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Concept for an animated series

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Concept for an animated series

Hi there,

I'm just wondering if anyone could tell me how to go about starting an animated series? Who should you pitch your idea to? A TV channel maybe? And how should you go about it?

I'd really love to hear from anyone who could give me some information and I think it would be really interesting to have anyone who has pitched an idea before share their experiences.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Hi Amy,

I'm in England too - I've only pitched once, by ITV for a 2D flash animated series. The idea was good, the characters were good, the story arc was there, the target audience was right - the approach was totally unprofessional and it didn't come off.

A board of commissioning editors did sit around and talk about in order to dismiss it.

I guess I found that people are more open to projects and new ideas than you might think.

I guess it helps (if you pitch to ITV or Five) that your idea has natural spin-offs - toys etc. Mine was a kids series.

They want orginalit, if it's exactly like the last big success.

I think the problem - apart from the pitch!- for mine was that it had the morality of 'Trap Door.'

Anyone know 'Trap Door?' I wonder if that made it to the US. It was claymation with the sort of disregard for violence that only the A-team managed pre-watershed primetime. Featured a redneck butler monster type character who worked for a bigger monster type character in a run down castle.
Pretty good actors for the voices tho.

Bon chance!

Hi Jasen, good to see you on here. Welcome to the AWN Forums.

the Ape

...we must all face a choice, between what is right... and what is easy."

Hi there,

I'm just wondering if anyone could tell me how to go about starting an animated series? Who should you pitch your idea to? A TV channel maybe? And how should you go about it?

There are some articles in the AWN site. You should also do a serach of this forum for pitch. I remember reading a number of different post.

Thanks for all of your replies :)

I have all of the designs (sets, characters etc) and am starting to create parts in Flash. I am still developing the story-just working on the end for the pilot really. Most of it has been storyboarded and I still have a lot of work to do on the script.

I have an idea that when you pitch for a series you need to show a plan of approx. 12 episodes. I'm just wondering if I should leave the actual Flash part for now, as I think the studio likes to manage that part if they like your idea. Is that right?

Also, I was wondering how difficult it would be to go about producing and releasing this series on DVD without any support from a tv network? I'm only asking because I am considering setting up a small studio and I would like to have a certain amount of control of the project...I hear that during the pitch tv networks try to change your idea.

I would be grateful for any further advice that you guys can offer.



It seems like some of the most successful and influencial TV animation producers - Matt Groening, Mike Judge, Seth MacFarlane, Trey Parker/Matt Stone, among others - start out by creating a few shorts or pilots, anywhere from 2 to 15 minutes in length. Sometimes these shorts are used as filler for TV shows. Sometimes they make the rounds at film festivals. Sometimes they're circulated on the internet. If audiences respond well, television execs will come looking for you.

Here are some inspirational stories from Wikipedia:

In 1991, [Mike] Judge's short "Office Space" (also known as the Milton series of shorts) was picked up by Comedy Central following a Dallas animation festival.

In 1992, Judge developed "Frog Baseball", a short featuring the characters Beavis and Butt-head, to be featured on Liquid Television. The short led to the creation of the Beavis and Butt-head series on MTV,

[Mike Judge currently produces King of the Hill for Fox.]

While in college, [Seth MacFarlane] created a short film entitled The Life of Larry.... After graduation, he was hired by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
In 1996, MacFarlane created a sequel to The Life of Larry for Hanna-Barbera Cartoons called Larry and Steve.... The short was broadcast as one of Cartoon Network's World Premiere Toons. Executives at FOX saw both Larry shorts and contracted MacFarlane to create a series [Family Guy] based on the characters.

[Trey Parker] made several animated shorts while attending [The University of Colorado], including ... The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Frosty with Matt Stone.

Parker's college film caught the eye of Brian Graden, a Fox executive. In 1995, Graden commissioned Stone and Parker to create a video Christmas card based on their animated college short. ... One of the recipients of the video, actor George Clooney, made several hundred copies, and the animation became a must-see passed around Hollywood and the Internet.

Parker and Stone were then hired by Comedy Central to create a show based on the animated characters from The Spirit of Christmas: Jesus vs. Santa. ... South Park made its debut on August 13, 1997, and has since gone on to be the highest-rated original series in the network's history.

[COLOR=DarkOrchid][Matt Groening's alternative-weekly comic strip] Life in Hell caught the attention of Hollywood writer-producer and Gracie Films founder James L. Brooks.... In 1985, Brooks contacted Groening with the proposition of working in animation on an undefined future project. That project would turn out to be developing a series of short animation skits, called “bumpers”, to be featured on the FOX variety show The Tracey Ullman Show. Originally, Brooks wanted Groening to adapt his Life in Hell characters for the show. Fearing the loss of ownership rights, Groening decided to create something new. Reportedly, he designed the look of the Simpson family in only fifteen minutes.

Hi Jasen, it's nice to see you on AWN!

Amy, there's an event happening in February called KidScreen Summit. It's in New York and it's quite expensive, but its purpose is to meet with execs and pitch your ideas.

Sharvonique Studios

Animated By Sharvonique Blog

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You can try pitching to studios in your area. There's also a Cartoon Network in the UK and another one for Europe. You can also try production companies in France.

You should also follow Wontobe's advice and search the forums. Typically, though, you'd want to put together a packet that explains the concept, the characters, and their world. Then you can just submit that as your initial pitch.

Sharvonique Studios

Animated By Sharvonique Blog

AWN Showcase Gallery

Thank you all for your replies :)

Hey everyone, thanks for replying to my post.

Welcome to AWN, Jasen!

Sharvonique, thanks for letting me know about KidScreen Summit :) I'd really love to go but as I am in England, I don't really think I'll get the chance.

I guess I'll just research further and keep my fingers crossed.

I would really like to know if anyone out there has had any success or failure with trying to develop an animated film or series...these concepts always seem like really good ideas but I wonder how easy/difficult they are to acheive?