Independent Projects - Part I

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Posted by Charles on April 20, 1999 at 16:03:34:

A few days ago, I had the opportunity of seeing the pilot episode of a much anticipated animated television series that is currently in the works. I had heard about this project for quite some time and was fortunate in being able to get a glimpse at what many people in the business had been enthusiasticaly talking about.

Afterwards, while reflecting upon what I had seen, I came to the personal conclusion that this project was not quite what I had expected it to be. Although it was entertaining, I simply didn't feel that it was as ground breaking or as innovative as the hype claimed. Let me emphasize that my conclusion was my opinion.

The experience of seeing this pilot episode was a revelation for me. There are some independent projects in progress that I am aware of which I feel are at least as innovative and of a higher overall quality than this series pilot generated within the studio system. The thing that some of these independent projects had in common, which I find somewhat astonishing, is that they had at one time or another, been pitched to the same animation/broadcast entity producing this ground breaking pilot and had been rejected.

Development on some of these independent projects has gone on, in spite of the rejections that their creators have had to endure. I'm aware of one project that has made substantial progress towards a finished pilot episode and quite frankly, it beats the pants off of the other pilot I've mentioned. I've seen brilliant presentations for excellent ideas that had tremendous marketing potential, but were all subject to the whims and tastes of non-creative executives who have little or no imagination.

The problem with many of the people who review pitches is that they tend to be limited in their scope. What they think is ground breaking has become, in many instances, cliche. By virtue of this mindset, a concept is immediately dismissed for reasons which make little or no sense, such as what I described in my last posting where a friend's concept was rejected because it was drawn too well.

There are many individuals in the industry who would like to develop and produce their own concepts, but are not sure how to proceed. Some of them are involved in generating presentations that they plan to pitch to the networks or to other studios. Presentation art may not cut it anymore. It appears that what's needed for a concept to succeed in the extremely competitive environment of intellectual property development is some actual animation.

I plan on opening up this area of discussion further. I'd like to get some feedback from individuals who have had experiences with pitching concepts to major studios and/or broadcast and cable networks, or those who have independent projects in progress.

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