5 tips to get your show made with It’s Pony creator, Ant Blades
Today is an exciting day because it’s the UK premiere of It’s Pony! Following the everyday city life of a young girl, Annie, and her eccentric best friend, Pony (who is indeed a Pony), It’s Pony is a delightful and endearing series for older children. We had a chat with the brilliantly talented creator, Ant Blades, to find out his best advice for anyone who one day hopes to get their own show made.
- You’ve got to like your characters.
If you don’t want to spend more time with your own characters, chances are others won’t either! Ant says, “When I created Annie and Pony, they felt right. I wanted to draw more comics with them at the weekend... You may want to create characters that you think kids will respond to. The temptation is to make them more exciting or zany. But you have to ask yourself even if I wasn’t being commissioned for this, would I still create these characters?”
- Don’t be too precious.
Being able to take feedback is an essential skill. “You came up with the concept but you’ve got to learn to take advice. People at Nickelodeon, for example, have been doing this for a long time and it’s likely they’ll know what’s going to work and what isn’t. In an early script, we found ourselves following Pony and neglecting Annie. We almost lost a big part of what made the show work. So we tried again.”
- Make sure your pitch bible shows the essence of the show.
See how few words you can boil down your concept to. “When you pitch, you’ll be going in with a pitch document or bible. You have to make sure it’s fun and original. It also must contain the essence of what your show is about. You can think of a fairly simple summary. We had a little paragraph at the beginning that summed it up… You don’t have to write pages and pages. Try to immediately show what the reader is getting behind."
- Be patient. Keep having a go.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! “It’s not like we just did this and waited for it. We got on with other stuff and when the good news came back about Pony we progressed. You never know where it’s going to go. It’s been 4 years since I started, so it’s good advice to be patient.”
- Your idea must have heart.
“Pony started as a short. I was with a studio called Birdbox at the time. Nick took a bunch of shorts that year and tested them with kids, see which ones got the best response. The one we did wasn’t the most polished, style-wise, and some of the others looked fantastic with tight animation. That’s where I got worried! But luckily the story was there. They ask the kids, ‘which of these do you want to see more of?’ Even though the premise wasn’t super out there, kids wanted to see more.”
Hoping these tips will help you in the future, whatever project you are working on now! Watch It’s Pony on Nickelodeon UK at 4pm April 20th 2020.