Sept. 21: Toper Taylor, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cookie Jar Entertainment

Among the most respected executives in children’s and family entertainment, Toper co-founded Cookie Jar with Michael Hirsh in 2004. In the company’s brief history Toper has successfully led the development, production, distribution and marketing of six new productions with anchor broadcast destinations in the US. Toper has also built an unparalled worldwide staff, has broken through online with phenomenally successful immersive websites and has forged new partnerships in Europe, Asia and North America.

Prior to founding Cookie Jar, Toper served as president of Nelvana for more than a decade. Under his guidance, Nelvana forged successful home video associations with all the major studios; developed successful toy lines and launched landmark book publishing deals. As a direct result of Toper’s stewardship, Nelvana’s brand-launching track record was unparalleled in the industry, airing over 20 series in the U.S. alone during one broadcast season.

Toper is a graduate of the University of Southern California where he is the co-chairman of the Board of Councilors of the School of Fine Arts and one of the founders of the Television Board of Directors for the School of Cinema-Television.

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36 comments on “Sept. 21: Toper Taylor, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cookie Jar Entertainment

  1. Ruthie Williams says:

    Tonight’s seminar was really a change of tack from the other presentations so far this semester. Exciting and sobering at the same time, Mr. Taylor gave us a glimpse into the business side of animation for children’s television, from the challenges of competing in a market dominated by Warner/Disney/Viacom to the growing opportunities for independent artists in global sales and through the internet. There were serveral things that I never had considered about creating/pitching a kid’s TV show that I can now see are pivotal, such as the need to appeal to the many various cultures and wide breadth of experiences across a global audience (wow Germany really? We love animating your fairy tales! No interest in our multiculturalism?). Another key component that I had all but forgotten from my early childhood trips to Toys-R-Us is the need for a show/character to be merchandisable. Overall, the message I come away with tonight is one that applies equally to business and the arts- know your customer- when you pitch, when you create your characters and stories, and when you animate. I think also try to find and choose an audience that fits you as an animator so you can do your own thing, enjoy your work, and be proud of what your are part of whether it’s children’s television, feature films, advertising, independent filmaking, or something entirely different.

  2. It’s always hard for me to talk about business because most of the times I get patronizing people telling me that the reality of things is nothing like the ideals that originally made me get into animation. Also, because after my undergrad I got to deal with many “business people” in Colombia trying to “do animation” that were just trying take advantage from the trend of the moment with no regard of the creative side of the business.

    Because of these experiences, It was so refreshing to have Mr. Taylor as a lecturer.

    I think he is a professional that respects animation as a creative labor and not just a money maker. To have respect for the medium is as important as having your feet on the ground in financial terms when trying to do serial work and staying in business for a long time. This is a lesson I’ve been slowly learning with the serial project I had in Colombia (Which was mostly respect and no finances). His words were very useful to me.

    The question session in this specific lecture was also very interesting, and many good points about the content being broadcasted today were brought up. And even though some of the reality of the TV animation field expressed in the answers was not the best to hear, it was nice that Mr. Taylor was open and sincere enough to respond with hard facts and specific reasoning behind the decisions.

    It’s also nice to hear that someone in the industry is embracing the internet as a viable platform and not as a big satan for content distribution.

  3. Ryan Gillis says:

    Hearing Mr. Taylor discuss the business side of animation like he did was very beneficial for me. I appreciated how sincere and straightforward he was when speaking about the business of producing television material.
    I had the feeling that Mr. Taylor definitely appreciated animation, and understood artistic ideals, but was ultimately pragmatic about succeeding in the business world. A lot of my romantic notions about making work that went against the grain were kind of dashed, but not in a cruel or blunt way, they were dashed in a constructive way.

    Acknowledging that most successful animations are the ones that break the mold that most programs are trying to fit, it was interesting to hear Mr. Taylor say that his operation couldn’t afford gambling on them. I guess I never considered that the shows I consider middle-of-the-road, or treading on common ground, are still very profitable.

    During the seminar I heard a lot of things I’ve heard my entire life. But I guess I’ve chosen to ignore most of it, hoping that there was a lot of money out there for more experimental, personal work. The lecture was sobering, but not in a disheartening way, just clear reminder of how the world actually works.

