Jeanne Simon

 

First, meet former Nickelodeon producer Jeanne Pappas Simon

Little did I know 26 years ago that my entire career would prepare me to help others get their shows on TV. I’ve been involved in show business for most my life in one way or another. Maybe it has something to do with family history – my uncle, Ben Thau, was head of MGM back in the day when Ben Hur was a box office smash.

I’ve had my 15 minutes of fame in front of the camera as a news broadcaster, a cable talk show host, and a commercial talent. My type A controlling personality flourished in the behind-the-scenes action as an editor, camera lady, writer, and news director. I did all this while I was still living in Missouri. Phase two of my career started when I decided to get serious and move to the happiest place on earth. (Oops that comes later.)

I packed up my Toyota and moved to Beverly. Actually, I rented an apartment in Los Feliz and I worked on feature films at the legendary Corman Studios in Venice Beach, Lethal Weapon 2, and HBO’s hit series 1st & 10. The best part of working on that production was meeting my husband Mark Simon.

Not too long after Mark and I met, we knew our life together would have many sequels and we needed a new location. So we moved to the happiest place on earth and we both landed jobs at Nickelodeon which was located at Universal Studios Orlando.

Clarissa Explains it all Show Cast and Crew

While at Nickelodeon, I was a part of TV history as a producer on the show that catapulted Melissa Joan Hart to stardom as Clarissa in Clarissa Explains It All. This ground-breaking show was created by Mitchell Kriegman who was also the creative force behind the hugely popular shows Bear in the Big Blue House, The Book of Pooh, and It’s a Big, Big World.

I also produced many other Nickelodeon shows such as Allegra’s Window, which featured work by puppeteers trained by Jim Henson, Gullah Gullah Island, Weinerville, and Roundhouse with American Idol director Bruce Gowers. I also worked on Get The Picture, Nick Arcade, Make the Grade, What Would You Do?, as well as the ABC pilot Real Mature, and developed the international format for Blues Clues.

In between Nickelodeon gigs, I also pitched a series that ran for two years on Animal Planet, wrote scripts for the ABC series Secrets of the Animal Kingdom and produced and directed portions of the pseudo-reality series Roller Jam on TNN.Jeanne Simon produced, wrote and directed roll-ins and character development segments on Roller Jam.

Turner Broadcasting greenlit my network

Action shot from Roller Jam

One of the most challenging and rewarding tasks in my TV career was as a consultant for Turner Broadcasting. I was teamed up with another consultant from New York to create the programming, staff, and budget for an entire new network from nothing. After almost one year of heavy development, we pitched our concepts to Scott Sassa (who later became president of NBC) and he, and Ted Turner, gave our network the green light. Plans were under way to launch the network when Time Warner bought Turner and put the brakes on our network before it ever got a test drive.

Turner Broadcasting greenlit my network!

My time at Turner though got my creative juices flowing and I teamed up with my husband to create and sell our own TV shows. We’ve created practically every kind of show you can think of: animations for kids and adults, game shows, dramatic TV movies of the week, live-action sitcoms, faith-based TV, live-action kids edutainment, training videos, feature films, and reality TV shows. We’ve signed 35 distribution deals and won over 50 international awards including Grand Prize in the first ever Nicktoons Film Festival with our series of shorts Timmy’s Lessons in Nature. Every major network called us to pitch after that win. Mark and I continue to create and sell our own concepts and have helped many of our clients get deals of their own.

Mark Simon

Now meet director, artist, author, lecturer, entrepreneur Mark Simon

Mark-Simon-leaning-on-dock-12-05-Matted-197x300For me, happiness is creating something, especially if it has anything to do with the arts. My creativity as a designer emerged at the tender age of twelve when I was a competitive skateboarder unsatisfied with store-bought boards. I designed my own line of boards and sold them to Schwinn. For me, creativity wasn’t complete unless I shared it with others. Making money along the way has always been the icing on the cake.

While an art major in college, I had my own award-winning advertising agency and I published a college newspaper throughout Texas which featured cartoons, photos, and controversial views on current events of the day.

After graduating from college, I knew that I wanted to be in the movie business, so I kissed my mom and Texas good-bye and headed to Hollywood. With plenty of outlets for my artistic talents, I worked as a designer on movies, commercials, and TV shows. Like Jeanne, I got my start at Roger Corman’s studio. When I was hired as the construction coordinator on HBO’s 1st & 10 I had to see Jeanne to sign employment papers and little did I know that I’d be signing up for the rest of my life.

She let me know that part of our deal was to leave L.A. and of course we did just that. We were both hired at Nickelodeon before the studios had officially opened. I was the second art director at Nickelodeon. My creativity as a designer exploded during my time as a Nickelodeon art director on numerous shows under the inspired guidance of Byron Taylor.

Spielberg’s NBC series, seaQuest

Little did I know though that art direction was not to be my career for long. When I heard that Steven Spielberg’s show seaQuest DSV was coming to Orlando I was determined to do whatever it took to get on that show. I thought set designer was the job for me, but the producer had a different job in mind – storyboard and concept artist. I got to direct the second unit, design special effects, work directly with top directors, and work on story! Thanks to seaQuest I launched a new career and, when the show wrapped, I started my own company, Animatics & Storyboards, Inc., which would eventually become the largest storyboard house in the Southern U.S.

