Report – Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Will the dragons make it happen for three prospective pitchers in the session where real investment is on the table? Guest blogger Oliver Ellis dropped into the den to find out
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- Do your homework and find out what the market are looking for
- You have to be in it to win it so get ready to go into the Den next year
- Be innovative
- Learn how to train dragons
Now in its fifth year, this session based on the Dragon’s Den is a firm favourite in which three producers pitch their projects to a panel of ferocious dragons from the kids’ content industry.
Before the competition kicked off, Jordan Casey, a 16 year old changemaker set out the personal story of how he taught himself coding and creating app games. He is an impressive young man so talk to him during the conference if you can.
The competition began. Real money, £2,000 each, from real players in the industry.
The dragons set out their stall. Finn Arnesen, SVP from Hasbro was looking for that fresh new idea; Genevieve Dexter, CEO Eye Present and co-founder of Serious Lunch, was looking for unique provenance and a beating heart, a proven audience and fan base; Eryk Casemiro, CCO of Zodiak Kids Studios, was looking for an authenticity to the idea and for the funny; Cheryl Taylor, Controller of CBBC and BBC Children’s, wanted bold funny entertainment ideas that show passion from the creator and an understanding of the audience.
Each creator gets to pitch their idea, their ‘diamond in the rough’, to the dragons for a slice of that money. First up was Cliff Parrott, Salty Dog Pictures, pitching ‘Buck Buck and Buck and Buckley, Chickens at Law’, a character driven show about an underdog chicken in denial about achieving his dreams. Finn struggled to see the relevance of the legal theme for kids but put in his winning bid of £30 to talk further.
Tim Bain and Tony Cooke pitched ‘New Girl on the Block’, a comedy drama aimed at 8-12 year-olds and their families, a time travelling concept where the protagonist, Kylie, goes back to the 1990s when her parents were teenagers. The pitch went down well, with Cheryl and Eryk fiercely pitching against each other – Cheryl finally getting a three-month option to discuss further for a session-beating £2,000.
Anne Wilkins and Emily Howells pitched the quirky ‘David and Laurence’ for 6-11 hand-drawn cut-out animation involving the adventures of a psychiatrist with a toucan on his head, delving into the minds of his patients and dealing with mental health in a humorous way. Genevieve won this option for the grand sum of £150.
Host Tony Collingwood kept the whole thing moving with a lot of laughs ably assisted by Anthony Utley who was roving reporter in the audience – who also got to vote this year!
So all the projects got the option to go further with their dragons and Eryk went home empty handed! Watch out for these shows on TV in future years and mark your calendar next year for a new take on How to Train Your Dragon.
SVP Global Distribution & Development
Zodiak Kids Studios
Chief Creative Officer
Director of Production and Development
Independent Children's Media Consultant