Animation Pitch Session!

Hello readers,

I recently participated in a video podcast w/Rachel Wagner (54disneyreviews.com) and Josh Smith (thelovepirate.net) wherein we pitched different ideas we had of animated movies or TV shows that we wanted to see. Check out the video and lemme know what you think in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “Animation Pitch Session!”

  1. Thanks for participating. This ended up being one of my favorite podcasts I’ve ever done and congrats on having the winning idea!

  2. I think this was a great idea that you would plan your own pitch ideas together through this podcast. In fact, I actually had a concept for an animated movie: in this case, an Over the Hedge spinoff. More specifically, one starring Hammy the squirrel. My concept for this was that he would try to escape an evil taxidermist named Stevenson, as contrast to the original’s exterminator Dwayne. Two important people who have since passed away that I passionately considered for working on this, I believe, helped elevate the status of this idea for me: Edward Herrmann as the taxidermist and selecting James Horner as composer. The cast would also have included Christoph Waltz and Michael-Leon Wooley (Louis in “Princess and the Frog”), the latter I selected for a new friend Hammy makes as he goes on his adventure home and the former as a con-artist animal the two of them would bump into. I even wrote down a whole sheet listing the crew that I thought would be appropriate for this project, including the selection of animator David Burgess as director.

    Anyway, that’s just my concept. I’d like to know what you think.

    1. Welcome to my blog and thanks for commenting!

      I feel your idea is probably EXACTLY what Dreamworks would do if they made an Over the Hedge sequel! I feel they definitely would make Hammy the star and having him go against a taxidermist is a pretty good idea. And I can totally see Christoph Waltz being involved! I don’t think it’d be an Oscar-winning movie, but would probably be a lot of fun.

      1. I know, right? As great as composers like Hans Zimmer, Randy Newman, Michael Giacchino, John Powell, and especially Alan Menken have been in the past, I think it sort of lead to a “ghettoization” of animated film music, and I would have loved to see Horner tackle another animated project like this, especially after his collaborations with Don Bluth in the ’80s and Amblimation in the ’90s.

        Horner even mentioned this at one point:
        “I was asked about doing a couple of other animation things for Pixar. I just wasn’t available for one, and then they like to use just two or three composers. It’s a different process. It’s a committee process, so the music you get some freedom, but also it’s very much a committee at Pixar.”

        I think the biggest challenge might have been the overall sound of the film, because I knew I wanted this to also sound like it would be a very emotional experience, but also a comic adventure. In temping the movie, scores like Grinch, Casper, Land Before Time, American Tail, Rocketeer, and Jumanji seem par for the course, but where would Titanic or Deep Impact fit into the mix (apart from, possibly, the strings and french horns)?

        BTW, are you a Gilmore Girls fan? Because I wanted to cast Edward Herrmann, partially to contrast his taxidermist character with that of Richard or any of the other characters he was best known for, but also because of the very dry delivery in his deep voice.

  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I appreciate the support. Actually, I also had further concepts regarding this project, including having Hammy undergo more emotional moments, and the villain’s death would be that after catching Hammy right where he wants him (this would take place in the forest during a thunderstorm), he is about the pull the trigger on his gun, but just as he is about to, a large tree branch breaks apart and kills him. Scenes like these would make it more intense than Over the Hedge, but still sit comfortably into that PG territory. Also, akin to Pixar’s tradition of hiding “easter eggs” in their movies, I thought there could be something similar here with DreamWorks, such as featuring Puss in Boots in a non-speaking cameo as a plain old alley cat that chases Hammy in one scene or having these sheep as background characters, as well as various props from other DreamWorks films, including weapons and animals stuffed in Stevenson’s workshop.

    I also considered having special hand-drawn animation segments, much like the Kung Fu Panda films, along with the end credits being designed that way and (as someone suggested to me) the credit roll containing various Hammy-related panels from the Over the Hedge comic strip. For the DreamWorks logo variation, instead of the traditional Shrek theme, I thought about a variation of James Horner’s theme for Universal Studios’ 75th anniversary, along with Hammy in place of the boy on the moon, and as he throws the fishing pole so far, you can hear the hook breaking something after swishing through the clouds (possibly a camera).

    Speaking of James Horner, I am accompanying a list of musical selections that might give you some idea of what the music would’ve sounded like, a playlist, if you will, of the comedic, emotional, and action moments.

    (although would this sound too avant-garde?)

    Well, this certainly took longer than I thought. I just wanted to further express my thoughts, and see what you think.

      1. Thank you. That is probably the best compliment I’ve ever gotten in regards to this concept of mine. I’m just bursting with ideas over this, especially the music. If you’d like to learn and hear more about this, I can certainly do that.

