The Pitches are In!
Hit or miss? You be the judge!
Animation Magazine's Fourth Annual Pitch Party has now begun! The pitches are in and our industry pro judges are now making their selections. You can get in on the fun as well by choosing your favorite cartoon ideas! Your input may even help one of these would-be cartoon moguls get his or her project greenlit and on the air. Participate in our reader poll today! Last day to vote is Monday, July 11.
CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

•WHAT'S A PITCH PARTY?

For the fourth year in a row we're opening up an entire section of our publication (read by more animation decision-makers than any other) to 1/6th page advertisements that pitch new ideas. For less than the cost of a workshop on "breaking into the biz" you can get your great idea in front of our major readers. [NOTE: This opportunity is only available once a year. AND to help you out, we're offering these ads at a heavily discounted price!]

PLUS! We've enlisted a panel of ten powerful development execs, producers and agents to judge your entries. The Pitch Party winner will receive a chance to pitch the judge of his or her choice. AND the winner will receive FREE Pitch Party Participation.

• WHO'S JUDGING THIS THING?

Wow! The call is just out and, already, we've got some of the most powerful people in Hollywood—make that "the world"—ready to judge the work of our Pitch Party Participants. Check back here everyday for the next two weeks to see what doors you could open just by entering our Pitch Party!!!

THE JUDGES ARE IN:

Meet The Pitch Party Judges
Animation Magazine’s Fourth Annual Pitch Party is underway and we would like to introduce you to some of the distinguished animation industry professionals we have lined up to judge this year’s competition. We’ll have more exciting announcements regarding additional judges in the next few weeks. To have your cartoon ideas seen by the following toon luminaries, submit your pitches today.

Peter Gal
Director, Animation Development, Nickelodeon

Peter Gal is Director of Animation Development for Nickelodeon. In his current role, Peter develops new animated series for Nickelodeon and oversees the Nickelodeon Cartoon Inkubator shorts program. He joined Nickelodeon in late 2003 after serving as a development executive at Walt Disney Television Animation and at Disney Channel. Prior to entering the entertainment industry, Peter was a corporate attorney with the firm of Dewey Ballantine, a Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney and Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender. Born in New York City, Peter graduated from Tufts University with a B.A. degree in Anthropology. He received his J.D. degree from the University of California‹Hastings College of Law in San Francisco. Peter also studied anthropology and literature at Oxford University. He resides in Los Angeles.

Max Howard
Founder, Melwood Pictures

Executive Producer, Exodus Film Group

Max Howard is a veteran executive and producer in the animation film industry. He spent 12 at the Walt Disney Co. as one of the highest level architects of that company’s animation renaissance. He was involved at a senior level in the making of a number of Disney’s animation successes, including The Little Mermaid, The Prince and the Pauper, Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin,The Lion King, Pocahontas and Fantasia 2000. In the mid-’90s he became President of Feature Animation at Warner Bros., overseeing the award-winning animated feature The Iron Giant and the international hit Space Jam. Recently he was a producer at DreamWorks, until he left to set up Melwood Pictures.  He is currently exec producing several animated features with Exodus Film Group, including Igor, The Hero of Color City and Amarillo Armadillo. Howard is also producing the CG-animated/live action feature, Pavlov’s Dog, a co-production between Howard’s Melwood Pictures and Exodus.

Nick Weidenfeld
Manager of Program Development for [adult swim], Cartoon Network
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.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein
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, childrenšs 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 Groupšs 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 TenNapelšs 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 Institutešs 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.

Betsy McGowen
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.

Craig McCracken
Creator, Exec Producer and Director Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends
Craig McCracken is the talented toon master behind Cartoon Network’s critically acclaimed series, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. The charming Flash-animated series is McCracken’s follow-up to The Powerpuff Girls, Cartoon Network’s Emmy-winning series about three super-powered little girls. The show remains one of Cartoon Network’s most popular animated series in the U.S., and is seen in more than 145 countries around the world. McCracken also served as director of The Powerpuff Girls Movie, released in July 2002 by Cartoon Network and Warner Bros. Pictures. The movie, created at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, Calif., marked the first feature film based on a Cartoon Network original series.  

McCracken’s inspiration for The Powerpuff Girls came directly from The Whoopass Girls, a student film he created in his second year studying character animation Cal Arts. While at Cal Arts, McCracken wrote, directed and produced eight student films, five of them featuring a character named No Neck Joe. McCracken also worked as the art director for the four-time Emmy-nominated series Dexter’s Laboratory and served as art director on the first season of 2 Stupid Dogs. McCracken was named to Entertainment Weekly’s "It List," citing the most creative people in entertainment in 1999.

Irene Weibel
VP of Educational Development, Nelvana
Lord of the Rings fans will be interested to know that Nelvana VP of development Irene Weibel is one of the key executives responsible for greenlighting the upcoming Nelvana/WETA Digital co-production, Jane and the Dragon. In her VP role at Nelvana, Weibel manages the overall development of all preschool and 6-11 properties that focus on educational goals, working with such notable authors such as Bill Joyce, Dan Yaccarino and Eric Rohmann. Weibel also oversees the brand management of Nelvana's PBS portfolio of shows, and manages the work of Nelvana's educational content advisors. Other shows she's developing include Gaspergoo, Grossology and Future is Wild. Before joining the company in 1999, Weibel spent more than 17 years in public television with stints at KCET, Los Angeles; WGBY, Springfield; and WGBH, Boston.

