Newsletter 14 – September 2012
Since The Animation Conference (TAC) in Ottawa, Canada is coming up this month, it makes sense to throw the spotlight on some recent excitement for an animation project by client Allen Hillard once presented there. His animation series proposal Roadkill Bunch, detailing the adventures of a wacky group of road-damaged animals targeted by a villain skunk, has since landed interest from a noted animation producer and the top talent agency in Los Angeles that represesnts him.
When Allen first approached us he had a delightfully twisted coffee table-size photo book of actual roadkill animals, along with some T-shirt art he had been sell ing. Working with Mark and one of our artists, the project was developed into a full treatment, including a one-sheet, and Mark mentored Allen at the TAC conference, where Allen got a crash course in the animation market and made some crucial contacts.
Now all that inspiration, development, and networking is paying off. Here’s a nice complement from Allen about the process.
“Once again, and certainly not the last time I want to tell you guys how incredible it has been working with you! I know it was not a coincidence that I found you on my random Google search. Thanks a million! That’s a million dollars when we get into the “ridiculous” earnings! We’ll celebrate with a sleepover in your backyard in our RK Bunch sleeping bags and tents! Thank you”
-Allen Hillard, Creator, Roadkill Bunch
Roadkill Bunch has always been one of our favorite projects and we are thrilled for Allen to see a major agency starting to feel the same way. Next time you dodge some vultures feeding on a smooshed armadillo in the middle of the road, remember that someone took inspiration from a similar scene all the way to a top Hollywood agency!
IN PRODUCTION with MARK & JEANNE
Mark and Jeanne spent a hectic two days putting together a fast-paced promotional video for the Hit Maker Tour packages. The idea was to answer as many common questions about our popular Hit Maker Tours as quickly as possible. The video came out to 37 seconds. We take these Tours very seriously because they work so well for our clients. But we had to take a cue from John Cleese and have a bit of fun answering these questions as fast as we could. Here’s a behind the scenes shot of Jeanne on the shoot, and the photo is an active link to the video on YouTube if you haven’t seen it yet.
We Are in the Finals…Again
And speaking of the Hit Maker Tour to The Animation Conference (TAC) in Ottawa, Canada this month, Mark and Jeanne just got fantastic news that one of their projects (Luke and Reece Save the World) submitted to the Pitch This! contest was chosen as one of ONLY two finalists to be part of that finale event before industry buyers and a big audience. This is the second conference in a row (after Realscreen) where projects developed by Mark or Jeanne, or clients mentored by them, have been the featured finalists in pitch contests. We’re on a roll! Further proof that our system and advice KICKS ASS.
More animation: Mark has an article called “Here Comes the Pitch” currently running in an animation magazine in India called Animation Today. Here’s a link to that article:
Mark’s latest podcast interview is available now online here:
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s recent article on the Animation World Network website.
Mind Your Business: Comic-Con Alter Egos – Part 2
I’m getting my geek on at Comic-Con but those hideously long lines keep me from getting into the biggest rooms. The true experience for 95% of Comic-Con attendees is standing in line, pushing through crowds and going to the smaller events. Luckily, there’s a ton of cool shit to see and the smaller events are often better than the biggest ones.
Being that I’m a total geek for cartoon strips, I went to see Dan Piraro talk about his Bizarro strip and Lynn Johnston talk about For Better or For Worse.
Dan Pisaro of Bizarro and Lynn Johnston of For Better or For Worse.
I’ve known both of them for a while, but I had never seen them give a talk before. Dan is like a stand-up comedian. He controlled the room and had us rolling. Then I found out that his alter ego really is a stand-up comedian at nights. Lynn Johnston is soft spoken one-on-one, but give her a marker and put her in front of a large group of fans and she becomes the quick est wit in the West.
Back to the floor to squeeze through throngs of thongs (I just made that up!) and I exposed (keep your mind out of the gutter) more secret identities. The Marvel booth had an Xbox going and men and women alike were letting their inner superhero fly while playing Avengers: Battle For Earth. The guy roaming the halls riding the dinosaur spends his normal days with old things too. He works on the Midway ship in the museum.
I may not have seen many of the big star events, but the big stars were also out and about. Ian McKellan was wandering around outside the convention center late on Friday night talking to people who were sleeping on the sidewalk. Can you imagine waking up on a sidewalk and seeing Gandalf standing above you booming, “You Shall Not Pass!”
On Saturday I saw two of the funniest sessions back to back. It started with a session called Quick Draw. This is sketch comedy at its best. And I mean real sketch comedy. The world’s fastest cartoonists drew cartoons based on audience suggestions, much like improv. On the panel were Sergio Aragones (MAD Magazine), Scott Shaw! (Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crewand yes, the exclamation point is part of his name) and Keith Knight (The K Chronicles). This has been a Con favorite for years.
There was a display of trolls from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Three of them towered over the aisle and became the number one photo opp of the Con.
One popular costume this year was the bloody cheerleader. I stopped a pair from the pompom parade and asked them what they do when they’re not jumping around and taking evil pictures with Con goers, “I make bloody cheerleader outfits for other people. Really.” So this is how geeks get their ultimate revenge on the cheerleaders who ignored them in high school. It’s obivously a growth industry.
Again, the aisles provided great visual interest. I ran into a Hugh Hefner-esque super hero and his hot super-heroine date. He’s an eyelid plastic surgeon in real life and she owns a commercial insurance agency. Then there were the two guys dressed in their prom dresses. I don’t know what their alter egos are because, frankly, they scared me too much to ask.
