Meet Your Mentors
Mark & Jeanne 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.
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 produced pilots for Animal Planet, 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 Rollerjam on TNN.
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 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 20 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.
We’ve signed 25 distribution deals
Mark and I continue to create and sell our own concepts and now as founders of our newest venture we’re able to help many more people achieve their dreams of having a show on TV.
Now meet director, artist, author, lecturer, entrepreneur Mark Simon
For 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.
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 3,000 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.
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.
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.
As 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.
My Wife Is Pregnant
|Nickelodeon||Early Days||Robert Wiemer|
|Cartoon Network||GUTS||Jesus Trevino|
|Fox||Welcome Freshmen||Burt Brinkerhoff|
|NBC||Dooley and Pals Show||Bryan Hickox|
|ABC||Wide World of Sports||Reginald Hudlin|
|Animal Planet||Lonely Hearts||Amblin Entertainment|
|PAX-TV||The Waterboy||20th Century Fox|
|PBS||Lethal Weapon 2||Sunbow|
|HSN||McHale’s Navy||Haxan Films|
|Golf Channel||Nowhere to Run||Warner Bros.|
|MTV Latino||Beverly Hills Vamp||Marvel|
|Night of the Cyclone||Viacom|
|Wilde Life||Universal Pictures|
|Clarissa Explains It All||Interstate 95||Miramax Pictures|
|Round House||Miami School Bus Hijacking||Dick Clark Productions|
|Gullah Gullah Island||Walking Dead||Savoy Pictures|
|Roller Jam||Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity||MTM Productions|
|Allegra’s Window||Party Line||Sony Pictures|
|Weinerville||In Dangerous Company||Empire Pictures|
|Carrot Top’s A.M. Mayhem||Kill Crazy|
|Alpha Dog Challenge||Death Row Game Show||
|Secrets of the Animal Kingdom||Coke|
|International Blue’s Clues||
|A Message From God||Steven Spielberg||Pepsi|
|In Search Of…||Mitchell Kreigman||Mastercard|
|Dragon Tales||Bruce Gowers||3M|
|Real Mature||Chris Gifford||Ford|
|Timmy’s Lessons In Nature||Brian Gadinski||NFL|
|Miss Miami||Frank Coraci||Nike|
|Outta Here||Tim Hill||Burger King|
|The Brother’s Flub||Antoine Fuqua||Yamaha|
|1st & 10||Liz Plonka||Shell|
|The Cape||Jonathan Debin||AT&T|
|seaQuest DSV||Alexa Junge||NBA|
|What Would You Do?||Stan Lathan||GE|
|Second Noah||Woody Frasier||Sprint|
|Baby Beethoven||Marc Summers||Sears|
|The Cape||Ian Toynton||Jeep|
|Nick Arcade||Rob Bowman||Adidas|
|From The Earth To The Moon||Buddy Sheffield||Cadillac|
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.