How to Pitch a TV Show That Animation Executives Will Actually Want to Buy
Welcome artists, writers, animation students, professionals, and enthusiasts to cartoonpitchpro.com!
I couldn’t find a go-to website with tips on pitching a cartoon to a studio or network, so I made this one.
So why are you here?
I bet you’ve got a fantastic idea for a TV show or cartoon.
You’ve written a script or two, sketched a hundred pictures, penned the perfect theme song lyrics, or even storyboarded an entire sequence.
You’ve neglected loved ones, personal hygiene, even your day job while investing hours into developing your unique and hilarious characters and world. You know them like the back of your smartphone case.
And the best part? You’re actually happy with it.
You think to yourself, “This is way better than half the junk on TV these days. I should pitch it to Netflix.”
That’s where this website comes in.
All the information you’ll need to make that dream a reality can be found here. Take a look at the list of articles on the right side column and dive right in!
But first, can you answer this question?
Why do you want to pitch a TV show?
When I was a kid, I watched a lot of television—mostly cartoons. I grew up in the 80’s, so most of the shows I watched were just really long toy commercials.
I didn’t care. I loved them!
When my parents kicked me out of the house to go play outside, my friends and I would spend hours re-enacting the latest episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Thundercats, and even Denver, The Last Dinosaur. (“He’s My Friend and a Whole Lot More” – What’s that supposed to mean?)
There was always that one kid whose parents bought him all the action figures from those shows. (Everybody wanted to be his friend.)
My friends and I also loved drawing those cartoon characters, and eventually created our own original ones.
I admit, mine were mostly rip-offs of my favorite shows.
I bet you can guess what inspired my “Radical Raccoons” characters. (Hint: they were a mutant quartet of brothers who were skilled ninjas, each wielding a different weapon.)
I knew one day that I was going to be a famous cartoon creator, like Eastman and Laird, Matt Groening, or the geniuses who created the Transformers.
Fast-forward a few decades, and now I’m working in the animation industry, but not as a creator. Not the job I envisioned as a kid, but close enough!
(What kid says they want to be an animation executive when they grow up?)
How about you?
Do you want to make a show that gets rave reviews, with characters that get plastered on all sorts of toys, pajamas, and other consumer products?
Do you want to make a show with a serialized story arc, tons of plot twists, and a host of characters—some of which could get a spin-off show?
Maybe you dream of winning Emmy’s and Annie Awards while being courted by all the animation studios in Burbank who are dying to pay you to make hit cartoons for them!
Or maybe you dream of making a preschool cartoon that not only entertains, but educates a younger audience.
Those are wonderful goals, but wait an animated minute.
Before all that can happen, you’ve got to convince a lot of people that you and your show idea are worth investing hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of dollars on.
Are you up for the task?
Let’s say you have a brilliant idea for an animated series. You’ve done your research, and after using a few industry connections (and a teensy bit of stalking) you’ve managed to secure a pitch meeting at a major animation studio or network.
You’ve managed to do what few people outside the industry have done: You got your foot in the door.
Now comes the hard part.
Can you quickly and effectively pitch your show?
Before your creation sees the light of day on a network, you need to present it to someone who will deem it worthy or not.
Unless you’re already a talented celebrity, an established creative force, or a Kardashian, you have to nail your pitch.
No way around it.
Are you prepared to handle a television executive’s questions, blank stares, fake chuckles, interruptions, and more questions?
Are you ready to handle suggested changes, criticism, or even outright rejection?
Are you prepared to handle that dreaded feeling of knowing you forgot to mention an important detail of your show idea, only to realize that you also forgot to get parking validation, and now have to pay 12 lousy bucks—”CASH ONLY”—that you don’t have on you?
If you’re not sure, then you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to share all of my pitching experience and advice so you can pitch your show idea with confidence, and sell your show.
Before we go any further let’s get one thing clear right off the bat: There are no hidden “secrets” to nailing a pitch.
There are, however, plenty of practical, concrete, and actionable tips you can quickly learn to impress studio executives and decision-makers, sell your show, and get it seen my millions.
That’s the goal, right? Well keep reading, there’s a lot I want to share with you.