“They passed on my project! Why? I was the chosen one!”
What if you nailed your cartoon pitch, but they still passed on your project?
It’s quite common for a network or studio to just not be interested in a cartoon about singing hats (that wasn’t your pitch, was it?) at the moment. Networks are fickle. The boss may have read an article stating that earmuffs are trendier than hats and boom—the network doesn’t want hat shows anymore. They want earmuffs with attitude!
Or, the celebrity that is semi-attached to your project is in some hot water over some crazy trendy allegations from something they did in college.
And POOF! There goes your baby. Just like that.
Awful, isn’t it?
But as a singing goose in a movie about a pig and a spider once said, chin up! The good news is that trends change. Faster than you might think. Sometimes “no” means, “not right now.” Three months later, that same exec could read another article claiming that hats are back! Kids can’t get enough of them. You could send the article to the exec you’ve now befriended, with a reminder that your brilliant hat concept is available.
The point is not to get discouraged if your project gets passed on. It may have been simply an issue of timing.
What if you’re called back to do the pitch again?
Congratulations! You were invited back. That’s terrific! Most likely, you have been asked back because you and your concept piqued the interest of the development exec’s boss(es). Now is your chance to impress the real decision makers. In other words, you might get a “Yes” in the room!
Don’t sweat it. You know your show. Just bring in more copies of your pitch document. Ask the exec a lot of questions, like what other departments will be represented in the pitch? Tailor your pitch to hit the things you know a Marketing, Consumer Products, and Gaming executive would like to hear.
At this point, the executive whom you’ve built a relationship with will want to give you every advantage possible to nail this pitch too. After all, when you and your concept look good, they look good too.
These days, it’s become much easier to not only create your own cartoon, but get it funded, and distributed it as well. Check out this list of funded cartoons on Kickstarter. Homestar Runner and Simon’s Cat are other prime examples of how talent, hard work, and the willingness to bravely share it with the world can pay off.
If you’ve created an original cartoon, but don’t have the means to produce it and share it online, it’s not impossible to convince a big network to make your show…just incredibly hard.
You may have a brilliant, hilarious, and beautiful show idea, but without evidence of execution, the majority of networks would rather reboot a property that they already own. Why?
Two reasons: 1) They’d rather go with something that at least one person has heard of, and 2) they are scared.
I guess “risk-averse” is the nicer way to put it. With millions of dollars–and reputations–on the line, media execs are some of the most risk-averse people in the world.
It’s more likely for a studio to reboot a popular franchise from the 70s, 80s, or 90s than to take their chances on a brand new property. Cartoon Network has revived The Powerpuff Girls. (Results were mixed.) DreamWorks Animation has rebooted Voltron and She-Ra. Disney has resurrected DuckTales. Batman and Scooby-Doo each get a new series every few years.
It’s their prerogative. These companies feel that they can capitalize off the built-in fan bases of those franchises. But it’s a double-edged sword. The same fans those studios aim to please, tend to voice their displeasure online. But the truth is, those big studios and networks don’t care what the angry online audience thinks!
Behind every reboot of a beloved show, lie hundreds of angry fans that cry that their childhoods have been ruined.
Ask the teams behind Teen Titans Go or VeggieTales In the House what their original fans think of these newer series.
So don’t feel bad if your original concept gets rejected. If you sold yourself well, there’s a chance you’ll be asked to help reboot a breakdancing hat franchise from the 1970s.
There are worse things out there!