  4. Amy Ketchum says:

    Toper Taylor’s seminar was extremely informative and stimulating. I really appreciated his honesty and open invitation to submit ideas to his company. It was inspiring to see someone dedicating their life to animation and doing something he loved in spite of challenges in the industry.

    Although the outlook of independent animation and diversity hitting the mainstream seems daunting, seeing Taylor’s commitment to his work gives a strong message to do what one is passionate about in spite of the odds.

  5. Jay Kim says:

    Ever since I got into this whole animation thang a few years ago I thought up of 3 ambitious goals I could one day accomplish; one of those goals was to create a hit childrens television show. My first year at USC I was able to meet Stephen Hillenburg and I learned how a successful show is created from the artist’s standpoint. During this week’s seminar with Toper Taylor I learned how a successful show is created from the business point of view which is just as important to know (if not more).

    I was amazed at how much risk/reward the animation television business goes through on a consistent basis which made me admire Taylor’s endeavors so much more. Aside from the business-talk, Taylor was a very warming guest because of his friendly personality which was refreshing to see. I hope one day I will accomplish my goal and cross paths with Taylor one day.

  6. Yang Liu says:

    It was a great lecture given by Mr. Taylor about the T.V. animation business. I especially like the part where he talked about the cultural difference in the world of children animation. It is very interesting to see that the creative business is now not only about the stories and the techniques but much more on the aspect of cultural understanding. Not being able to watch an enough amount of american TV animations, I always thought the children animations in the U.S. were randomly made because they tend to be very stylistically simple and filled with dialogues. Now i have changed my mind thinking about this industry and thanks to Mr. Taylor, who brought my attention to knowing the fact that the production companies are dealing with so many different topics and issues. In fact, especially in T.V. animation, I think it’s much difficult to be a producer than being an artist. I appreciate how much effort Mr.Taylor would have to put in before a production starts, as well as his capability to handle both the production teams and other partners from other countries.
    Television business seems extremely challenging and evolving in a fast pace, based on what I have heard from many people in the industry. I hope one day I may have a chance working in that area, and Im sure it will be a fantastic experience in my life working for the american TV shows.

  7. Cecilia De Jesus says:

    Personally, I thought last week’s seminar was one of the best seminars I have ever experienced here at DADA. Toper Taylor was incredibly informative, open, and uncovered a side of television animation that is rarely discussed.

    It was so interesting to hear how the financial process works for television and how this system can sometimes be very restrictive and frustrating. I thought this point was well illustrated in the question of representation of various ethnicities in TV shows. It is sometimes easy to forget about how an animation (or anything an artist creates) exists in the world and is therefore open to a wide variety of interpretation and opinions. It must be incredibly difficult for studios and creators to work within these types of boundaries.

    I really appreciated Taylor’s frankness and his willingness to share his knowledge. I think he touched on a number of important issues in his seminar and I think it was very helpful for us to hear. Even though he didn’t talk about actually physically animating anything, his lecture about the business and creation of animation was just as relevant and essential for students to know.

  8. The business side of animation doesn’t scare me. It excites me.

    I can already predict I am going to have a strong business presence in my future animation endeavors. I would love to learn more about the process of distribution and funding initiatives necessary for short films. Yet, I feel a lot of the material covered by Mr. Taylor regarding fiscal strategy for television is viable for short films as well.

    I spoke to one of my classmates about the difficulty Mr. Taylor encountered while trying to appease a multi-national production/distribution conglomerate; in that, the animated characters must be relatable for children of differing social, ethnic and economic circumstances. In the end this is what I have deduced:

    The sensitive nature (both monetary and ideological) of the above mentioned dilemma is two-fold. On the one hand, in order to produce, distribute, and profit from a children cartoon series transnational partnerships must be forged. Furthermore, due to the appeal of international market shares, it makes financial sense to distribute cartoons to countries outside the U.S. in order to cover the cost of production and increase profit margins. In doing so, the difficulty Mr. Taylor dwelled upon in class is evident: since the series is shown in countries all over the world, the ideas conceived in the creative process are limited to meet the overall need to satisfy market shares. One could argue this makes sense until a particular demographic and/or specific geological region is targeted. In the business model shown to us, there is no room for region specific cartoons. Thus, in creating generic cartoons that are broad in scope we are forgoing the attempt to use animation as a tool to teach young children the importance of diversity, acceptance, etc. A tool which can help them understand better the world they live in by using culturally specific characters and circumstances. Educational innuendos, cultural nuances, and layered comedy found in region specific cartoons are lost. Cartoons as such have a tendency to fall down a beguiling path where they are deduced to merely commodities, in which they are stripped of their unique veneer and sold to the masses without much thoughtful consideration to its’ generational implications.

