Monday, 10 February 2020

The Art of the Pitch

The Art of the Pitch
Here at Escape Studios we don't just teach the mechanics of animation, we also teach the art and craft of creativity and film-making.

Every great animation series began its life as a humble concept - even mighty Peppa Pig started out as a pitch. 

There is nothing to stop our students creating the next Bob The Builder or Mr Bean.

The Art of the Pitch
Pitching is an art in itself, and a tricky one to master. Animators don't tend to be skilled at pitching; why would be? We're not natural extroverts; if we were - we'd be actors. But to sell a TV or web series, animators need to be able to pitch their ideas.

Ingredients of a great pitch
A good pitch is clear, concise, and grabs the audience's attention - and excites their interest. A good pitch is brief, and leaves the audience wanting more. Easy to say - but hard to do.

Common pitfalls
Pitching is hard to get good at, and there are many pitfalls for the unwary. Common problems include:
  • Not clearly identifying the title and characters. What is your story about? Your first slide should show clearly what the series title is, and who the main character is - with a good strapline. A good One Sheet will help a lot
  • Too much text. Your audience can't read your slides and listen to you at the same time. If they are reading - they aren't listening. Keep text to a minimum; the focus should be on you.
  • Reading the pitch. Don't read out your pitch - it's boring to hear someone reading a script. Memorise your pitch, and use your slides as visual cues. 
  • Too many characters. You should have a couple of main characters and then perhaps three or four supporting characters. Don't get bogged down in the detail of too many minor characters - the audience will get confused about who is important. Only the lead characters really matter.
  • Too much plot. There is a difference between story and plot. The audience wants to know if your main premise is interesting; they don't need to know a lot of plot detail. 
  • Too long. Don't ramble on, don't be boring. Keep it short and sweet - leave 'em wanting more. Ten minutes is plenty.
  • Tech trouble. Did you do a tech check in advance? Does your material play, both audio and video? Don't assume the technology will work - test it first.   
How do you pitch animation?
To see the main ingredients of a good animation pitch, watch the short video below.

Pitching at TV Series - at Cartoon Brew
Here is a link to an excellent blog post we're recommending- well worth reading. It's titled "How to Pitch an Animated TV Series" - by Tunde Vollenbroek, a writer at Cartoon Brew. Tunde is the head of programming at KLIK! - the Amsterdam Animation Festival, and a producer at Studio Pupil.  It's a very good article with lots of pictures to help explain how to pitch your ideas.

Cartoon Forum - pitch a TV series
Pitching animation to professionals 
Two events that should be on every animator's radar are the annual Cartoon Movie and Cartoon Forum. The former is a forum for pitching movie projects, the latter is for TV series.

Both events take applications later this year, with the Cartoon Forum taking place in September, and Cartoon Movie happening in March 2021; so there is plenty of time to get ready. To see more, follow the links below:

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link. To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here. For the next 12 week animation course, click here


  1. As I read this post I realised the logic of what you're saying applies equally to pitching a business idea. Animation may be an entirely different world yet in both cases you have to create a convincing story that people can grasp quickly, that interests them, and that they think will interest others. Thanks Alex!

  2. Thanks Dr Rox! One of the things we need to get better at at Escape Studios is helping our students to pitch better, and more confidently. It's an art form in itself.