Report: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Posted on: Thursday 09 July 2020 6:07pm by Lorna Partington Walsh

This session began with an invitation from session sponsor Enterprise Ireland to visit the specially created website for CMC delegates to explore what Ireland has to offer creatives:

Under the guidance of dragon-wrangler Nigel Clarke, three creatives pitched their projects to the ‘dragons’, who were Jules Borkent (VCNI), Nigel Pickard (Nevision), Adina Pitt (Cartoon Network), and Alison Warner (Blue Zoo Rights).

Pitch 1: ‘Umami’ (Jonathan Clarke, Distillery Films)

Set in the world of food trucks, this is an animation for 6-11 year olds that is “fun, fast, and full of flavour”. It follows 4 friends whose parents own different trucks selling various street foods. The pitch outlined the world, values, and dramatic tension of the show and introduced the creative talent behind it. It also outlined one storyline.

  • Alison wanted to know more about the character interactions and what made the show comedic.
  • Nigel liked the design and the characters but wanted to know more about how expansive the world of the show would be and how important healthy eating was to the show.
  • Adina felt it skewed younger than pitched due to the designs. She wanted to know what the aspirations of the characters were (and, by extension, the children watching). She wanted the show to go deeper into different cultures and ensure it wasn’t ‘tokenistic’.
  • Jules wanted more about the family dynamics and to know what the unique ‘hook’ was (it needed something extra to make it unusual, like ‘Loud House’). He felt the concept overloaded the pitch and wanted something more simplified.

Outcome: £150 from Jules Borkent to see a pilot script.

Pitch 2: ‘Feel Brave’ (Avril McDonald)

Avril (pitching from Australia!) requested investment in a 60-second proof of concept animation for her series of books about emotion. It was a highly personal pitch that explained Avril’s commitment to helping children navigate difficult emotions and develop resilience through optimism and gratitude. ‘Peppa Pig’ meets Tony Robbins! She explained the platform she has already created for the brand.

  • Nigel noted the timeliness of this project and wanted to know more about the central characters. He also wanted to know what the vision was beyond the proof of concept project.
  • Jules wanted clarity on the age demographic for the project, which seemed to be at odds with the ‘Peppa Pig’ reference.
  • Adina was very moved and inspired by the pitch and loved the messaging for children. She also appreciated the transmedia approach, describing it as very smart.
  • Alison was also impressed with the pitch overall and thought the framework already in place was advantageous. Lots of global potential. 

Outcome: Adina and Alison pitched £800 combined to talk further with Avril about the project.

Pitch 3: ‘Suzie Kai Samurai’ (Liam Swann)

Set in a fantastical Japan, 9-year-old Suzie is chosen to be the protector of a mountain and, with her friends, has to contend with light and dark spirits. Described as a fast-paced comedy, the stories will focus on making the philosophy of ‘sacrifice’ more positive, showing how it is used to bind communities, families and friends.

  • Adina liked the concept and felt it was something close to Cartoon Network’s ‘Ninjago’ project with Lego.
  • Jules also liked it but was very concerned about the weaponry. Anything with blades is a big no-no for children! (Liam explained the sword would not be part of the show).
  • Alison liked the ‘sacrifice’ angle and wants to know more about that theme. World and characters seemed strong.
  • Nigel felt the show looked quite ‘traditional’ and felt that there was too much crammed into a short pitch: focusing on character is the best way to pitch a show in a short space of time.

Outcome: £200 from Nigel to talk to the show’s creators in more detail.


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Lorna Partington Walsh

About the author

Lorna Partington Walsh


Lorna is a writer/editor who is supporting CMC 2020 by managing the session blogging and helping build the online conference platform. A CMC old-hand, she was involved in the conference's early years, prior to her move to California in 2008. When she returned to the UK in 2019, where else… Read more