Getting Started in Children’s Media

Written by Caroline and Katherine Brickley, CMA Mentorship Program Co-Chairs

So you’re interested in getting into kids’ media? First of all, welcome! There are lots of different avenues you can take: production design, on-air promos, consumer product licensing, legal services, on-set tutoring, publishing, puppet design, graphic artist, marketing, digital analytics, qualitative and quantitative research, distribution, music performance and licensing, toy manufacturing… and MANY MANY more! CMA’s events, job board, and community is a great place to start. We’ve also compiled a variety of resources here to help you dive in and get immersed.

Trade Publications & Books → Great way to start learning about the industry and where you might like to be!

  • Animation Magazine: an American print magazine and website covering the animation industry and education, as well as visual effects.
  • Cartoon Brew: Cartoon Brew has delivered the latest news, trends and ideas in animation to over 25,000 different artists, entertainment execs and cartoon aficionados. 
  • Children’s Publishers Weekly: News about children’s books, picture books, young adult books, kids’ and YA authors, and more!
  • CMA Resources: CMA is a nonprofit organization comprised of professionals who are committed to creating and distributing thoughtful, entertaining media to children.
  • Common Sense Media: Rates movies, TV shows, books, and more so parents can feel good about the entertainment choices they make for their kids. They offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based ratings and reviews.
  • EDTech Magazine: Exploring the major technology and education issues of today.
  • Joan Ganz Cooney Center Publications + Blog: The Joan Ganz Cooney Center is an independent research and innovation lab that focuses on the challenges of educating children in a rapidly changing media landscape. The blog and publications sections of this site provide great insights on how digital media can help children learn. 
  • KidLit411: One of the best sites for resources on writing kids books! 
  • Kidscreen: The leading international trade publication serving the informational needs and interests of kids entertainment professionals.
  • SCBWI Blog: The official blog of SCBWI – the only professional organization specifically for individuals who write and illustrate for children and young adults.
  • The Toy Insider: The most up-to-date insight on toys and children’s entertainment.

Organizations & Groups → Connect with other people in the industry!

  • ASIFA: Promotes and encourages the art and craft of animation.
  • Black N’ Animated: A community-oriented organization committed to the growth and empowerment of Black students and professionals in the animation industry.
  • Children and Media Professionals Facebook Group: A joint effort of Dubit Limited and the American Center for Children and Media. It’s designed for thoughtful and respectful sharing of news, data, opinions, experience and expertise regarding children’s media policy, research, creative and business developments.
  • Children’s Media Association: The nonprofit community that connects the dots across all corners of the children’s industry. 
  • LatinX in Animation: a Signature Program of the Latino Film Institute. LXiA focuses on empowering Latinx and diverse professionals in the Animation, VFX, and Gaming industries.
  • NYWIFT: New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) advocates for equality in the moving image industry and supports women in every stage of their careers. 
  • Rise Up Animation: In an effort to support all POC in the animation industry, Rise Up offers free portfolio feedback. Click the link below to register!
  • SCBWI: The international professional organization for authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults.
  • We Need Diverse Books: A non-profit and a grassroots organization of children’s book lovers that advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.
  • Women in Animation: Organization dedicated to advancing women in the field of animation.
  • Women in Film: Advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. 

Mentorship & Development Programs → Get guidance and support to help you grow!

  • BWA Bootcamp: One-day bootcamp offered by Black Women Animate.
  • CMA Mentorship Program: Through this offering, CMA hopes to foster greater connection and opportunity within its membership community as well as in the larger children’s media industry, especially during these times and into the future. Currently developing 2021 round.
  • Gimlet Podcast Mentorship: Gimlet is providing free mentorship for BIPOC podcast creators.
  • Next Wave Mentorship Program: A three-month initiative designed to connect post-secondary animation students preparing to graduate with experienced mentors who can help guide their successful entry into the kids entertainment industry.
  • NYWIFT Intern/Mentor Program: The New York Women in Film & Television Intern/Mentor Program provides a rare opportunity for people with film/communications degrees and those with entry-level knowledge of the film industry to interact with professionals in the industry and to gain experience under the guidance of NYWIFT members who agree to serve as their mentors.
  • TAP: NYC’s first non-profit animation studio led by industry professionals mentoring a diverse group of young artists from all 5 boroughs.
  • Women in Animation Mentorship Program: Offers both mentor circles and one on one mentorship.

Fellowships & Trainee Programs:

  • Blue Sky Studios Acorn Academy: Blue Sky Studios’ Acorn Academy has three programs for current students and recent graduates – the Art & Production Internship, Technical Internship, and the Artist Trainee Program. Blue Sky’s mentors guide students and recent graduates through fun, exciting, and educationally-packed programs to hone in on their skills and apply them in a supportive and professional environment. 
  • CNA Academy: Cartoon Network Studio has developed a 12-week, full-time, in-house storyboard trainee program. This program is designed to help train artists seeking to storyboard specifically for television.
  • Impact: The Impact content accelerator program aims to cultivate and empower creative storytellers and bring the interests of creators and producers into alignment.
  • MPAC Screenwriting Labs: In an effort to discover and nurture talented writers with unique voices and diverse backgrounds, MPAC’s Hollywood Bureau is partnering with major entertainment studios/production companies to develop a series of day-long labs in Los Angeles designed to advance Muslim screenwriters in their careers.
  • Netflix Animation Art Program: The Program will provide an opportunity for participants to hone their craft with the mentorship of some of the Animation industries’ most talented artists. You’ll be welcomed into the Global Animation Community, make connections, get the experience you need, and if all goes to plan, this may lead to a job offer on one of our productions.
  • Nickelodeon Artist Program: We offer aspiring artists, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, the opportunity to hone their artistic skills while working on our 2D and CG animated television shows. We seek out talented designers, painters, and story artists with unique and/or under-represented voices.
  • Nickelodeon Writing Program: While in the Program, writers meet our series creators, work in writers’ rooms, and receive hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas in both live-action and animated television. Basically, they write a lot and do cool things, all while being provided a salary!
  • NYWIFT Writers’ Lab: The Writers Lab selects 12 promising writers each year, from a competitive pool of submissions, to work with accomplished women mentors from the film industry. 
  • Sesame Workshop Writer’s Room: Emerging storytellers who are selected to join the Writers’ Room will receive hands-on writing experience guided by Sesame Street veterans and other media industry leaders. 
  • The Highlights Foundation Diversity Fellowship in Children’s Literature: The Highlights Foundation Diversity Fellowship in Children’s Literature is a 24-month professional development and mentorship program for People of Color and Indigenous authors or illustrators who are actively pursuing publication within the children’s publishing industry.
  • Universal Animation Writers Program: The Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (UFEG) animation writing program for both film and television identifies and develops an inclusive pool of talent with unique points of view that build upon UFEG’s commitment to telling stories and creating narratives that appeal to and reflect the vast diversity of our audiences. 
  • Universal Composers Program: The Composers Initiative seeks to find artists from both traditional and unconventional backgrounds that possess unique, global perspectives they can translate into distinctive musical expressions. 
  • Walt Disney Television Writing Fellowship: For over 25 years, the Walt Disney Television Writing Program has been lauded as one of the most successful writer programs in the entertainment industry. The one-year program is the only program of its kind designed under terms approved by the Writers Guild of America.

Job Boards:

Events/Workshops/Professional Development: 

This list is a living document – if we missed anything you think would be helpful for anyone getting started in kids media, please share with us at info@childrensmediaassociation.org!

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