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Mark Simon
Author, Illustrator
Start At The Top
Mark Simon, author
“Paying your dues” is for other people. Why spend years toiling away at low-end jobs when it’s possible to start right at the top? With passion and drive, you can go for what you want and achieve it. Mark Simon has done it… many times. At 12, he had his own line of skateboards. At 14, he was superintendent of a construction company. While studying advertising in college, he drove past two billboards he designed and sold to local companies. With no writing experience, he accidentally sold his first book to a publisher. He went from being an assistant to running a department in three hours. Mark sold his first training program to Keller Williams Realty, now the largest realty company in the world. It took him just 15 minutes to land his dream job with Steven Spielberg. It took him one call and one meeting to work on The Walking Dead. He landed Disney as his first animation client. But with big swings, also comes big misses. He fucked up a deal to work with the director of the SpongeBob SquarePants movie. He screwed up an opportunity with animation gods Hanna-Barbera (creators of The Flintstones, Scooby Doo and many others). There are lessons to be learned from failures. Dozens of stories and photos have been pulled from Mark’s amazing life to prove to you that you can get what you want without “paying your dues”. Mark was inspired to write this book to guide and motivate his college-aged sons. The lessons he gained from each success and each failure are invaluable. He hopes these same stories will inspire you to start at the top.
Amazon review

Honest, entertaining, and insightful, "Start at the Top" is a fantastic read for anyone who likes to hit the ground running, relentlessly chase after dreams, and never accepts anything less than the vision in their head

Mark Simon's collection of stumbles and soars exceptionally encapsulates what it means to be confident, and what it looks like when confidence (and attitudes) is used properly. From construction sites to film sets, Mark Simon has been mastering the art of the "Ultimate Attitude" to propel him straight into the boss' office and into the ideal position for his next handcrafted success story.

I'd recommend the book to anyone in the entertainment industry, anyone who has unhappily been in a job for too long, or anyone whose tired of hearing that things can't be/get done. In this book, through unforgettable experiences and unbelievable occurrences, Mark Simon will teach you how to start, and stay, at the top.

Christopher Bruno

Mark Simon Releases New Book ‘Start at the Top – Stories to Help You Succeed

Author, cartoonist and story artist on productions including ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Woody Woodpecker’ shares dozens of lessons learned from a 30-year career filled with both successes and failures.

By AWN Staff Editor | Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 12:22pm

In 2D, Books, Films, People, Short Films, Television, Writing | ANIMATIONWorld, Headline News | Blogs: The Making of a Dream - An Animation Production Blog | Geographic Region: All



Mark Simon, producer, director, story artist and writer, has released his latest book, “Start at the Top – Stories to Help You Succeed” a collection of dozens of inspirational stories and lessons he’s learned over a career of more than 30 years in the entertainment business.


“Start at the Top” is a book of success stories on how Simon quickly rose to the top of each career he chose, from skateboards to construction, from training, advertising, and writing to the entertainment industry. Stories include landing Disney as his first animation client, along with the lessons he learned from projects spanning his entire career.

But, the book also includes stories on how some of his attempts to jump forward crashed and burned, like when he blew a chance to work with the writer of the SpongeBob SquarePants movie. “The original inspiration for this book was to inspire my twin boys, who are now in college and starting on their own careers,” says Simon.

Simon has produced animation for feature films, TV pilots, commercials and shorts, winning more than 200 international awards. As the co-founder of Sell Your TV Concept Now, Mark has taught thousands of people how to develop, package and pitch their TV properties. Clients include industry first-timers as well as the 2-time Emmy-winning producer of Discovery’s Deadliest Catch, Doug Stanley.

In 2012, Mark won a Prime Time Engineering Emmy for the Storyboard Pro software program as part of the Toon Boom software team.

He is also the author of 10 popular entertainment industry texts, including “Producing Independent 2D Character Animation” and “Storyboards: Motion In Art,” has written for industry magazines such as Cinefex, Film Maker Magazine, Movie Maker Magazine and Animation Today (India), and wrote a regular video blog for Animation World Network, “The Making of a Dream,” which chronicles the making of the animated show, Dream Factory, from concept through production. Click here to check out the 24-episode series. 

You can find out more about Simon and get a copy of “Start at the Top” by visiting his website.  

The Donna Drake Show Lives It up with Mark Simon

Donna Drake interviews Mark Simon about his new inspirational business book, Start At The Top.