Pitch Party over the past seven years. We are all proud of your achievements and salute your great attitude and spirit. If you’d like to learn more about this year’s event, click here: www.animationmagazine.net/pitch_party_09.html