What is Startoon Creators?

Backed by the Shaw Rocket Fund, Startoon is an online talent development initiative, structured as a talent show. It’s designed to connect to creators directly and find new, original animated characters that could star in a series for kids aged 6 to 11.

It's a new way to make cartoons!

Key dates

March 13Submissions start

May 8Submissions close

May 23Challenges start

June 12Voting opens

Oct 2Winner announced

A talent show, what's the prize?

You get to make a cartoon!

Startoon will supply a production budget of up to $25,000 to make an animated short or pilot featuring your character(s).

So what’s the catch? I take part in the show and you own my character?

Nope. We don’t play that way. We’ve got terms and conditions you can read here that specify exclusive and non-exclusive rights, but all that really means is we can share your stuff online, and if you sign up, you’re going to see it through. When the dust settles, you still own your character.

OK, I’m still reading... how does the talent show work?

Good question.

Anyone in Canada can submit a character to Startoon – this is the Submissions phase. As a creator, you need to be able to put your character into a video format, and find a way to communicate who he/she/it is.

At this stage, we’re looking for great ideas rather than polished animation, so just do your best! Download some software and make your character move! Rough animation, vector-based puppets, stop-motion, a storyboard… whatever you can do to convince us you’ve got creativity and imagination. We want to see a character that is funny, engaging, original, age appropriate for 6- to 11-year-olds and has the potential to be the star of his, her or its own series.

The Submissions phase will close on May 8, 2017, at which point our selection committee will lock themselves in a darkened room and pick up to 30 contestants to progress to the Audition and Challenge phases of the program.

There will be four rounds in all, so strap in for a real ride.

In the first round, our top 30 participants will be instructed to create an Audition Video for their character. We’ll share the questions later, but it’s a very straightforward undertaking.

Remember: We’re looking for great characters rather than amazing animation – but we’re hoping to see characters that can express themselves. After three weeks, we’ll pull our panel of judges together to pick the 20 characters that will move on to the challenge rounds. But they’re not our only decision makers! We’ve got a wildcard spot in each round that gets picked by cartoon fans. Each video racks up fan support through our “Click to Clap” function. The more claps your character gets, the more likely they are to earn the wildcard spot in the next Challenge Round.

We’ll continue through the Challenges for 3 rounds of sweaty cartoon mayhem until we’re left with four finalists – three of which are chosen by our judges. That fourth spot is all about the fans, so you better hope they like the cut of your jib. After the final, fateful round, we’ll announce the big winner on Monday, October 2nd.

Wait! Tell me more about this Click to Clap thing.

First, we’re going to promote the heck out of the show.

We’re going to try to get as many eyes on your creation as possible. Fellow animators, your bus driver, barbers, and most importantly, the kids 6 to 11 demographic! We’re shameless.

They’ll get to vote on every round of the competition, including the submissions.

And the claps are unlimited. You can vote as many times as you want! We leave the final decision up to our squinty-eyed judges, but they’ll be force-fed the audience’s opinion. No trolls allowed though. We’re a troll-free zone.

Tell us about the prize again...

It’s a cartoon. You get to make a cartoon

There’s no way it’s that simple.

Startoon will fund the production of an animated short or pilot, with a budget of up to $25,000. We could also go straight to developing pitch materials to pitch the show to broadcasters, but we make that decision with our winning creator. We all get to show it everywhere forever, and we’ll work with the creator for a year after to see if we can set the project up as a series or whatever else it might want to be. Beyond that, it’s all yours.

What should I be thinking about right now?


Stay up to date with everything we’re doing and keep on top of upcoming deadlines. We’ll send you newsletter updates, and you can follow our various social media feeds.


Think about a character that you could submit to our open audition - the deadline is May 8, 2017.

Can you tell us what makes a great character?

Yes we can!

We've created a whole series of videos on Character Development to help you out!

You can view the playlist here

Make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel so you don't miss our Animator Resource videos uploaded every Wednesday!


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