Newsletter 13 – August 2012
August in Orlando means stifling hot and humid weather, but it looks like we don’t have a monopoly on those conditions this year. What a freak Summer of heat and drought across the United States so far. Or, hopefully, that’s what it is… simply a freak occurrence and not an ongoing trend.
Fortunately, we can all stay indoors watching the Olympics. We are in awe of the spirit and athleticism of the United States team members this year (more women than men!) and congratulate every one of them not just for any medals they might win, but for reminding us all what it means to be so enthusiastically dedicated to achieving a life’s dream.
We kind of think (and hope) that’s what our business means for our clients – helping them achieve that single-minded focus and level of professionalism that sets them apart from the rest and puts their project on the pedestal.
We’ve worked with so many of you and are continuously in awe of your spirit. Gold medals all around!
IN PRODUCTION with MARK & JEANNE
“The Key” is a short animated film written and directed by Mark Simon for Toon Boom. This anime-style short showcases all the great effects in the Toon Boom software while giving you great action and a few chuckles.
This animatic, produced at Simon’s storyboard studio, Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. (www.Storyboards-East.com), also includes the latest in integrated 3D elements within a real-time 2D animatic.
The final animation is in production in Korea right now. It will hit the festival circuit by the end of the year and be used on all the Toon Boom websites.
Mark is flying up to Stamford, CT to shoot a sizzle reel for a reality series about cartoonists. He’ll be shooting at Mort Walker’s studio (creator ofBeetle Bailey, Hi and Lois and others). The footage should be great if we can keep Mark from drooling all over the camera. Mark gets more excited meeting cartoonists than he does meeting actors. He’s a bit weird, but we love him.
Mark’s meetings with Disney at Comic-Con went great. We have a project at DisneyXD that looks promising. We can’t say much yet, but we can tell you that no one has said ‘No’ yet.
We sold our first series at the MIPCOM conference many years ago, because we had an experienced mentor to guide us every step of the way. We are here to help you in the same way with our Hit Maker Tour.
The fall TV conferences are coming up fast.
- AC, The Animation Conference at the Ottawa International Animation Festival – September 19-20, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
- MIPCOM, the world’s largest TV conference – October 8-11, 2012 in Cannes, France
You CAN Pitch Your TV Show Without an Agent or Attorney
If you want to bust through the Hollywood gatekeepers, then go with us to the major TV conferences.
If you want to meet face-to-face with decision makers who can champion your project to their network, then go with us to major TV conferences.
Training + On-site mentoring
Training location: Join training from your home – NO travel required
Limited to only 15 Members per conference
We are not affiliated with all of these conferences. We recommend them because THEY WORK!
HIT MAKER TOUR TRAINING INCLUDES:
***Onsite mentors Mark & Jeanne Simon. They’ll be available to sit in on pitches, answer questions, help set up meetings, make introductions, and practice pitches.***
3 pre-conference telephone/web training seminars will take place during the month prior to the event. NO TRAVEL necessary for the training sessions. Live web/phone training.
- Project Reviews: Mark and Jeanne will have reviewed anything you want to take to the conference – treatments, sizzle reals, one sheets – and give you detailed notes on how to make your pitch package even better. Time – TBD
- Training starts August 22 – Conferences Demystified: Mark and Jeanne layout successful conference strategies and how to set up meetings prior to the event.
- Training #2 – September 13 – Final conference preperations and pitch practice.
- Training #3 – Follow Up for Success – Time TBD
Click on the BUY NOW button to join our Hit Maker Tour to TAC or MIPCOM
**Conference fees and travel costs not included in the Hit Maker Tour fee. **
We have a corporate discount for your MIPCOM registration, even if you don’t join our Hit Maker Tour.
MIPCOM CONFERENCE 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)
MIND YOUR BUSINESS
Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s recent article on the Animation World Network website.
Part 1 of Mark’s epic journey to get his geek on and dive headfirst into Comic-Con.
Comic-Con is many things to many people and freakishly gigantic to all. I hear all sorts of estimates and supposedly official numbers of how many attendees there are this year but my official counting is that it was equal to the population of Brazil.
I went there for business reasons this year. My main purpose was a heroic meeting with Disney. But like all the great heroes, my alter ego was itching to come out and get my geek on.
It didn’t take long. My flight got rerouted to San Francisco from Florida. Then I had the opportunity to meet the Mythbusters Kari, Grant and Tory when we ended up on the same flight to San Diego. I think I spoke intelligently to them, but it might have been gibberish. Damn, Kari is even more gorgeous in person. It was a great way to start the trip.
I was thinking about alter egos the entire time I was in San Diego. So of course when I ran into a couple wearing Superman outfits I felt the urge to discover their secret identities. I didn’t really think either of them was the real Superman as their costumes seemed to be glued together from scraps of…well…scraps. As it turns out I was right. She’s a student and he is unemployed. Um. Yeah.
If you want the details of who said what and what little bit of information was pretended to be given out in the big halls by the Hollywood studios, read Entertainment Weekly or watch G4. I’m bringing you the real experience of Comic-Con. The experience a person geeky enough know lots of obscure knowledge and wear cartoon socks, but not so geeky as to sleep overnight beside the convention center and walk around the conference floor with dental floss up your ass and call it a costume. (But a huge THANK YOU to all the people who do walk around wearing that dental floss as you make our people-watching oh-so-enjoyable.)
However, like all true geeks, I made my pilgrimage to Hall H, the gigantic ballroom that holds 6,500 people. This is where we go to pay homage to excessive Hollywood budgets. However, there are evidently a few million other geeks who got in line before I did. I never made it in. The line this year was protected by 6 massive tents. Then the line went down the street, across the street and around behind the building. I actually never even saw the end of the line. I just sat on the curb and cried. Oh well, I dried myself off and then tried Ballroom 20 upstairs.