Linda Simensky
Senior Director of Children's Programming, PBS
Simensky manages the award-winning PBS KIDS programming block, working with producers, co-production partners and distributors throughout development, production, post-production and broadcast. She began her career with a nine-year tenure at Nickelodeon, where she helped build their animation department and launch such popular series as Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show. Most recently, she was senior VP of original animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw the development and series production of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog, Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy and other major projects.

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 books, and a recent essay of hers appears in the book, Nickelodeon.

Helen McAleer
Deputy Managing Director of Children's Unit, BBC
McAleer is responsibile for acquisition of intellectual property, marketing, creative direction and licensing activities, as well as managing relationships with third party rights owners in the UK and internationally.

Formerly Director of Global Licensing at BBC Worldwide, McAleer is now responsible for the brand development and global marketing of a portfolio of leading children’s properties including Teletubbies, Tweenies, Fimbles, Balamory, Big Cook Little Cook, Charlie and Lola and The Secret Show. She oversees the distribution and licensing for all of these properties, working closely with the international division at BBC Worldwide, CBBC, international broadcasting partners, publishers and independent producers.

Linda Kahn,
Senior VP of Programming and Distribution, Scholastic Ent.
Kahn is responsible for developing and directing all sales and strategic international opportunities in TV, video, interactive, character licensing and promotions for Scholastic Entertainment. Her responsibilities encompass SE's international sales program and video sales, as well as managing international licensing and promotional activities. Kahn directs Scholastic Entertainment's international consumer products and promotional activities including those for Clifford The Big Red Dog, I SPY, Horrible Histories, Stellaluna, The Magic School Bus, Animorphs and Goosebumps. She also spearheaded the branding and distribution of the Scholastic Video Collection. Prior to joining SE in 1995, she spent 12 years in senior exec positions at Nickelodeon and MTV Networks. Previously, as VP of acquisitions for Nickelodeon and Nick at Nite, Kahn was responsible for all program acquisitions for Nickelodeon in its early years and instrumental in the launch of Nick at Nite. Kahn is currently the president of New York Women in Film & Television and a board member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

• AND WHAT DO I WIN?

For one thing, a whole of print and online coverage! Not only do you get a 1/6th page ad in our print edition, if you're a winner, you'll get additional editorial coverage, a chance to pitch your idea to the judge of your choice and the cost of your entry reimbursed.

BUT WAIT! There's more … (here's a big list of everything you could get just by entering).

  • 1/6th page in the August edition of Animation Magazine, distributed to readers in 78 countries with bonus distribution at the San Diego Comic-Con.
  • A high-powered panel of development execs and producers will personally evaluate your pitch.
  • If you win, you get to pitch your idea to the Judge of your choice. Plus! You'll get editorial coverage in our August edition.
  • If you win, you get FREE Pitch Party Participation.
  • If you come in second or third, you'll get editorial coverage in our August edition.
  • We also run a STAFF PICKS contest. So if our staff picks you, they'll write about why you won in our August edition.
  • Finally, we run an ONLINE READERS' POLL using your 1/6th page ad. So for one week your ad will be online and oggled by more than 100,000 unique visitors. AND! You guessed it! We also write about the winners of the online poll in our August edition. (Don't worry, we monitor our ONLINE READERS' POLL carefully. No reader can vote more than one time!) The Online Readers' Poll begins on or about June 7.

• HOW DO I ENTER?

1) Call 818-991-2884 or e-mail [email protected] to reserve your entry space. One of our great sales execs will contact you immediately. Entry Deadline is June 6, 2005.

2) What you'll need to provide via e-mail: a JPEG or TIFF image from your pitch, a 30-word description of your pitch and your contact information.

3) The entry fee is $375.

• FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How Do I Protect My Idea? Well, the easiest answer is "by entering the Pitch Party." If you're pitching your idea in our magazine then your idea has appeared in print with your name attached; your idea is no longer floating around out in the ether for anyone to pick up. To further protect yourself though, we suggest registering your idea with the Writers Guild. Go to www.wga.org for more info.

WHAT KIND OF STUFF CAN I ENTER? Anything! As long as your idea has the potential to be animated, you can enter a television series, movie, game, whatever! Be forewarned, however, our judges are strictly from the movie and TV arena.

WHEN DO YOU ANNOUNCE THE WINNERS? As soon as our August issue hits the newsstands, around July 1. We will also be hyping our winners online during the week of the San Diego Comic-Con, July 14 - 18 (www.comic-con.org).

WHAT SHOULD I ENTER? Basically an idea that's different; something our judges haven't seen before. Most development folks want a show that is "character-driven" or "kid-relate-able." In artist-speak that just means they're looking for a show that has a strong character at the center of the action and, if it's a TV show, a character that kids can latch onto. Remember to pick a really strong image for your entry, one that describes your show or its main character in a striking visual manner. Concerning your 30-word description, all we can say is re-write, re-write, re-write. Don't just give us the first thing that trips off your fingertips onto the keyboard and into Microsoft word. Work it! Then read it to your friends. They'll tell you if they get it or not. (And, we know this sounds dumb, but run a spell check.)

• LEGAL STUFF

Animation Magazine is not responsible or liable for ensuring the images used in Pitch Party Participant advertisements are the property of the advertisers/participants.