Friday, January 22, 2010

Ready to Take a Chance Again

Image of squirrels for unrelated projects.

I used to think working from home would mean occasional days off with afternoon trips to the movies or long lunches with friends. While that sometimes is the case, this week that time was spent prepping for the KidScreen Summit in February, where I'll be hosting a panel discussion on the topic of new low-cost international animated features called "The Big Screen Frontier." I'll share more about that in an upcoming post.

Since my event is only one hour out of the three-day Summit, it leaves me a lot of time to fill in my schedule with other events I can attend. There are interesting workshops, lectures, and discussions. And if all else fails there is coffee. This week it dawned on me that it would be missed opportunity to attend the Summit without pitching a couple of projects to the network executives gathered from around the world.

When it comes to developing my own preschool pitches, my wide experience working in preschool TV has been both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing because I know how to organize the material according to the network rules of do's and don'ts. It's a curse for the same reason. Knowing all that information can be like a confining box, an automatic sensor or editor, keeping me from trying something interesting and new.

Over the last six months I had spent a tiny bit of time sitting in coffee shops (again with the coffee!) developing two preschool pitches, which I roughed out in notes and sketches. They were very raw, but something about them kept me interested.

With the KidScreen deadline looming I thought it might be practical to collaborate with someone on the pitches. Besides the time factor, it's always more fun to work with another creator than to go it alone.

Xeth Feinberg (Bulbo, Queer Duck, Papu, etc.) is one of my favorite creator/designer/writer/directors in the business and an all around great guy. He has an amazing work ethic, frequently balancing commercial projects and personal films, and (best of all) he has an offbeat/adult-oriented sensibility. I instantly thought of him as being the perfect foil to my overly structured, grounded, and more wholesome style.

When I spoke to Xeth about the possibility of us working together, he was interested but cautioned that he didn't know the rules of creating preschool projects. This was new territory for him. I assured Xeth that his lack of knowledge in this area was a strength. Happily, Xeth liked both my rough concepts and we quickly got down to work. Our plan is to volley the pitches back and forth, each one changing and improving the other's work until they are as a good as can be or until we run out of time (which ever comes first!). One thing is certain: whenever you invest in self-development you have nothing to lose.


Brett W. Thompson said...

Wow! That's great- best of luck!! :)

dennis e. sebastian said...


Good luck on your pitches. It's always good to know that there are animation artists who continue to develop new stuff on their own terms.

David B. Levy said...

Thanks, Brett! Hope there will be some good news to report on this one day. You never know! : )

Dennis, Thanks for wishing us luck. I enjoy pitching as one part of what I do. I'm sure I would lose my mind in five seconds if that's all I did... but, it's a nice part of a blend of things.