I’ve worked on over 4,000 productions on everything from TV series to commercials to feature films.

Working on hundreds of storyboard jobs a year has left me a few spare hours at night and on weekends to write books and create my own original TV concepts. I’ve written, published, and marketed 10 books, and I’ve created, pitched and sold dozens of shows. Plus I’m a contributing writer to Animation World Network and Animation Magazine, Filmmaker Magazine, Movie Maker Magazine and others.

Check out Mark’s long-running video blog, The Making of a Dream. This blog chronicles the making of the animated show, Dream Factory, from concept through production and into distribution. Go to http://www.awn.com/blog/making-dream-episode-1-what-blog-about

The various books and articles I’ve written on storyboarding and animation have established me as an expert in these fields and I’ve had the great fortune to lecture around the world. In China, I lectured at a cultural symposium on how China could increase the quality and quantity of their indigenous animation. In the U.K., I lectured and gave workshops at Animex about storyboarding and pitching. And domestically, I’ve lectured at high schools, colleges, conventions, festivals, and art institutes on various aspects of art and how being an artist is the best job in the world. If creativity is my first love, then inspiring others to follow their passion for creativity is my second love.

Industry books

I started pitching when I was working at Disney. I would design live events for Disney Business Productions and would put together their pitch packages. They would send me all over the country to pitch our ideas to their potential customers. More often than not we would close a deal in the room.

I’ve pitched (and sold shows) to FOX, ABC, DIC, Nickelodeon, PBS, Dargaud-Marina, Discovery Networks, Cartoon Network, Nelvana, BBC, G4, France 3 and Disney just to name a few. I have also worked with companies and networks such as Disney, Nickelodeon, Golf Channel, and HSN, to develop and pitch their inhouse shows.

I’m the animation producer for Fox’s Tooth Fairy 2 starring Larry the Cable Guy and the animation producer for the latest Little Rascals movie for Universal. I also developed the hit comic strips B.C. and Wizard of Id for film and TV.

In 2012 I won a Prime Time Engineering Emmy for my work with Toon Boom on their Storyboard Pro software and I was the 3rd inductee into the DAVE School, the Digital Animation & Visual Effects School, Hall of Fame.

Prime Time Engineering EmmyAs word spread about our success pitching and selling shows, more and more people kept calling us about helping them develop, package, pitch, and sell their shows. The demand just became overwhelming and that’s why we started Sell Your TV Concept Now. We get to do what we love – create shows – and we can help many more people fulfill their dreams of having their own TV shows.

I’m also heavy into martial arts. I’m a 2nd degree black belt and 3-time national Tae Kwon Do champion. I do have to admit that breaking concrete is cool, but the fear of hurting my drawing hand is always there.

And here’s the good news: If we can develop, pitch, and sell our TV shows without living in Hollywood, without having an agent, and without doing everything right, then anyone can do it. We’ll show you how.

Mark & Jeanne Simon Partial List of Clients & Projects

Networks: My Wife Is PregnantPeople:
NickelodeonEarly DaysBryan Spicer
Cartoon NetworkGUTSRobert Wiemer
FoxWelcome FreshmenJesus Trevino
NBCDooley and Pals Show
ABCWide World of Sports
HBOGallagher
ShowtimeTotal Panic
VH-1 Production Studios:
TNN Feature/TV Films: Disney
TurnerHootSesame Workshop
Animal PlanetLonely HeartsAmblin Entertainment
PAX-TVThe Waterboy20th Century Fox
PBSLethal Weapon 2Sunbow
HSNMcHale’s NavyHaxan Films
Golf ChannelNowhere to RunWarner Bros.
MTV LatinoBeverly Hills VampMarvel
Night of the CycloneViacom
TV Series:Wilde LifeUniversal Pictures
Clarissa Explains It AllInterstate 95Miramax Pictures
DexterTwo MuchTriStar
Round HouseMiami School Bus HijackingDick Clark Productions
Gullah Gullah IslandWalking DeadSavoy Pictures
Roller JamSlave Girls From Beyond InfinityMTM Productions
Allegra’s WindowParty LineSony Pictures
WeinervilleIn Dangerous CompanyEmpire Pictures
Carrot Top’s A.M. MayhemKill Crazy
Alpha Dog ChallengeDeath Row Game Show Commercials
Zoo VentureMidnight Thousands Including:
Secrets of the Animal KingdomCoke
International Blue’s Clues People: M&M
A Message From GodSteven SpielbergPepsi
In Search Of…Mitchell KreigmanMastercard
Dragon TalesBruce Gowers3M
Real MatureChris GiffordFord
Timmy’s Lessons In NatureBrian GadinskiNFL
Miss MiamiFrank CoraciNike
Outta HereTim HillBurger King
The Brother’s FlubAntoine FuquaYamaha
DisciplesAnson WilliamsIBM
1st & 10Liz PlonkaShell
The CapeJonathan DebinAT&T
seaQuest DSVAlexa JungeNBA
What Would You Do?Stan LathanGE
Second NoahWoody FrasierSprint
Baby BeethovenMarc SummersSears
The CapeIan ToyntonJeep
Nick ArcadeRob BowmanAdidas
FirefightersReza BadiyiAMC
From The Earth To The MoonBuddy SheffieldCadillac