The Big Pitch
Sat, Nov 2nd
5:30PM - 6:30PM
The Spin Master Atrium Stage
It’s time for our annual Big Pitch contest!
Most competitions usually only offer critiques by industry execs.
The Big Pitch will feature a panel of judges representing departments throughout the animation pipeline. You’ll learn not only what makes a pitch sell but how to make it work from every angle!
Aaron Long, Director - Bojack Horseman, Netflix & Shadow Machine
Aaron Long is an animator and filmmaker from Toronto. He currently lives in Los Angeles, and has directed for Bojack Horseman, Tuca & Bertie, Triptank and more. He also creates independent cartoons Sublo & Tangy Mustard and Fester Fish which appear online and in festivals around the world.
Mark Thornton, Co-founder, Neptoon
2019 marks Mark’s 25th year in the animation industry. After graduating from Sheridan College in ‘94 Mark began working as an inbetweener and key-cleanup artist at a number of Toronto boutique studios producing commercials and big studio features. Feature credits include SPACE JAM, ANASTASIA, TITAN AE, QUEST FOR CAMELOT, and OSMOSIS JONES.
When feature gigs were unavailable Mark worked as a designer at Nelvana, where he started working daily with his soon to be partner-in-crime, Todd Kauffman. The two of them recognized a similar sense of humour and passion for story in each other, and began collaborating on “just for fun” projects like writing and illustrating dark cautionary tales. The ultimate goal was to create and produce their own IP.
In 2005 they finally got that chance. They created and direct a series of 5 animated shorts for Nelvana’s Funpack program: The 9th LIFE OF SHERMAN PHELPS. With the taste of directing still fresh in their mouths, and their old design jobs being their only option back at Nelvana, the duo decided to strike out on their own. They officially partnered up as NEPTOON STUDIOS to create and develop their own IP and went looking for directing gigs to pay the bills.
They started off by directing the first 2 seasons of Fresh Tv’s TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND and TOTAL DRAMA ACTION. From there they went to create and direct their own series GROJBAND, followed by another original, LOOPED. While continuing to pitch and develop their own properties, co-directing is what they became known for and were soon tapped to helm the first season of CORNER GAS ANIMATED. From there they landed at GURU where they co-directed the 4th season of TRUE AND THE RAINBOW KINGDOM, and most recently PIKWIK PACK.
Marie McCann, Senior Director, Children's Content, CBC Kids
Marie McCann is the senior director of children’s content for CBC. She began her career as an actress before earning a degree in English and Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto. She has written, directed and produced award winning children’s content for over 20 years. At CBC Kids she heads up the teams responsible for in-house television and digital content and oversees acquisitions and programming created with independent producers for Canada's national public broadcaster.