    With that said, there are of course many exceptions that transcend limitations of good narrative that both (1) incorporate ideas of difference, diversity, tolerance, acceptance and are (2) internationally marketable. I suppose the real trick is striking that balance.

  9. Rachel Jaffe says:

    Ranging in subject from the development of an entirely new animated series to the funding of a live-action feature, Toper Taylor’s exhaustively informative (and ceaselessly engaging) presentation last Wednesday addressed a facet of animation that tends to be eschewed (or at least forgotten) by an overwhelming majority of fledgling student-animators — the business of it. Although I (and the rest of the third-years attending seminar) already took an animation-industry-centric course, Toper’s presentation was nonetheless unendingly enthralling – his professional anecdotes, frank humor, and (amazingly earnest) sincerity gave me a completely different perspective on a field that I continually mistake as art. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, for the colossally educative (and entertaining) presentation you delivered last week!

  10. Linda Jules says:

    Last week’s seminar was unlike any other I can think of at USC. I was worried that the talk would be too “businessy” and totally go over my head, but instead it was the opposite. Taylor’s humorous breakdown of the process of running such a large animation company gave us a detailed perspective into what happens on the opposite side of the animation world. He was most open and honest about the challenges that he runs into in his day to day operation.

    The thing that impressed me the most was how clear his love was for children’s entertainment, and related content. I hope that we can have more engaging discussions about the business of animation in the future.

  11. Meng Chia Chung says:

    This week’s seminar is different from the class we took before. This time, we actually learned about animation from the business point of view, which I know nothing about it. When I get into the animation program, all I want to do is make a good and beautiful animation. However, It never occurred to me that making a beautiful animation may not be good enough for the reality and industry. For example, Mr. Taylor mentioned that the culture plays the key difference to the production of different animations. In some countries, people are willing to take an Asian character into their lead character but it is usually not the case in western countries. Making an animation for the football topic might be popular in America, but it is not going to work in other countries. When we start to make an animation, all these little things are very important and we definitely have to consider these through. That’s what I learned from this lecture this week.

  12. Simo Liu says:

    Before this week’s seminar, I had no idea about the business of animation. What I had been doing is to make the animation interesting, artistic and expressive. However, this week’s seminar, Toper Taylor talked about the animation in the business side, from finance to customer, which had brought me to the commercial area to think about animation and how to create it.

    The artists who create personal or independent animations would put their purely thoughts and emotions to the animations. And most of them don’t care about the audience’s tastes and the economic interest. But the commercial animations are different. When people making commercial animations, they will not only think about the art, story and technology of the animation but also consider if the films fit for audience’s tastes and get benefit from them. Therefore, to some extent, the commercial animations are harder to make than the individual animations. One thing Toper Taylor mentioned was that the difference of cultures would lead to the audiences in different areas had different hobbits about animation. For example, some animations which might tell a story from Asia might be sold great in some countries, but it is not the case in some other countries. In my opinion, not only the animation but also the film has the same point. For example, some Chinese films, whose box-offices receipts amounted to over 7 or 8 hundreds million RMB in China, actually didn’t sold great in other countries. The cause of this result might be that these films didn’t open the foreign markets and didn’t fit for the local customers. So it is extremely important to learn a foreign culture and make the animation fit for it if your plan to show them there.

    Thanks for Toper Taylor who made me think about making animation from the business side. It is really useful and inspirng!

