The judges for Animation Magazine’s 10th annual Pitch Party are set!
The annual event, which opens up a section of Animation Magazine to anyone who wants to pitch an idea for the next great animated series. The winner gets the chance to pitch their idea to the judge/animation executive of their choice.
So who are this year’s judges? Read on:
As Vice President of Children’s Programming for PBS, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners and distributors throughout development, production, post-production and broadcast for existing and new series including Curious George, Dinosaur Train, Super Why, The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Martha Speaks and Sid the Science Kid for PBS KIDS, and WordGirl, Wild Kratts and The Electric Company for PBS KIDS GO!.
Prior to joining PBS, Simensky was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw the development and series production of The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Courage the Cowardly Dog and other major projects. Simensky began her career with a nine-year tenure at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch such popular series as Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show.
Simensky is a past-president of ASIFA-East, and the founder of New York chapter of Women in Animation. She has lectured at numerous colleges and animation festivals, and has taught courses in animation at the School of Visual Arts in New York. She has written for numerous animation publications and has had several essays published in books including “Nickelodeon Nation” and “The Children’s Television Community.”
Simensky holds a BA in Communications & History from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA in Media Ecology from New York University.
As Vice President, Original Programming and Development for Comedy Central, Mann develops new series and serves as a current executive on scripted series, animation, sketch, variety, talk, panel and game shows.
Mann joined Comedy Central in 2003, and during his tenure has put the network on the narrative map with the Emmy®-winning The Sarah Silverman Program. He also developed Tosh.0, the groundbreaking series featuring Daniel Tosh that has become the second highest-rated program in the history of Comedy Central, behind only South Park. The show has also steadily risen to become one of the most popular destinations across Comedy Central Digital. In addition, Mann developed the network’s highest-rated premiere The Jeff Dunham Show, The Sports Show With Norm MacDonald as well as The Showbiz Show with David Spade. Mann has also successfully transitioned live shows from the Comedy Central Stage into series for the network including Naked Trucker, The Hollow Men, Crossballs, and the ratings hit Mind of Mencia.
Utilizing his deep roots in the comedy community, Mann has led Comedy Central to pursue more scripted projects including those by A-list writers Brent Forrester, Dan Sterling, Rob Schrab, Dan Harmon, Dana Gould, Lew Morton, Chris Henchy, Jay Martel & Ian Roberts, Dan Fybel & Rich Rinaldi, Jill Soloway, Warren Hutcherson, Harris Wittles, Rob Cohen, Lance Crouther and Steve Koren. Capitalizing on his ability to capture the unique voices of performers, he has also developed with Paul F. Tompkins, The Lonely Island (Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer), Laura Prepon, Kate Walsh, Wyatt Cenac, Dave Koechner and Andy Daly among many others, Prior to joining Comedy Central, Mann was an independent producer with HBO Independent Productions where he developed with Dennis Miller, Jenji Kohan, Danny Zuker and produced six one-person shows including Greg Behrendt and Paul F. Tompkins that aired as HBO Specials.
While a producer of the Aspen Comedy Festival from 1997 – 2002, Mann created live show concepts such as The Simpsons Live with the cast of the hit FBC series, This American Life with Ira Glass and supervised all facets of production for performances by such writers and performers as Steve Martin, Sarah Jessica Parker, David Cross, Michael Patrick King and Zach Galifianakis. During that time Mann also served as Executive Producer at the HBO Workspace where he produced Norman Rockwell Is Bleeding which led to the series Titus for FBC, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Dratch & Fey with Rachel Dratch and Tina Fey and over 600 presentations of one person shows, sketch, variety, late night, game and talk shows.
Previously, Mann served as a Producer on Saturday Night Special for FBC and Producer for the Ace Award-winning Full Frontal Comedy at Showtime where he gave Tenacious D (Jack Black & Kyle Gass) their television debut.
Mann began his career as a Producer on “Star Search,” where he helped launch the careers of Ray Romano, Kevin James, Dave Chappelle, Martin Lawrence and Brad Garrett.
Mann holds a B.A. in Fine Arts from SUNY Binghamton.
Joe D’Ambrosia is Vice President, Original Programming, Disney Junior. He oversees production and creative development of entertainment and learning-based television properties including the new animated adventure series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates," featuring new kid pirates alongside Disney’s classic "Peter Pan" characters Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, and current hits "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and "Special Agent Oso." D’Ambrosia is also developing new full length and short-form series, including a series starring Minnie Mouse and a series set in the storybook world of the classic Disney Princesses.
