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Mind Your Business: Thank You for Not Pitching

Mark Simon optimistically reports back from TAC in Ottawa.

Fast Pitch session at Ottawa International Animation Festival's TAC. All images courtesy of Mark Simon.

Greetings from a cold and wet Ottawa. I'm shivering in Canada with hundreds of animation creators, writers, animators and execs. But it was only the weather that was cold, the meetings were all toasty.

The first two days of the Ottawa International Animation Festival consist of the TAC (Television Animation Conference), with great panels, discussions and pitch opportunities. It just took place in Canada and it's been great. I'm writing this in between meetings, sessions and cartoon screenings. Life could be worse.

Both days of TAC featured the Fast Track, which are 10 minute speed pitches. That may not seem like much time, but it's plenty. I often pitched multiple projects in these sessions with time to spare.

So why am I happy most of you didn't show up to pitch your concepts? The same reason everyone else at the conference was happy you didn't show up. Your absence left more available pitch slots for us TAC attendees to fill.

Outside of the Fast Pitch room, they post a sign showing all the pitch catchers (studio and network execs) and their schedule. I could not believe how many open slots there were. There is no excuse for creators not to take advantage of these pitch opportunities.

I doubled the number of meetings I was able to set up on Thursday because so few people signed up. Allen Hillard, creator of the RoadKill Bunch, had 10 speed pitch meetings in just one day. Those are 10 more contacts Allen now has who will now take his phone calls. How many new connections did you make for pitching your shows last Thursday?

Hillard said, "I was nervous at first that I only got four meetings set up online, but when I saw all the openings on the Fast Track board, I more than doubled my number of pitches. I was surprised how few people turned out for the pitches. My meetings were excellent. The conference has been invaluable."


International Animation Festival.

I've heard from a number of people that they don't think conferences are worth the money, that they think conferences are only hosted by people who want to take your money. People who think this way don't understand how business works… not just our business, any business.

People work with people they know and trust. So, in a worldwide industry, how to do you get to know people throughout the animation industry? Emails? Wishing? Complaining? No.

Face to face meetings. That's how business is done. Follow-ups are fine by phone and by email, but you get to know someone by sitting down with them, even if it's only for a few minutes. Conferences are the main place when all these executives are in the same place.

Plus, one meeting often turns into others. I've had a number of pick-up meetings turn into introductions to other executives. When's the last time your blind email recipient turned and introduced you to someone else who could help you in some way?

So I should be thanking you for not showing up at TAC… but I'd rather more creatives took advantage of these opportunities so TAC and other conferences continue to host pitching sessions. Invest in your ideas and make the contacts your projects need at TV conferences. I expect to see you all at the next conference.

Mark Simon is an award-winning animation director/producer. He is also the co-founder of He has landed up to 35 meetings in one day at conferences. You can discover how to make the most of TV conferences in the upcoming pitch webinars at