Ottawa International Animation Festival 2009: Day 4: Animation Hustle
OIAF’s Chez Ani Café was transformed from a peaceful koffeeklatch to the crowded, boisterous AniMarket as throngs of job-hungry animators jostled to get in line and chat up recruiting companies.
Exhibitors included Walt Disney, Rainmaker, Nelvana, Pipeline Studios, Starz and Studio B, as well as such schools as Algonquin College, Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Sheridan College, Carleton University Interactive Media and Design, Vancouver Film School and Durham College.
Some companies were recruiting for specific projects, like Ultramarines – A Warhammer 40,000 Movie. London-based production company Codex Pictures is producing in the UK and Canada on Ultramarines, a feature-length movie destined for DVD/Blu-Ray. The animated science-fiction thriller set in Games Workshop's futuristic Warhammer 40,000 universe and is employing CGI and state-of-the-art animation production techniques.
The Ultramarines film is being produced by Codex Pictures in association with Good Story Productions Ltd. The Canadian co-producer is POP6 Studios of Montreal. POP6 was at OIAF actively recruiting animators to work on the 70-minute movie, which promises to give fans all the deadly Warhammer action that they might crave.
For those who pushed their way through the jobseekers to the Arts Court Theatre, author David B. Levy (Animation Development: From Pitch to Production, Allworth Press) was moderating a panel of TV series experts who were providing advice on pitches that will make a lasting impression.
* Know your audience. You should be able to describe your story from beginning to middle to end. Think about it as if one five-year-old is telling another five-year old.
* Treat your pitch like a first date. Be brief, simple and distinctive.
* Make your pitch bible fun to read.
* Art in your pitch bible should avoid standard “model sheet poses.” Rough drawings are interesting. Your polished art should dazzle.
* Don’t put budgets or marketing ideas in your pitch bible.
* Your goal is to create a fan when you go into the room and do your pitch.
* Create sustainable characters with real weight and not just undirected wackiness. Viewers need to care about the characters.
* Demonstrate that you are both creative and trustworthy – someone producers would want to work with.
* At the end of the pitch, ask when you might hear back. Also ask when it would be appropriate to follow up.
* Follow up politely to maintain contact and express continuing interest. Developing contacts is important for future relationships.
* Pitch the job, get the job, keep the job – it’s all part of the animation hustle.
Janet Hetherington is a writer and cartoonist who shares a studio on Ottawa with artist Ronn Sutton and a ginger cat, Heidi.