  13. Eric Tortora Pato says:

    I can never get away from the game, or even war-like feel of our business (or the business side of our art, if you prefer), but I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. What strikes me about Mr. Taylor is the sheer excitement he has for doing the work he does, the enthusiasm, and how powerful that drive has to be to keep one’s head up and looking forward in a world where the past, and to a large degree the present are completely under the shadow of giants like Disney and Warner and the future is a daunting and unpredictable landscape of rapidly evolving opportunities, real and false. However, so much of the energy in what we do comes from that wild and insane drive, the constant desire to be the next big thing but play it safe, literally pulling are psyches in polar opposite direction, that’s tension, that’s intrigue, that’s drama. The point that ours. the world of the arts and entertainment, from the most commercial to the most independent, is always being torn asunder in the most public display of any industry (largely due to the inability of creative types not to “use what we know”) is the one thing that leaves me certain that we are always moving more in the right direction than the wrong. What do I know, though, I’m just a young idealist, who really, really wants to share my stories with people. It’s a fun time to be running into a free-for-all, and might as well do it head first.

  14. Lisa Chung says:

    I really appreciated Tober’s business presentation and point of view. Having Tober present at seminar was a good reminder of what studios expect from us and what we can expect from them. At school we are given the opportunity to experiment, test, fail and try out new techniques, stories and concepts. However, in an animation field such as family programming, the story we pitch needs to fit a particular audience. In addition, cost, time, marketability and longevity are other factors that a company considers when accepting your ideas. The flexibility and creative freedom drops somewhat. It was interesting to learn that many young filmmakers do not factor this in and generally pitch dark stories. This possibly can be why Invader Zim did not last long on Nickelodeon. Of course there are other appropriate network to pitch those ideas for. In addition there is the independent artist route. There are exceptions such as SpongeBob but as Tober mentioned that when you are responsible for the jobs of many people, the best option is to go with the formula, which is picking projects that sparks the interest of boys between the age of 6 and 11. Thanks Tober for being so honest and open about the field.

  15. I’ve heard several executives and producers speak about the business of television animation in my time at USC and much of what Taylor had to say was right inline with what others have said. Television animation is a difficult, expensive, and seemingly thankless business. The need to finance a production through multiple countries and avenues seems to have an impact on the final product. It is unfortunate that when dealing with financing a production, story elements, or content is affected. The anecdote Taylor described about the racial experience of someone in Germany as opposed to the United States is a prime example of finance informing content. I must admit I am not well versed on many of Taylor’s company’s properties, however, from what I have seen they haven’t suffered from finance forcing content decisions. However, based on that anecdote it seems that a lot of content simply will never be produced because financing bodies are unwilling to pay the true cost of a product therefore content must broaden its appeal and reduce the uniqueness of a show. Taylor’s comment that another sports cartoon is unlikely to get made because of the lack of a universal international sport. After hearing his explanation, I to agree that it is unlikely that another sport based show will be made. That is one entire avenue of storytelling, genre if you will, that will not be explored. Sports stories also tend to be some of the most powerful and inspiring so it is unfortunate that it must be ruled out because financiers are unwilling to pay the true cost of production.

  16. Brandon Lake says:

    I was surprised how much I enjoyed last weeks lecture. Usually when an executive comes in to speak to the students, we are presented with rather dry content that is usually doesn’t relate to anything in our lives. Toper Taylor’s lecture was completely frank and refreshing. It presented the world of television animation with it’s harsh truth, while still not extinguishing my hopes of being part of it one day. I was also completely surprised by how long his company had been such a major player in the industry. I grew up with much of his programming and it was refreshing to see that such a company can stay afloat in today’s economy.

  17. Tristan Dyer says:

    Thank god for people like Toper Taylor. If it wasn’t for folks like him, us “artists” would be left drawing pictures on each others foreheads. It takes business savvy, numbers oriented thinkers to get things on television and provide jobs for the rest of us. I was particularly surprised to hear what some of the budgets are for animated shows and the differences in cost between some of them. It was also great to hear about what you need to get in order before you pitch a show. But the most welcome news to me was that networks are hungry for great ideas. It’s just a bit discouraging that the survival rate is 1%.

  18. Toper was an A+ speaker. His frank and direct presention was an eye-opener and incredibly informative. I’ve always wanted to know, how much a show costs to make, how it works on the global economy and why certain shows get made and others don’t. Toper was able to break all of that down and more in a very clear way. With the rising costs of animation around the world, I wondered if it made sense to still produce new animation, but clearly it does. Live action cost about the same and may earn more money up front, but animation tends to win in the long term, which is why animation is still relevant financially.

