As would-be toon tycoons scramble to get their submissions postmarked today, Animation Magazine is pleased to announce the addition of three more industry pros to our panel of judges for the 4th Annual Pitch Party. [adult swim]’s Nick Weidenfeld, AMG’s Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Kids’ WB!’s Betsy McGowen will join other noteworthy talents and animation execs in reviewing pitch submissions and selecting one talented winner for a private pitch session.
Manager of program development for [adult swim]
Formerly a magazine editor, Weidenfeld was offered the [adult swim] gig by the infamous Mike Lazzo while interviewing Lazzo for Esquire Magazine. Currently, Nick’s wading through pitches and helping diversify the successful late-night block, developing shows outside of Williams St. Prods. This fall, you’ll taste just some of the fruits of his labor, most notably the much anticipated Boondocks from comic satirist Aaron McGruder, Moral Orel (described as Davey and Goliath meets South Park) and Minoriteam, a show about a group of ethnically diverse superheroes who use their racial stereotypes to destroy racial stereotypes.
Founder/CEO, The Gotham Group
Ellen Goldsmith-Vein founded The Gotham Group in 1994 and quickly grew it into the largest representation firm in the world focusing on creative talent in the animation and family entertainment business. Recognized as the powerhouse management firm in the animation industry, The Gotham Group boasts a roster of over 250 top directors, writers, producers, illustrators, artists and content creators, providing a full range of services in both live action and animated feature film and television including packaging, corporate consulting, strategic career planning, children’s programming, prime time television series, and animated and family entertainment content for emerging new media.
This past year saw Goldsmith-Vein dramatically ramp up The Gotham Group’s production arm in both features and television. The company has recently closed a deal with Taiwanese studio Digimax to produce $50-125 million dollar animated motion pictures, underlining the importance of this rapidly expanding niche throughout the entertainment business. Currently Gotham is producing a feature film based on client Doug TenNapel’s graphic novel Creature Tech at New Regency with Forrest Gump producer Wendy Finerman; The Spiderwick Chronicles, set up at Paramount with Nickelodeon Movies, based on the recently published best-selling series of fantasy books written by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi; and Redwall, based on the acclaimed book series by Brian Jaques, in development with writer Andrew Marlowe (Air Force One, Hollow Man, Catwoman). On the television side, Gotham is producing A Pretty Good Life, a collaboration with Grammy Award winner Macy Gray currently in development as an animated series with Warner Bros Animation; and three series in development with Nickelodeon: Gear, also based on a graphic novel by Doug TenNapel; Charlie & Chunk, created by famed stop-motion animator and creator of Celebrity Death Match, Eric Fogel; and Stormriders, created by renowned animation director Steve Lyons.
Dominating the animation and family entertainment fields and rapidly expanding their reach into all aspects of the entertainment industry, The Gotham Group is uniquely positioned to create career opportunities for its diverse range of A-list clientele.
Ms. Goldsmith-Vein serves on the Board of the What to Expect Foundation and is a member of the Blue Ribbon of the Los Angeles Music Center. She serves on the Entertainment, Media & Technology Advisory Committee of the Starbright Foundation and is a member of the American Film Institute’s 3rd Decade Council, ASIFA Hollywood, Women in Film, the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences, and the Hollywood Radio & Television Society. Goldsmith-Vein also served as a member of the Alumnae Board of Hollins College, is a past Board member of Free Arts for Abused Children, and has served as a fellow on the Steering Committee of the Museum of Television & Radio.
Senior VP/general manager, Kids WB!
McGowen was promoted to her current position after an illustrious tenure at the helm of Kids’ WB! Marketing, which resulted in 34 PROMAX Awards for on-air branding, image and show promotion, and two Prism Awards for anti-smoking campaigns. McGowen now oversees Kids’ WB!, including current programming, development and scheduling, as well as marketing areas including brand, image, show promotion and broadcast formatting.
McGowen has been a key member of the Kids’ WB! team, which has won 15 consecutive Saturday morning sweeps and has been the No.1 broadcast network since Fall 2000. She works closely with The WB’s research department to find out what kids want, and also collaborates with other divisions within Time Warner (Features, Consumer Products, Publishing, New Media, Warner Home Video, Warner Animation, etc.) in order to create synergistic programming that can succeed on multiple platforms.
Prior to joining The WB, McGowen was a freelance writer/producer/editor, working primarily for Fox, The Disney Channel and syndicated talk shows. She was also on staff as a writer/producer for Fox Kids’ Network.
A fine arts and theater major at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, McGowen now lives in Los Angeles. She is a volunteer at the St. Robert’s Center Weekend Food Pantry for the Homeless in Venice, Calif., and is also on the Board of Directors of the San Damiano Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that produces films for charitable organizations to use as promotional tools.