Search form

Jan Nagel's Recent Posts

Animation Blogs

Co-Productions Today

By Jan Nagel | Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 8:42pm

Co-productions seem to be the standard for most independent animation projects. But what does this mean? Where does this money come from? Today’s co-productions are as solid as a house of cards. A small breeze and the whole thing could collapse. It all starts with a great concept? So, one would think. But really it is sort of a convergence not a start. The first card is a great concept. Will the show idea appeal to an audience? Can it be translated into a brand? Will it be accepted beyond the US territory? Can there be a life beyond the series?


Trekking Around Animation Town

By Jan Nagel | Friday, September 3, 2010 at 9:43am

Just this week I visited several studios with a software client. The industry is preparing for MIPCOM in October. . . When MIPCOM, the biggest television market, is in sight, the industry changes gears and is looking for something fresh and new to whet the appetites of the international buyers. . . . During this trek around animation town, I absorbed a lot of information from a lot of different sources.

Animation ANIMATIONWorld

Gender in Media: Females Don't Rule

By Jan Nagel | Wednesday, May 21, 2008 at 12:00am

Gender bias in media is a topic society has been tiptoeing around since the women's liberation movement of the 1960s. Although women represent 51% of the population, a woman has yet to achieve the position of president of the United States -- though one is trying -- and for some reason the number of women represented in animation or G-rated entertainment is not even close to the number of men. Why?

Actress Geena Davis, who has portrayed moms and swashbucklers, asked that very question while she was watching TV with her then two-year-old daughter. On her fingers, she started counting girls on the screen in lead roles. Then she counted the girls in the crowd scenes. She had too many fingers left over.

Animation ANIMATIONWorld

NATPE: The 'T' is Expanding

By Jan Nagel | Monday, February 11, 2008 at 12:00am

NATPE (National Association of Television Programming Executives) has been the marketplace for the trading of television shows to domestic and international outlets since May of 1962. The evolution of NATPE has been put into high speed in the last several years in order to establish a new direction.

The Financial Syndication Act of 1994 deflated the syndication market, which was NATPE's prime function. NATPE brought television stations, station groups, networks and producers together to fill those local access times with unique and popular programming. Oprah, Dr. Phil, Jeopardy and Judge Judy can thank today's version of syndication for their success. But prior to 1994, animation was a huge seller and reigned equally next to live action at NATPE. Stations bought up anything new and unique for their kid audience, knowing Mattel, Hasbro and General Foods would follow with lucrative ad dollars for the local market.

Animation ANIMATIONWorld

East, Mid and West: Community Colleges Across U.S. Teach Digital Media

By Jan Nagel | Friday, September 28, 2007 at 12:00am

Ten years ago, Santa Monica College, in California, started a special animation program in a new facility that was set up just for this newfangled thing called "digital animation." With the establishment of the Academy of Entertainment & Technology, SMC became the first community college in California to offer this specialized curriculum.

Many types of schools now teach animation and digital media. They range from vocational schools, to private specialty schools, to major universities, and community colleges are among the leaders in this discipline.

Today there are community colleges across the country teaching traditional animation, 3D animation, game design, Web animation and other forms of digital media. Why are there so many schools teaching this curriculum in all parts of the world?

Online VFXWorld

Online CG Education: Just a Click Away

By Jan Nagel | Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 12:00am

Excuses: "No money." "No school teaches what I want to learn in my city." "I am working and have no time.""How in the heck am I supposed to master that software?"

... and the excuses continue for those that want to take the next step in their careers toward digital animation and visual effects.

Today there is an emerging sub-industry in the animation and visual effects business. It is online digital training that can be done from the comfort of a laptop in any corner of the globe.

Online education is not new. Most colleges and universities for the last several years offer courses for students that are taught in their homes and dorms. Many of these courses are book-learning type subjects, where the topic is lecture based. However, back in the day of CD-ROMs, technical education such as certification in software, had to be taught in a digital method. Today, the online experience is more interactive and the method of teaching is far more comprehensive.

Animation ANIMATIONWorld

NATPE: The Large And The Small Of It All

Things were running hot and cold, figuratively and quite literally, at NATPE 07 held Jan. 15-18 at the Mandalay Bay Resort Convention Center in Las Vegas. Las Vegas was experiencing one of its worst cold spells with frozen ice on the desert iceplant and icicles hung from the rafters of many hotels. However, inside in the tower where many of the Latin American buyers and distributors preferred hospitality suites to the convention floor, a fire broke out on the fourth floor, forcing the evacuation of the participants for nearly three hours.

