Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Sunday 08 July 2012 12:04pm

Blogged by: Nina Koo-Seen-Lin

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Introduced by:

Karl Woolley, MD, Impossible Kids


Michael Acton Smith, CEO, Mind Candy

Nigel Pickard, Chief Executive Officer, Zodiak M.E.E.A. and UK, Kids & Family

Sander Schwartz, President, Kids and Family Entertainment, Fremantle Media

Alison Warner, VP, IP Sales, Acqusitions and Co-Productions, Technicolor


Dan Good, MD, Absolutely Cuckoo

Oli Hyatt, Co Founders, Blue Zoo Animation Studio

Owen Stickler, MD, Dinamo Productions

Melanie Stokes, Co Director, Kindle Entertainment

Produced by:

Steven Andrew, Creative Director, The Foundation

Sponsored by:

Finger Industries

Pirates of the Caribbean. Johnny Depp in leather boots and wearing eyeliner. Who would have thought a humble fairground attraction would have turned into a multimillion pound film franchise?

Karl Woolley is a true Master of Ceremonies and absolutely the right choice to present the Children’s Media Conference’s version of Dragon’s Den/The Voice. Karl promises this session will make CMC history (whether it goes right or wrong).

Everybody’s looking for the next commercially successful things, the next Pirates, the next Peppa Pig, the next Scooby Doo. How do you spot the next commercial ‘kerching?’

In an hour and a half Karl and his panel of Dragons will listen to four Pitchers who are asking for backing. This is a real panel with real pitches and real money being dealt with here. I kid you not. Ooh, it’s intense!

Before he brings the Dragons up on stage he pays homage to his wise mother who knew from the start that there are no guarantees in this industry and nobody has any idea of what deals will sky rocket to success or send one to sleep. Some people might have seen Peppa Pig as nothing but a pile of pork scratchings.

Dan Cuckoo’s idea is a very creative and gross-out but oh-so hilarious anarchic TV show for tens. Mind Candy’s Michael offers £300 to help develop the show. The deal is done and Dan walks off with a cheque.

A very sunny and smiling Melanie Stokes has a fabulous idea to adapt the Famous Five. Adaptations have been made in the past but Mel has come along with her trusted torch and lashings of ginger beer and promises to serve Enid Blyton’s beloved traditional story shaken up with a twist . She’s looking for a distributor. A bidding war ensues. Everyone, bar one Dragon wants a partnership in the idea and Mel is left with her face in her hands not knowing what to do. The audience’s heckles are louder than those at PM’s Question Time. One woman in the back tells her to walk away. Her idea is too precious and brilliant and the Dragons aren’t offering enough. Mel smiles and backs away.

She’s yet to find a distributor but boy has she had a laugh!

Ooh, the drama. The tension! And we’ve only heard two Pitchers! Only in Sheffield will you get this kind of entertainment.

When Owen Stickler was a kid a kid he loved collecting classic toy cars. He still has his collection, only they’re his daughter’s toys and she’s converted them to Sylvanian Family modes of transportation. Owen dreamed of a playboy lifestyle with fast cars and even faster cars (you’d understand if you saw the car his parents owned). As a grown up Owen noticed a USP gap in the market and went about creating a cartoon franchise that has fast cars, mad characters and lots of racing. There’s also a few crazy clown monkeys thrown in too. There’s deals all round for this one. Zodiak’s Nigel and Mind Candy’s Michael agree to share in the deal and Owen walks away with £1000.

Last but by no means least is Oli Hyatt who’s looking for someone with web experience for a new project he’s working on. This one has everyone going. The oohs and ahhs reaches a crescendo as the bidding goes up. Michael, from Mind Candy again gets the deal after a scuffle between Zodiac’s Nigel and Fremantle’s Sander. Oli walks off the stage with a promise of £1800, a bottle of champagne and a packet of pork scratchings. Winner.

“So much collaboration – it’s what it’s all about,” says Karl. The session has overrun by 20 minutes. Bad news for those who wanted to grab a free coffee before the last session, but I don’t think anyone really cares. Already I can see most members of the audience mumbling away working on their plan for a possible pitch next year.

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