Manimation Report: Commissioning Conversation – Disney

Posted on: Thursday 07 November 2013 8:41pm

Orion Ross is Vice President OriginalProgramming Disney Channels, EMEA.  He has responsibility for programming on Disney Channel and Disney XD, while his colleague Beth Gardiner looks after Disney Junior.  Orion opened by saying that he would let people know how the Disney system worked, but also offer some personal “top tips” for getting your idea to market, in general.

On an anticipatory Halloween afternoon, Orion began with “we are hungry for your brains!”  Disney is after original content which has potential for a global reach.  Shows coming through London can be forwarded to the U.S. and in some cases shows have come in the other direction too.  Orion wants shows with thrills, optimism and heart. The ultimate desire from Disney is seeking out laugh out loud comedies – something that will make you “laugh your butt off!”

How should you proceed with an idea? Orion and Beth find content everywhere you might expect – and al ittel further beyond: they look at festivals, markets, YouTube, apps, hear music pitches and Orion’s personal favourite, Cartoon Forum, which he feels is one of the best ways to break through. An example of this was Boyster the 11 minute comedy about a mutant oyster / boy.

Orion also wanted to Orion felt that in the current tough market it was best to get your content out in any way possible, as a short for a festival, as mini-uploads to YouTube – whatever!  The great stuff will cut through.

Orion passed on his tips for success.  He explained that good pitching is important. You need to make an idea seem like a reality, even if it’s at an embryonic stage.  Always have three or four ideas prepared. It could be the one in your back pocket that is of most interest, as you can never know quite what is in the broadcaster’s mind, Orion was adamant that a producer should always come prepared. Which means know the child audience, the specific needs of specific ages, listen to feedback and act upon what resonates for you – it’s not all bad!  Submit your work any way you can and ensure you have more than one “opet project” in your portfolio – “have many eggs in diverse baskets!”

Manimation is a new animation festival, created by the CMC for MIDAS, the Manchester Investment Development Agency.  It combines business development events with creative and social evenings aimed at the Manchester animation community.

Blogged by Liam Rabbitte

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