  4. As a matter of fact, please note more of these images that describe other possible “easter eggs” within the movie:

    (the duck at the bottom of the frame, suggesting Hammy has a chance encounter with it in one scene)


    (the dragon and Alex plush dolls, both of which could be on display somewhere in Stevenson’s gallery)


    (B.O.B. as some gelatinous slop that Hammy is forced to eat, with B.O.B.’s eye floating up and staring at him)


    (Insectosaurus as some small crab-like creature Hammy and his new friend [whom we’ll call Marshall in this instance] come across that quickly scampers away)


    (these fish Hammy tries to catch and eat for a meal in one sequence)




    (Stevenson’s shield collection)




    (some of Stevenson’s weapons)


    (Minion as the fish in Stevenson’s aquarium that Hammy hides in briefly)




    http://caps.pictures/200/8-madagascar2/full/madagascar2-disneyscreencaps.com-4631.jpg (lion’s head hung on wall)
    (some of Stevenson’s stuffed victims)


    (re-imagined as candle holders)



    (tranquilizer darts)

    Additionally, here’s a character bio I created for Stevenson the taxidermist:
    Howard Kennedy (H.K.) Stevenson came from a long line of game-hunters and oil barons, and his ancestry dates all the way back to the 18th century, when his British ancestors rode the carriages for King George II. Unfortunately, the family turned poor following the American Revolution, until Stevenson’s great-grandfather struck oil, which led to the next family line becoming rich tycoons.

    Stevenson’s father was a game hunter who often took his son with him on his safaris. Unfortunately, when he was 19, he was attacked by a tiger, who left the right side of his face visibly scarred, and from that day forward, he swore revenge against the animal kingdom. In fact, he was even caught by his professors at Harvard for performing illegal experimentation on lab rats and was disliked by many of his peers. Eventually, he used his father’s inheritance to fund his illegal game-hunting activities and taxidermy business, and has amassed a large collection of weapons and animals used for hunting and stuffing. He uses a gun that resembles a cross between a mini-cannon and a sawed-off shotgun.

    Also, a few more musical selections:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTGnwtwf6RI (1:59 to 3:20)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twwaz6JC-Sc (0:00 to 2:10)

    Sorry if this all seems a bit overwhelming. It is just that I feel the need to express more of my ideas. Anyway, hopefully, this all seems intriguing to you.

  5. I realize that I’m a little late commenting on this, but I thought I’d share my ideas, anyway. I should also note that I actually intend to direct these films, myself (and I will make them via hand-drawn animation, let me just add for the record):

    1. A speculative biography of the early life of the famous Kenyan elephant matriarch, Echo (info on her can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_(elephant))

    2. A musical retelling of the Algerian Jewish folk tale, “The Sabbath Lion” (for a more culturally accurate portrayal of the Near Eastern/North African world [with equal care in portraying the traditions of both Judaism and Islam])

    3. A series of films based on Avi’s “Tales from Dimwood Forest” (Click here for info on the book series [http://www.avi-writer.com/books/categories/series.html], and here for my list of potential voices for some of the characters [https://docs.google.com/document/d/1QIrKJwnkCsxha07-SQSnyA90bgcUrLnpYIIjUnxs4RY/edit])

    4. A musical retelling of the story of Sundiata Keita, founder of the Mali Empire (for a long-overdue look at the human cultures of Africa)

    5. A film of undetermined plot that focuses on the ongoing sixth mass extinction and the importance of preserving biodiversity (inspired in large part by Jim Henson’s “The Song of the Cloud Forest”)

    6. A re-visit of the First Nations of North America (since POCAHONTAS didn’t present as much an authentic look at Native American culture as MOANA did for the Pacific Islander community)

    7. An exploration of the cultures of Southeast Asia (a story set in the declining days of the Khmer Empire, perhaps?)

    In case you’re wondering which studio I want to help me produce these, I personally have my sights set on Walt Disney Animation Studios.

    1. Thanks for watching!

      And great ideas! I remember you telling me about the Sabbath Lion one which sounds interesting and the Echo the elephant one caught my attention too.

      I might be doing another pitch session on Rachel Wagner’s channel in the next week or so, so stay tuned.

  6. I realize that this new comment is a little late, but I’ve been considering, along with all of my feature-length dream projects, a short film featuring one of the stars of the works of Janell Cannon. Her first character, Stellaluna the fruit bat, got the feature treatment (and direct-to-DVD, at that) from MGM years ago, so I’m thinking of animating either Verdi (an emerald tree boa) or Pinduli (an East African striped hyena). As an added note, I’d want the art style (including the character animation, itself) to closely resemble the style of Cannon’s original illustrations, just as how the series THE WORLD OF PETER RABBIT AND FRIENDS based its design off of Beatrix Potter’s artwork.

    Oh, and in case you’re not familiar with either of these stories, here’s where you can find more info.

    1. PINDULI: https://books.google.com/books/about/Pinduli.html?id=V7RKY3AyY_oC&hl=en

    2. VERDI: https://books.google.com/books?id=XgLfxC4ryTQC&source=gbs_book_other_versions

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