Friday, January 29, 2010

The Original Freaky Stories Pitch Bible

Here's the original 2 page pitch document that I used to sell Freaky Stories - or "Urban Legends" as it was known at the time. This isn't the actual document - the "original" original was printed on a heavy newsprint stock - from a dot matrix printer. This is a revised version from about a year later. The images were photos of airbrushed paintings that I did - pasted down and color photocopied.

The original intention of the series was that individual artists would be assigned stories, that they would produce in their own styles. There would be no true animation in the series. It was going to be advanced animatics and technical animation with a voice over narrative.

The voice over narrative was all that remained in the final production. We did the pilot as I intended, but it became very clear that we couldn't hope to find enough artists with a unique style, who could produce the work we needed to make it work. There were some who came through brilliantly - but when we got the series order, we had to go with conventional 2D animation.

As for the writing - it was very bare bones - just enough to tell the broadcaster what the series would be about. The animatronic puppet hosts, Larry & Maurice as well as the setting of Ted's Diner all came along later in the development process.What amazes me most about the original pitch - is how much I didn't know about writing.

Although I'd been in the animation business for over 10 years at that point, I hadn't written anything since high school - other than business letters and a few short stories. By "a few", I think they're listed above in my pitch document. My only technical writing knowledge came from this high school example - "Three Passions" from the Introduction to Bertrand Russell's autobiography:
It was Russell's 5 Paragraph Essay structure that I followed (loosely) - probably the most useful thing that I ever learned in my life. I think that aside from the English Class in which I learned this - the rest of my High School career was a waste of time - well except for that big explosion in Mr. Brett's Chemistry class...


  1. I do tend to "blog surf" from time to time, and I must say, this is one of the more interesting ones I've stumbled upon in a while. (and I ain't pitchin' nothin' here btw)
    Kind of refreshing actually.
    Keep yer stick on the ice.

    (ooh, can you tell I'm Canadian?)


  2. Hey Bob,
    Glad you like the blog. Feel free to comment. You don't have to be in the biz or pitching anything - because the first rule of life is that nobody knows anything - so everyone's opinion is valid. Unless of course I disagree with it.

  3. I was just Googling "Freaky Stories" trying to find a good picture of it to use for my Facebook Profile picture because everyone is making a thing of posting pictures from their favorite childhood shows. I'm actually really happy I came across this! Thank you for getting this show on the air, it was my childhood! They need to make more classics like this show, the stuff they have on these days is horrible.

    ... Also Canadian. YTV is where it's at.

  4. Hey Dan,
    Glad you like Freaky. Yeah, it was a great show.
    You might want to check out our "OFFICIAL FREAKY STORIES" page on Facebook. It's where I post all the Freaky stuff - lots of behind the scenes things that you won't find anywhere else.

    Also, be sure to check out my new web show,
    BRAIN EATIN' ZOMBIE BABIES (we're on Facebook too).

  5. I have been trying to find this forever! Finally! I loved this, and all my friends who grew up watching CN in the 90's did! Thank you for creating this amazing project. I am in love with Urban Legends because of this..

  6. Thanks! It's always nice to hear that people enjoy the show. It was an amazing adventure to produce.

  7. I don't think you fully understand how awesome your cartoon was. From the bottom of my 90's heart, i sincerely thank you.

    By the way, here, in Argertina, it was: "Esta es una historia real, le sucedio al amigo de un amigo..."

  8. Im from Brazil, and I want you to know that Freaky Stories was a huge success here, and the show is a mark of my childhood. Congratulations and thanks for this project!

  9. Hi Massaro - Thanks for your note. Always nice to hear from people who like the show.