    It’s shocking how difficult it is to pull off a new show. I always knew that it wasn’t a cake walk, but to really understand the economics and why even successful shows had a difficult time breaking in is shocking. I think I was most moved by his story about the scary anthology series he worked on with CBS in the 90s, along with partners in Canada and Germany. Diversity in television has always been important to me and I was very surprised to see other producing partners have the power and the will to remove that aspesct from the show. It completely changes my viewpoint on the landscape of television.

    I hope we’ll meet more people as honest a Toper this semester. I can only imagine how much my knowledge base will grow.

    • Laura Cechanowicz says:

      I agree with your comments Greg. I didn’t touch on all the points you mentioned in my comments, but I was thinking most of them myself as well. Nicely written.

  19. Andrew Malek says:

    Toper Taylor’s presentation of the inner workings of the animation industry was very illuminating and useful because it gave me some guidelines to work with if I were to develop a show of my own. While I wasn’t exactly shocked to know the amount of scrutiny that a concept undergoes in order to become a show it is good to know what the criteria actually is. Once Toper revealed how important the marketing is on a global level one can see why cartoons are the way that they are. Children’s television must work on a level that goes beyond culture so that there is a way to distribute it without drastic changes.

    In addition I was impressed at Toper’s ability to thrive in an environment that is tightly controlled by the major cable networks. In a position such as Toper’s he can’t afford to take major risks and must fund shows that are proven to work, given this knowledge the material produced by Cookie Jar is quite exceptional and promotes wholesome values.

  20. Larry Lai says:

    Animation needs creation and the creation needs money to support it. Though I’m not quite a business guy, I know the financial issue in animation is extremely important. That means the audience who “donate” the money can control the intention of making animation. Hence, animation becomes more than my business in the small cubical; instead, it needs survey and research to meet the favorite of the public. With an eye to earning money, it seems that the animation should react to the audience passively. Not really! It is great if we find what others really want, but it is amazing if we can give others “surprise!” We have the potential to create something they even don’t expect. So there might be WOW here, WOW there, and money everywhere. Of course, business is not as simple as I think right now. It may be dangerous to create something out of the audience’s expectation. In conclusion, to make a living so that we can make our dreams go on, we should know our audience, know the world with different cultures, and don’t forget to give them surprise.

  21. Joseph Yeh says:

    There is something that great animators have; some indescribable spark or style or something different I don’t know that makes them successful. Toper Tayler said that “everyone has a vision”, but what is it that makes your story great? He talked about things like relatability and relevance to popular culture and international culture as some very powerful strengths to a kids television story. However, there is much more to creating that great masterpiece that you want everyone to acknowledge. There are so many things to consider- everything from research to straight-up awesomeness. How does epic animation that can touch everyone’s heart come to being?

    On the other hand, I think the seminar for Toper shed light on the importance of not only storytelling, but planning. Even if you do have an awesome story to tell, you need to plan everything else. Toper talked about the importance of licensing and marketing and something that really caught my attention- creating an “Icon”. “Icons” like Pokemon and Power rangers were some of my favorite sources of entertainment when I was younger. From the business to the storytelling, I believe that knowledge of every facet of the industry brings an animator that much closer to realizing his or her dreams.

  22. Definitely interesting, I left the lecture knowing much more about how the industry functions and how shows get made. I really appreciated Mr. Taylor’s straightforward manner in explaining the business side of television animation and I hope we have more speakers like that in the near future.

    We are currently living in a time where production is cheaper than ever before with technology not only making the tools available to anyone but also with great opportunities in internet distribution looming just around the corner. It is thus probably more important than even that animation students delve into the business side of things as well as the creative and I feel speakers like Mr. Taylor are a good way to get us started.

  23. Laura Cechanowicz says:

    I found Toper Taylor’s seminar particularly intriguing from a business standpoint. It was enlightening to hear how he had crafted his company as an international business, and how he was able to utilize funding sources from around the world to finance shows. It demonstrates how a collaborative approach that steps outside the ideas of convention can get you very far. The other thing that was particularly inspiring was Toper Taylor’s ability to be particularly sharp in both business and creative matters. It seems to me that it must be very difficult to strike this balance. His talk also caused me to think critically about what is at stake for a large company in taking a risk with a show. Toper Taylor has to consider the well being of the company, but he also has to approach his work with an eye for edgy projects that take risks within reason. It seems like a tough job, it was inspiring to hear him speak!