This line was completely different. It stretched to infinity across the roof of the convention center. Actually, it wound around the inside of the convention hall, out onto the roof, snaked through a giant tent, went up a stair case and disappeared somewhere out of site. I’m not certain there was a real end to the line. The thought of lemmings came to mind when I saw the line disappear over the edge of the roof.
There were plenty of other events in the smaller rooms that I wanted to see, but after two disastrous failures to get into anything, I decided to spend some time on the convention floor. This is like playing bumper cars with your shoulders. At least it is near the movie studio booths, Lucas, Hasbro, Gentle Giant and anywhere that was offering exclusives and free stuff.
The crowds were not so much of a problem in the areas selling comic books. You know, those old paper things that Comic-Con is named after? Those collections of drawings and words that spawned all the great movies showcased at the other end? The alter ego of Comic-Con is no secret, but it does seem to be forgotten, when you see the biggest comics vendors placed right next to the bathrooms. The placement does sort of make sense since that’s where we tend to read comics, but it’s not exactly the glamorous floor location the namesake might hope for.
The first session I got into was Greg Evans talking about his comic stripLuann. His origin was renting out a robot at parties for ten years before he sold his strip. He shared a touching story of how he and his wife had to adopt out their first child when they were too young and they re-connected 28 years later. That true-life event inspired a series of strips in Luann.
On my way to the next session, I ran into two Klingons in some really cool outfits. When I asked about their secret identities, one admitted to being an accountant and the other a Master Toyota mechanic. I felt like I was living in Cliche’ Land when the first costumed people I talked to were unemployed and an accountant.
Klingons in Cliché Land.
Comic-Con is too big to describe in just one article. Part 1 and Part 2 links are below.
Want to see Mark’s Comic-Con video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkLU_2Es4Tc
See both entire articles, including a more detailed account at…
WHAT WE’RE WATCHING
The Simons have Olympic fever, big time. They’re putting in more hours than Bob Costas’ hair dye stylist and Botox specialist. And how entertaining is it to watch the parents of the competitors? Especially the gold medal team gymnast women’s team parents, whose facial contortions and head bobs go through the entire routine with them.
Mark and Jeanne are also eating up The Newsroom on HBO like candy. Sure, the dialogue isn’t that realistic, but it’s how fast and clever we all wish we could talk or get our point across. The series has gotten better with each episode and they find themselves rooting for the curmudgeon anchor hero, Will McAvoy, who discovered his integrity to deliver straight news instead of infotainment before it was too late.
Wayne and family are having a stress-free Olympic experience watching the events on the DVR, skipping commercials, and already knowing who won thanks to hearing the news on NPR or reading it online earlier. There was absolutely no squirm factor this time around wondering if the American women’s (girls!) gymnast team members were going to fall off the balance beam or unstick their landings. We could sit back and just watch the Russian team explode while our faces remained smiling and uncortorted.
Episodes, season two on Showtime, is just as funny, if not funnier than the first season. If you want a cynical but pretty accurate view of behind-the-scenes running a network sitcom with a former Friends star, you’ll get it in spades with this clever series. Matt LeBlanc shows off comic skills he never got full credit for as he plays the star of a hit British series now watered down and transformed beyond recognition for American audiences (how did a boys school turn into a show about hockey players called, “Pucks?”).
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Mark was watching an episode of the classic Little Rascals this morning. It was Pinch Singer from 1936.
It was about a talent contest where the winner wins $50 (a shit-load of money in 1936) from a radio station. It starts with the regionals where Spanky is the judge and the kids perform for him. If he doesn’t like them, he gets Pete the dog to gong them (America’s Got Talent).
The winner, Darla in this case, moves on to the finals at the radio station. But, she can’t get there in time and Alfalfa has to step in and sing like Sanjaya on American Idol.
The winner is selected by listeners who phone in. The one with the most votes wins (American Idol). And just like on Idol, little kids skew the results when the Gang call in over and over to swing the vote to Alfalfa. And all without texting or speed dial!
The kids are amazing in this short. But what’s really funny is watching the musicians in the background pretend to play violins. It’s terrible…but funny.
Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfFF7ktA_BI
Critics haven’t been kind to the aforementioned HBO series The Newsroom at the summer gathering of the Television Critic’s Association. How much of it can be attributed to professional jealousy of creator/writer Aaron Sorkin, who can populate his own television universe with whatever agenda and opinion he wants? And in the end, all that counts are the ratings, which were good enough for HBO to renew the series for a second season after the second episode aired.
But we especially love star Jeff Daniels’ response to the critics at their own meeting regarding negative reviews as reported in The Hollywood Reporter:
“I completely get why you do what you do,” Daniels told them. “But you don’t do it for me. And you never have. It took me a long time as an actor for me to stop reading you. You love me. But you hate me. Where do I go? If Aaron’s happy, if [HBO Entertainment president] Sue Naegle is happy, and if I’m happy, it’s good. And it might even be great. There’s nothing you could tell me, I’m sorry to say, that could help me. I wish there were.” And after this statment he turns to Sorkin and adds, “Did I just offend all of them? I did.”
So what. We imagine Sorkin got more satisfaction from that than from many of his own Will McAvoy lines.
Where are Mark & Jeanne?
Glued in front of the Tube watching the Olympic coverage on NBC with the boys, like everyone else. And girding themselves up for an ambitious slate of traveling starting later this month and going throughout the fall. Stamford, CT in August.
Ottawa, Canada in September.
Cannes, France in October.
Sounds good doesn’t it? Check out the upcoming events and come along.
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