What’s New with Our Pitch Party Winners

As the deadline for this year’s Pitch Party contest approaches, we thought it would be a good idea to check in with a couple of winners from last year’s edition to see what they’ve been up to over the past 12 months:

Last year’s top-prize winner Chelsea Gordon-Ratzlaff wrote to tell us that she’s recently graduated from Capilano University’s commercial animation program and is drawing everyday and considering going back to school to brush up on her 3D skills. She notes, ‘The best thing that came out of winning the Pitch Party was getting a chance to talk with Eric Coleman [senior VP of original series at Disney Animation], who gave me lots of awesome advice on pitching my ideas. It just really made me feel better about where I am right now and where I’m headed in the industry.’ She also incorporated her Pitch Party character Clerence in an animation project. ‘Our task was to create a station bumper that had to be exactly 15 seconds long and focus on character animation,’she explains. I was having trouble coming up with an idea on what to do and someone in my class suggested I do Clerence. I had a lot of fun with it.’

You can see her work at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUPA9fc3qPQ

Animation artist, author and teacher Stephen Silver placed second with his fun children’s pitch Jolly & Roger’s Misguided Adventures. He tells us that his concept generated interest, but unfortunately, the major studios had other pirate-themed projects in development. He is now developing a new intellectual property where he and his partners will be having creator-owned merchandise at the San Diego Zoo this summer. He adds,’I have personally been freelancing, developing my own art and teaching full time at schoolism.com, an online art school I have been associated with from its beginning.’ Silver, whose two volumes of illustrations The Art of Silver and Passion for Life can be ordered on amazon.com, says he has been working from his home studio and loving it.

Among other news about previous years’ winners: magician extraordinaire Nicholas Night, the winner of our first Pitch Party contest with his TV concept The Hair-Rising Adventures of Aaron & Ned, is now working on an upcoming CG-animated feature titled Pavlov’s Dog with the team at Exodus Film Group (Igor) and Melwood Pictures. The movie follows the adventures of an uptight flea from out of town that learns to adjust to a new, chaotic life with a big-city dog.

Animation artist and creator Chris Leathers, who won the 2004 Pitch Party with his clever pitch My Annoying Little Brother, also wrote to let us know that he’s developing a new animated series based on the life of a dolphin activist (and inspiration for the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove). Leathers pitched his Pitch Party show to Nelvana and he says they were really helpful, but the idea wasn’t ready for TV. Since then, he has worked on various Nickelodeon shows, as well as Kappa Mikey and Speed Racer: The Next Generation.

By the way, one of this year’s amazing Pitch Party judges, Kevin Gamble, VP of development at Disney, actually entered our contest seven years ago. ‘It was a series concept called Crashed that I ended up selling to Cartoon Network’I pitched it to Tramm Wigzel a year later and he put it into development,’ he says. Although a regime change ended up putting the show on the back-burner, it just goes to show that you never know what will happen to your pitch once you enter our contest and send it out into the universe!

Best of luck to all of the talented, creative people who entered our Pitch Pary over the past eight years. As we’ve said here before, just making an impression on the decision-makers is half the battle. If you’d like to find out more about this year’s contest and top-notch judges, visit www.animationmagazine.net/pitch_party_2010.html