  24. Robert Calcagno says:

    If there’s something to appreciate, it’s practicality. An ambitious project is fine and dandy, but sometimes doing something simple and clean really well can be just as rewarding. Considering the success behind the shows done by Cookie Jar Entertainment, I can at least pay attention even if I wasn’t the greatest fan of some of their shows (I was always privy to Arthur, Richard Scarry, and Inspector Gadget as a kid though). I could be stubborn about the lack of animation quality (I personally HATE the way Johnny Test is animated), one can’t deny that it’s a success and there’s certainly been worse material.

    Toper Taylor’s presentation about the business of the animation industry was certainly informative, both in a technical sense and in a realistic interpretation of what it takes to not only create a show but to create a successful show. His straightforward commentary had a lot of interesting points about things one really wouldnt’ consider when developing a property, even something as simple as if the main character plays sports or how to appropriately modernize characters (such as the proposed relaunch of Richard Scarry) without ruining the source material (the new CGI-animated Babar being of particular disdain). It was also intriguing to hear a firsthand observation about the current state of children’s animation, such as the adaptation of the 11-minute format, the return of 2D animation, Cartoon Network’s identity crisis, and impending trends.

    I could be a stubborn animation “purist” but considering some of these shows meant a lot to many of my age group back when we were young, there’s something to be said about the leverage of artistic merit compared to what kids can enjoy and have fun with. As long as the show has compelling characters, good morals, and a fun design, how can you judge it too harshly without seeming like a prude?

  25. Di Gu says:

    Last week’s lecture is very special for me. It is hard for me to think about the business of animation because in my past five years, there were many dreamers with huge passion on how to make a great animation around me, just as I did. Most time, we focus on how to produce without commercial thinking. And also I didn’t really get into the animation industry field. It’s hard to consider from a different point that I am not familiar with.

    As my lesser experiences, Mr. Taylor’s lecture is interesting and important to me as a fresh journey. From his introduce, we know the basic work routine of animation, especially the TV serious. I have a little concerned about Mr. Taylor mentioned in the lecture. Some of the reality of the TV animation field is not satisfactory as I suspect before. It has a huge restrain by commercial things, as my dream is being an animator, I am a little disappointed by heard this. But I appreciate Mr. Taylor was patient and sincere enough to answer our questions

  26. LaMar Ford says:

    Toper Taylor’s presentation on the independent animation industry was very useful and insightful. I have been to directing workshops, and the most asked question during the Q&A session is “How do you get funding”. Most of the directors and producers either dance around the question or try to skip it. I’m glad Taylor broke down the financial aspect of an animation show, and steps to get the program on air.
    It’s interesting how much goes into producing a 30 minute animation program. I’m surprised the amount of effort the independent animation companies have put into a production. Because of the big four media conglomerates in the US, a lot of companies look to international backing. I think it’s a double edge sword because many people can get involved in the show, but the cultural difference can affect the show’s content.
    Despite the talk about financing, planning, and branding the show, it’s also about content, and I’m glad Taylor emphasized the importance of good storytelling and characters in his presentation. It’s evident in Cookie Jar’s show reel. Having a good idea and knowledge of the industry will help the artist achieve his or her dreams.

  27. Toper Taylor’s presentation gave an informative look into the mechanics behind children’s television. Working within an industry dominated by the Warner, Disney, and Viacom mega-companies, smaller scale productions like Cookie Jar have to work multinationaly to stay viable. Producing content within an international partnership provides financial leverage but creates a larger problem for creators appealing to a more globalized market.

  28. Lanzhu Jian says:

    I absolutely love Mr.Tayor. And I really appreciate what he bought us on Wednesday night.
    In my opinion, Producing plays a very important part in animation industry. I m always interested in how to finance a project and I want to know how thing really works. He explained the producing procedure of how to make TV serious and how to sell them with all detailed in charts and graphic, it is very clear for me to see a daily running in an animation company and how do they do to make profit.
    Secondly, I also understand a little bit of how to create a popular animation series in children market, it is harder than what I thought. What he taught is crucial important knowledge for us to know that what can be best sell in the market and how we can make a living if we want to get into this industry. I have no opinion against commercial TV animation. In the opposite, I like it, there are lots of things we need to learn from it, for example, the comedy plot is really difficult.
    About the animation bible he mentioned during the speech, it is such a good idea to start with right now. At the end, always the story matters. I can’t wait to start my own animation bible and to get into this tough buisness.

