TAMK Media students at Cartoon Forum 2018

The festival venue
From 9.9.2018 until 14.9.2018 I participated in Cartoon Forum in Toulouse, France. It was a really big animation event that gathered investors, other business people, producers, animators and students together. In this forum, a lot of companies pitched their projects that were in different phases, some more finalised than others. This year Finland was the spotlight country and it was funny to see clips from Finland by e.g. Finnanimation that were shown during breakfast and lunch, on all the forum days.

On Sunday, I arrived together with a few classmates in Toulouse, and rested and explored the city before the forum that started the next day.

The first day of the forum, Monday, was a kind of “Welcome day”. We got welcome bags with Cartoon Forum things and had a few lectures about how to make a good pitch. The first pitch was held by Anttu Harlin, CEO/producer at Gigglebug Entertainment. The second lecture was held by Petteri Pasanen from the animation company Anima. Both lecturers gave insight in their own company, which was really interesting. After the day, there was a big welcome dinner at Les Abbattoirs, which was really fancy, and we got to practice our networking skills.

On Tuesday all the pitches started. During the breakfast Croissant Show, the trailers for the pitches before lunch were shown, and during lunch the pitches that were in the afternoon were shown. This is how the next two days also worked. It really helped me choose which pitches I wanted to see. I started to write down notes during each pitch, so I would remember as much as possible. I paid a lot of attention on how people gave their pitches, and what separated the good pitches from the bad pitches.

On Wednesday after all the pitches there was again a nice dinner, and the possibility to dance if you wanted to. I got to know some French students, which was fun. It was a good way to practice my networking. Thursday was the last day of the pitches, and the day ended a bit earlier than the previous days. In the evening there was a great Finnish themed farewell dinner with some karaoke, which was really fun! On Friday we travelled back to Finland, after a very nice trip! We were many experiences richer than before.

Farewell dinner

Overall, what I learned and gained from this trip, was how important it is to have a good pitch when you get so far as Cartoon Forum or some other big event like it. It’s so frustrating to see talented people throwing away their chance of getting investors, distributors or coproducers, just because they haven’t prepared their pitch at all. You can have a lot of talent and great material, but if you can’t show in a convincing way the reason why somebody should invest in or work for your project, you are walking on thin ice. 

The most common mistake I felt in a pitch was that people talked about irrelevant things that didn’t have anything to do with the project itself. For example, a presenter for the animation project “The Snores”, bragged for many minutes about all the awards her animation company had gotten. Not a good start for the pitch. The best pitch I remember from the event was for an animation series called “In your Face”. The pitch started with a woman telling a story that sparked her idea for the animation. She made the audience laugh, and had very clever remarks. The pitch was engaging from the start until the end.

I learned a lot from this trip, and it was really a once in a lifetime experience.

Text & images by Annika Andersson 2018
Text edits: CF

Anttu Harlin's farewell speech