As I was winding up my day, I saw this young, little guy in a great Edward Scissorhands outfit. All I could think about is that one day his secret identity will be the crazy guy locked in an asylum for killing his parents who dressed him like this.
I put together a little video profiling what Comic-Con is like for those of us who don’t spend the entire time in the Hall H line and instead push through the crowds, go to smaller venues and wait in lots of other lines.
For the full article go to:
Get Your MIPCOM Discount Right Here!
The Animation Conference (TAC) is happening this month on the 19-20, but MIPCOM is the big television conference next month in Cannes, France.
Our email list recipients get a $283 discount off the registration rate for the MIPCOM TV Conference this Fall.
This is our gift to you whether you go on our Hit Maker Tour or not.
ANYONE who wants to take advantage of this opportunity to pitch at the world’s biggest TV conference can enjoy this great savings. It’s our thanks to loyal readers.
Cannes, France October 8-11, 2012
MIPCOM Jr (kids programming special event) is October 6-7, 2012
MIPCOM Jr requires a separate registration fee. Contact us if you should attend this or not, usually not.
Here’s How to Get the MIPCOM Discount
We have a special Concierge Service set up to handle your registration and discounted rate.
Call Rebekah Dahling’s direct line at MIPCOM 212-284-5149
Tell her you’re with our group and give her our Discount Code:SYTCN2012. You will pay only 965 Euros, plus VAT (Value Added Tax). (Current rates are 1,195 – 1,390 Euros) That’s a $283 savings in U.S. dollars!
We will help you on how to get back part of your MIPCOM registration. The VAT (Value Added Tax) is refundable to people from outside of France.
MIPCOM is the largest TV conference in the world with over 4,200 buyers and 102 countries represented.
Training has already started for the Hit Maker Tours to MIPCOM and TAC, and we have a super talented and exciting group. But if you missed the boat this time don’t fret, Hit Maker Tours to key TV conferences…
Are all coming up after the first of the year, so get your projects ready!
Here are some updates from the reality series world that may be of interest.
The Amazing Race is raising the prize amount from $1 million to $2 million this season. How this improves the ratings, we don’t know, but since there are two winning contestants on TAR (usually bickering couples), they won’t have to kill each other to collect the full $1 million that a single winner on Survivor gathers.
If you enjoyed the swimming events at the Olympics, there’s talk of American gold medal party animal hunk Ryan Lochte being the next The Bachelor on the ABC series. Lochte up your daughters!
There’s also rumors that American Idol may go back to a four-celebrity-judge panel (including Mariah Carey), and Randy Jackson may switch to a mentor. Here’s a mentor that just may drive contestants mental repeating, “That sounds a little pitchy to me, dawg.”
Everyone always wants to know if reality shows are faked. While the storylines may be suggested and often manipulated by producers building toward conflicts, the rules are the rules. Which is why the following clip from the Daily Show with Tim Gunn, host of Project Runway is so amusing.
Tim talks about how surprised he is when new contestants drop out because they complain it’s too hard, or the schedule is too fast for the challenges.
He asks the contestants if they’ve ever SEEN the show and they usually say ‘yes,’ but the dropouts often add, “We thought you faked it.” Well here’s the hard reality he has to lay on them… You really do have only ONE day for the challenges. Suck it up.
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
Secret Millionaire on ABC Sunday at 8 p.m. is an obvious rip-off of CBS’Undercover Boss. But instead of a CEO going undercover within his own company to learn more about the employees in his business and lavish a couple of them who have the hardest luck stories with a raise, promotion, or training investment to make everyone feel better… this time we have a standard millionaire going undercover in a distressed neighborhood to check out several charities as a potential worker, after which they lavish a $20,000 check on one or more of the charities upon revealing their true identity. It was fun seeing the CEO of a hotel chain scrubbing toilets. Not as much fun watching a millionaire ‘roughing it’ for a whole week in a cheap apartment. The ratings tell the same story. Undercover Boss was a big hit. Secret Millionaire comes up a day late and a not-so-secret million viewers short.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Jeanne was going to college at Tulane in New Orleans, Louisiana back in the 80s when the big circus came to town. In this case the ‘circus’ was the large budget production of The Toy, starring Jackie Gleason as a rich guy who offers to buy his bratty son anything in the toy store, and the boy points out the funny janitor, Richard Pryor. Jeanne’s cousin, Michael Thau was an assistant for Richard Donner, the director of the picture, and invited her down to the set.
Next thing you know, Jeanne an d her PMB (Pre-Mark Boyfriend) ended up cast as extras for a big garden party scene that had several of the principals racing around in miniaturized versions of expensive cars. If you remember the scene, look closely, and let Jeanne know if you spot her because she hasn’t seen the movie since it came out, but her mom just recently sent this picture of her and the PMB. It reminded her that being an extra in a big budget Richard Pryor movie was fun. But possibly spending the rest of her life with this guy… not so much.
WHERE ARE MARK AND JEANNE?
It’s September and the kids are all back in school, but Mom and Dad are on their own fast and furious schedule. Mark is in Los Angeles, where he is doing storyboards for a new feature live action version of Little Rascals. And later this month, he’ll be in Ottawa, Canada with the Hit Maker Tour group to TAC (The Animation Conference). Jeanne just got back from a much needed vacation to hometown St. Louis, Missouri, where she and the boys spent time with Grandma, and she caught up with some old friends. Now she’s back holding down the fort, running the day-to-day business, dreaming up more Luke and Reece adventures for the big TAC pitch, and putting the final touches on a major new project launching later this year.