  29. Dan Wilson says:

    I always love when television people come in. That’s an area in which I’d like to work more than feature films — I’d like to believe everyone wants to work for Pixar, and I’ll dominate the TV market. My favorite parts of Toper’s presentation were when he reinforced ideas I already have for specific shows and my view of TV in general. I had already been taught to think in 13 or 26-episode seasons just by being familiar with TV shows. I’ve heard before that 100 episodes is the goal for syndication, so I’ve also thought loosely in terms of shows being four seasons with room to grow.

    Though Maya might be my strength in terms of medium, I’m always happy when people admit that CG is not the answer to everything. “Comedy really hasn’t broken through on the comedy side.” Oversaturation is a problem, and for me that means comedy isn’t saturated with CG shows. It also means there’s tons of room for me to figure out what really works for CG in comedy (as well as lessons on what doesn’t work). I also think a lot of CG shows look really bad, so I’m most of all happy that the networks aren’t burning my eyes out with dozens of ugly shows.

    From my own experience, having at one point been a child, I don’t agree with the idea that kids don’t want to see important adults in shows. I never really cared what age characters were — I realized recently that one of my favorite childhood movie franchises, Short Circuit, was entirely centered on adults (and maybe a robot), and adding someone my age (like 9, not 24) would have done nothing for my already-thorough enjoyment of the films. The idea that kids need too see other kids in TV shows is superseded by something else Toper brought up: Kids could care less about the medium; they just want to see great characters in funny situations.

  30. chaoqi zhang says:

    Thanks to Mr. Taylor for giving us an intelligent speech about the bussiness side of animation, which is absolutely useful. Such as for the commercial animation, we need to understand the culture background of the audiences especially in overseas marketing. And it’s really good as an international student who can understand dual culture to hear about the global marketing of animation,it makes me feel like I would have a future with broad opportunities.

    And I’m glad to hear that Animation has much longer shelflife than live action. Stays entertaining forever. that’s cool to be an animator.

  31. A.W. Gammill says:

    Mr. Taylor was an informed and engaging speaker. His insights into the workings of animation production and distribution were very informative and engaging. I really appreciated the thoughtfulness he put into his answers and anecdotes.

    Mr. Taylor’s impressive knowledge of not only the properties associated with Cookie Jar, but with the entire industry, was inspirational. It made me realize that I, too, should strive to know as much as possible about the industry in order to fully appreciate and become an active member of it.

    Lastly, Mr. Taylor’s encouraging words about USC students were great to hear. Sometimes it is easy to let fear keep you from making connections. It was a good reminder that students should use their time at USC to forge bonds and branch out to others for personal and professional growth.

  32. Louis Morton says:

    The thing that stuck with me the most from Mr. Taylor’s insightful presentation was the importance of character to the success of a series. It’s obvious just in thinking of the number of series that are named after their main character, from Arthur to Paddington Bear to Doug. It was interesting to hear that around the world, no matter what ethnicity, a lead character could make or break a pitch.

    It was also cool to see that Cookie Jar is striving to incorporate different animation styles into its programming. Considering the plethora of innovative styles that are emerging from students and young animators, given all the possibilities of experimentation with digital media, it’s exciting to think of what styles will make their way into television series in the future. Thanks Toper for sharing your insider knowledge!

  33. Javier B says:

    The lecture from Toper Taylor was very informative to hear his views and understanding in his experiences on the animation industry, in a global and domestic market. His talk about children’s films about gender, and race in the world television market was an eye opener, even thought I had an idea about the global market for children TV.

  34. Chen Huang says:

    The seminar about business of animation is very different than what we took before.
    He really did a lot of things and had a lot of experience.. But the animation he showed,
    is not as interesting as he talked about the market..
    Also, he did a lot of different styles of animation. I really appreciate the spirit
    and I definitely learnt a lot in the seminar

  35. Miguel Jiron says:

    I had to miss this week’s seminar because I was in the Ottawa Animation Film Festival. Sorry to miss it!

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