One exhibitor allowed a goodie bag to drift to close to a candle burning in the bathroom, which set off the sprinklers in part of that wing. It had to have been nerve-racking for the MTV Networks Latin America group just on the other side of the suite where the fire started. Roughly a year ago, the rain-soaked roof at MIP had come crashing down on the MTV Networks booth, destroying the booth and scattering buyers and sellers to makeshift rooms at hotels to try to conduct business. This time MTV/Nick came through unscathed and was able to get back in time for its scheduled cocktail party that evening.

Animation ANIMATIONWorld

Transition: From a Job to a Passion

By Jan Nagel | Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 12:00am

In 2001-2002 about 30% or 850 members of the Animation Guild Local 839 in the U.S. took advantage of the Contract Services Administration Fund (CSATF) Grant for retraining, according to Steve Hulett, business representative for the union.

Members who do hand drawing are retrained in storyboarding and CGI skills. The union has not been able to track these brave souls seeking new careers if theyve made it or not. Hulett guesses that maybe 20% have made some sort of transition into another animation job.

There are also countless people who have transitioned from what they considered a humdrum life into becoming part of the exciting industry of animation and visual effects.


“Watch… Read… Listen… Ask:” Advice From Those in the Pitch

By Jan Nagel | Thursday, December 15, 2005 at 12:00am

Creators of animation are so passionate about their ideas they sometimes have blinders on and try to pitch it to just about everyone. The mistake most make is they feel their show is perfect for all networks. They know that Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel will want it. This is a BIG mistake!

Knowing what the networks are looking for is the most important part of developing a show. I cant just develop something because I love it or think it is a good idea or even because I think the merchandising is brilliant and will generate billions of dollars, says Bill Schultz, co-ceo, MYP/Taffy Ent. Those are all important. But, one of my key questions is where am I am going to sell it in the key territories? Schultz should know. He is a veteran of development, having worked at Cartoon Network on Ed, Edd and Eddy and Courage the Cowardly Dog, along with his work at Film Roman on The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Garfield and Friends. As a partner at MYP/Taffy, he has been successful in selling the show, Pet Alien, to Cartoon Network.


'Pet Alien' — Anatomy of an Emerging Brand

By Jan Nagel | Friday, February 25, 2005 at 12:00am

Fresh, new and branded. This is a line that is being uttered by acquisition and development executives at both NATPE and KidScreen Summit. What in tar-nation does this mean? How can something fresh and new be branded? Is Taffy Entertainments latest hit, Pet Alien, a brand?

Brand by its very nature is an established production that is consistent in delivering to its audience a quality product that is always the same like Coke or Pepsi. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Brand is a class of goods identified as a product or a particular firm or producer.

Can a new show like Pet Alien be classified as a brand so early in its life?

Taffy Entertainment/Mike Young Prods. has built a reputation of delivering shows that are appealing to their target audiences. Shows like, Jakers!, He-Man and Clifford the Big Red Dog are projects that have set the brand benchmark for the studio. Whether work-for-hire on pre-existing brands, such as He-Man or Bratz, or original productions like Jakers! or Pet Alien, programming executives expect a level of quality from MYP, which translates into viewership.


The Pitch Bible: Just The Essentials

By Jan Nagel | Monday, December 27, 2004 at 12:00am

In pitching animation, not only do you need the passion, have a thorough understanding about your property and know the broadcaster and their needs, you need to demonstrate what your story it about. Your pitch materials are your sales tools.

The Pitch Bible is a tool that helps convey your concept. It is a tool to help you present and is a leave-behind to trigger the decision makers memory.

There are no hard and fast rules about what form a pitch bible should take. At its very best, it should reflect the concept of the project, whether it is a television, feature or home entertainment project, to help the buyer visualize the story as you pitched it. The size, color, number of pages, how it is put together is up to you, the creator, to determine what best conveys your creation.


Pitching Animation: Rules of the Game from the Pros That Play It

By Jan Nagel | Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 12:00am

Pitching television animation, like any game, has its rules. Some are hard and fast and others are house or table rules. You know those rules that are specific to a region, country or culture. And the game has its players and pros. Animation World Magazine asked the pros about pitching.

Pitching professionals know that there are some basic rules. Tatiana Kober, founder of Bejuba! Entertainment, and Rick Mischel, ceo of Mainframe Entertainment, Inc., provided the basics: