Pitch Overview: You must present a comprehensive vision for your project including a representation of the work you have done to date and a realistic plan towards completion over the next nine months.

" Simply put, your job is to put your project in our heads . . . and at the same time convince us that you’re up to the task. "

A. The Idea: Visually interesting, conceptually engaging and ultimately achievable.  The presentation must be clear, concrete and concise.  You will have 10 minutes to deliver your pitch and 5 minutes for follow up questions.

B. Length & Complexity:  Depending on the team size, film projects should clock in between one and three minutes. Games should have a limited amount of levels with the possibility of adding more; interactive stories should be short enough to bring strong visual and interactive design to every page.  Series Pitch Bibles should be accompanied by a short animated teaser or a show opener. By incorporating simplicity into your designs, you may be able to make the case for adding complexity in other areas.

C. Technology: All proposed projects must be accompanied by a track record of proven technology.  Any plans to use new technology must be explored and demonstrated to a reasonable extent before the incoming fall pitch which means extensive technical research and development during the summer months.

D. Group Projects/Talent Pool:  We strongly encourage collaboration utilizing the variety of expertise among your peers.  You will need to provide names, roles and work samples of the talent you plan on engaging for your project.  To maintain accountability key roles must be filled by current seniors working for credit.  Smaller roles may be filled by others on a volunteer basis.



Written & Verbal Pitch:  It is your job to make us believe in the larger vision of your project . . . filling in smaller gaps will come with further development.

A. Project Description: In two or three sentences describe your project.  Is it a 2D graphic game, a pilot to an animated web series, a short animated film, etc.?  What media will you be utilizing?  Is there anything unique about the way you are approaching the work?  How long is it?  How many levels?   Who is your primary audience?

B. Personal Connection: Why are you passionate about making this piece?  What is it that interests you most and why should we care enough to Green-light it?

C. Controlling Idea or “Theme”: In a single sentence state What your film is about.  Often this can be stated in a "What if . . ." question.  Brad Bird's pitch to Warner Brother executives for The Iron Giant was; "What if a gun had a soul"

D. Plot Synopsis: In a single paragraph tell us the Story of your piece.  If you're unclear about certain events in the plot try not to let them distract from the over-all arc of your project. 

E. Team-members: Who are the players and what are their respective roles?

Pictures, Sound and Media: Your presentation should inspire a singular visual direction for your project.  Depending on the nature of your project use some or all of the following:

    A. Rough Storyboards or Story Reel: If you are pitching boards be sure to format them so that you can "flip" from frame to frame as if it were an animatic.  Even better to cut the boards into a Storyreel with scratch audio and sound queues. It's hard to under estimate how valuable a good storyreel can be in selling a film concept. If you are unsure about timings, stick to the multi panel story pitch where you can advance the panels along-side a verbal pitch.

    B. Reference Images: Historical Reference is a great way to lay out the direction of your film in areas that are yet to be developed. These images should convey a Singular Vision for your piece. Avoid showing a laundry list of rejected possibilities. 

    C. Concept and Development: At this point, many rough images are better than a handful of polished ones.  Include anything that can help us see the visual direction your project is taking.  Feel free to show images that represent the search, but don't overwhelm us with drawings that distract from your vision.  Be sure to make use of the development tools you have learned thus far in the program as they apply to your project; exploration sheets, character turn-arounds, pose sheets, character line-ups, color keys, etc. 

    D. Inspirational Examples: Bring examples of existing media that is similar to what you are pitching.  This may take the shape of short trailers, frame grabs, behind the scenes video and concept art that are closely related to your project. Whatever you present, be sure to edit your items down to keep from bogging down your presentation.

    E. Test Footage, Maya Files, Etc.: Set up any files you have in such a way that they are easy to navigate in front of an audience.  If the file is too cumbersome consider using rendered images, playblasts or frame grabs. Take time to edit these down to concisely communicate what you want us to take away. 




To the degree possible, your pitch should be presented in a slide format (Powerpoint, Keynotes, PDF, etc) which should be submitted to the Basecamp 520 Fall Pitch Submission Folder as a single PDF file.  This file should be accompanied by any supplemental material in a single folder.

Basecamp Project Folder: All files should be placed in a single Basecamp folder in Basecamp 520 Fall Pitch Submission Folder.


Presentation File: Submit entire pitch as a single PDF or Powerpoint document.


Story Panels: If you choose to pitch single panels for your presentation make them available in a single folder.


Video Clips/media: Submit all accompanying media (videos, music, etc) in a single folder. 


Preliminary Schedule and Budget Overview: Provide a basic list of significant production goals and approximate dates that you hope to accomplish them by.  Also include a list of possible expenses associated with your project. 




Every student graduating from the Animation Program is required to participate at some level in an approved green-lit Sr. Thesis Production.  The following are possible outcomes to the fall pitch process.

A. Congratulations! . . . Your Project is Green-lit: This means you have the means to move forward on executing your project as pitched.  You can assemble your team (with some help from the faculty) and begin work on any revisions from your pitch notes.

B. Approval Pending, Continue Development: This means that we are excited about the project but it still needs a level of refinement.  If development is not satisfactory by mid-semester the team could be redistributed to work on other projects.

C. Freelance Placement: For various reasons the number of projects allowed to move forward will be limited. If your pitch is not approved you will be assigned to a project(s) where your skills, artistic style and interests can best be utilized.  Depending on the demand of your particular skill sets these assignments will most likely be on a “freelance” basis.

D. Portfolio Development: The personal Portfolio option can only exist for the length of a single semester.  If you choose this path (or it chooses you) we will help you to put together a strategy for your portfolio development.  At the same time, you will make your skills available on a “freelance” basic to help projects move forward in ways that will continue to enhance your portfolio.



Sr. Project Pitches will not take place until the second week of the fall semester.  That is the first Monday after Labor Day Break.  This should give you time to go over the details of your pitch to make sure everything is in order.  Do Not wait until August 25th to start working on your pitch.

If you have any questions concerning your pitch please feel free to contact us over the summer.    The best way to do this is to already have work assembled and posted online.  Send us a link so we can view you work and respond accordingly.



Every senior must present a two-paragraph proposal on what they would like to pursue as a Research Project over the coming two semesters. The paragraph should include the following:

1. A Descriptive Title for the Project - For example; "Character Modeling in Z-Brush", "A Weekly Web Comic", "Toon Boom 2D Character Rigging, or "Design Bible for a Short Series". . . you get the picture.

2. A Brief Description of Your Project - In a single paragraph touch on the larger points of your project and how it will contribute to you personal or professional goals.

3. Timeline and Possible Challenges - In a second paragraph address the following. When would you begin your research, how do you see your this commitment co-existing with your Thesis Project, and what are the challenges you see ahead of you concerning your research.

























Stephan Leeper/Central Michigan University/2019