Prior to joining Disney Channel, D’Ambrosia produced and developed children’s television programming and family films at Murray Hill 5 Productions, which he co-founded with partner Tom Teves. Together, they developed, wrote and produced "Astro Boy" for Sony Pictures Television, which aired in 20 countries, and created "Golden Bridges," based on the classic book series "Golden Books," for The Learning Channel. Additional credits include the feature films "Mother of Invention" for Walt Disney Pictures, "Motel Galileo" and "Hello, I Love You" for Wind Dancer Films and "Escape from Island X" for Wildbrain Entertainment, and the television series "Undercover 101" for Lifetime Television, "Come Spy with Me" for ABC Family and "Blood+" for Sony Television.
Before forming Murray Hill 5 Productions, D’Ambrosia helped launch Sony Pictures Family Entertainment, overseeing the development and production of numerous family films and television series, including the film "Land of the Lost" and The KidsWB! television series, "Phantom Investigators."
D’Ambrosia began his career at Nickelodeon where he launched their family film division, serving as the development and production executive on their first live action feature, "Harriet the Spy," and their first animated feature, "Rugrats, The film." He also oversaw development of the films "Rugrats in Paris" and "Snow Day."
D’Ambrosia graduated from Catholic University of America with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theater.
Curtis Lelash – Director, original animation, Cartoon Network
Walter Newman – Manager of comedy development, Cartoon Network & [adult swim]
Max is a sought after consultant and lecturer for the animation industry, working with companies and organizations from all around the world.
Max Howard Consulting Group – Owner – www.maxhoward.net
Past-President of the Exodus Film Group whose first production, Igor was released in the Fall of 2009. Max is currently producing a series of animated feature films for the Exodus Film Group.
Max Howard created and ran studios for Disney in London, Paris, Orlando and Los Angeles, working on some of Disney’s most memorable films including Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King. As President of Warner Bros Feature Animation he oversaw such hit films as The Iron Giant and Space Jam. At DreamWorks, he was co-executive producer for Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron.
Throughout his illustrious animation career, Max Howard has worked with UNICEF to bring health and social messages to developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and South America through the use of animation, underscoring the important role this medium can bring to overcome ethnic and social prejudices.
Memberships / Board Appointments:
Mike Moon is Vice President, Creative, Disney Television Animation working on original series development as well as current animated series for both Disney Channel and Disney XD.
A highly regarded animator and producer, Moon has worked in animation for over 20 years, receiving two Emmy Awards. He was recognized for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for his work as Producer/Art Director on Cartoon Network’s "Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends" and for his work as Director/Art Director on "Mickey’s Mouseworks" for Walt Disney Television Animation.
Among his other credits are Art Director on "The Powerpuff Girls film" and Director/Art Director on Disney’s "House of Mouse." He began his career at Klasky Csupo as a Layout Artist on "The Simpsons." His other credits include "Clone High" and "Dexter’s Laboratory."
A Cal Arts alumni, Moon has also worked for Warner Bros. Animation, Hanna-Barbera, Nickelodeon and Fox Animation. Adding to his already impressive resume, Moon has also illustrated a children’s book for Hyperion entitled "How To Potty Train Your Monster."
Moon is based in the Burbank, California, headquarters of Disney Television Animation.
Over a decade of experience in kids entertainment varying from programming, production, and writing to character designing, digital media, and even voice acting, gives Ted Biaselli unique insight into the creative landscape of kids TV.
In his current role at The Hub, a multi-platform joint venture between Discovery Communications and Hasbro, Inc., Ted Biaselli, has guided projects in all stages from development to air and through current production. As the network executive in charge of some of the Hub’s most successful programs such as “R.L. Stine’s the Haunting Hour: The Series,” “Pound Puppies,” “Family Game Night,” and “G.I. Joe Renegades,” Ted has used his passion and knowledge of the industry to help fuel some of the highest rated programs on the network.
Prior to joining The Hub, Ted worked in animation development at Disney Channel, Playhouse Disney, and Disney XD.
The winner of the Pitch Party gets additional editorial coverage, a chance to pitch their idea to the judge of your choice and the cost of your entry reimbursed. The second and third place winners, the winners of our staff pick and online readers poll also will get editorial coverage in our widely read Comic-Con issue.
To see how previous winners of our Pitch Party have succeeded in the animation industry, read our update here: www.animationmagazine.net/people/catching-up-with-past-pitch-party-winners
To enter, contact our sales staff by phone at (818) 665-2050, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is June 10.
Winners will be announced in our August issue, which hits stands around July 5. Winners also will be hyped on our website during the week of Comic-Con International: San Diego, July 21-24
For more information, go to: www.animationmagazine.net/pitch-party-2011.