If you've watched Netflix regularly, you are familiar with their top 10 list - and if you watched Netflix in the past few months, you've more than likely noticed that kids TV content like COCOMELON, CARMEN SANDIEGO and HENRY DANGER consistently dominate the platform. The truth is there's never been a better time to get involved in kids' TV, especially since networks and streamers are actively looking for new content. Yet in order to write successfully in this space or find success with your own show, you have to know who you are writing for in order to do it well. When writing for kids, you need to be just as knowledgeable and intentional on your approach as you would with any other audience. Just like adults, there are certain aspects to master on how to craft a good and engaging story that younger audiences will latch on to. When writing for kids, you may feel limited in the elements you can include in the story. However, it’s important to remember that when you are writing for kids, you are really writing for a family experience. Kids often watch television with their parents, therefore, it is important to get an understanding of how to write engaging stories that will appeal to all viewers. In order to do this, you need to know what kids are looking for, and how your story aligns with the market’s demand. You not only need to have a compelling story that connects but the tools to pitch and sell your story to producers to get them interested in bringing your project to life. We have the tools and strategies to help you venture across this bridge. Kirill Baru is a sitcom writer and executive producer who’s staffed on and sold a variety of live-action and animated comedy shows and has written in the adult space, where he’s produced series like Freeform’s BABY DADDY and the critically acclaimed animated show DAN VS. on the HUB. He’s also written and produced several series in the kids space, from Disney’s SYDNEY TO THE MAX to Cartoon Network’s MAD: THE ANIMATED SERIES. When Kirill isn’t staffing on shows, he’s developing projects with networks such as Disney and Netflix. He attributes his career to writing comedy that finds a way to have a lot of edge without ever losing any of its heart. Kirill will provide you with a wealth of knowledge and resources on how to successfully craft your TV series for Kids. Kirill will give you an overview of Kids Comedy series and where your series fits in today’s market and discuss some unforeseen obstacles you may face. He will also give you tips on writing for Kids TV such as what kids are drawn to, how not to talk down to them, the difference between Nickelodeon and Disney, how to use POV to your advantage and much more. In addition, Kirill will also teach important aspects of pitching and selling your Kids TV - what makes it different from pitching adult TV, how to create something that kids have never seen before but that is familiar, and the power of co-viewing. Once you have completed this webinar, you will feel much more confident about writing and packaging your Kids TV series and making it market ready. Kirill will walk you through the pitch document he created for his show EAGLETON ESTATES that he successfully sold to Netflix Kids and provide you with homework of what your next steps should be to sell your own project.
All actors want representation. It’s often the first step actors take in their careers. After all, agents and managers are the ones that are connected to the industry. They know who is casting and where the auditions are, and they’re positioned to help you succeed—at least in theory. Many reps are incredible allies and partners for actors and transform careers for the better, but not all are created equal. Some reps unfortunately don’t carry their weight and fail to champion a client—sometimes they’re not as connected and in-the-know as they suggest, sometimes they might not be as invested in you as they should be. It can be common for actors in this position to blame themselves for lack of opportunities, even if the fault lies out of their control. But having a bad rep doesn’t mean you’re untalented and it doesn’t mean you can’t make it in the industry; it just means it’s time to recognize where the problem lies and to take back your own power. And, if you've decided to go without a rep, it's important to know that you have the power to move the needle on your career. Many actors will sign with an agent or manager immediately because they feel it is better to be represented than have no rep at all. However, it’s important to make sure you and your rep have the same goals for your career and that you both will do what needs to be done to get those goals accomplished. If that’s not in the cards, it’s time to make a change. Every actor should first and foremost consider themselves their own representative—managers and agents will inevitably come and go throughout your career, but you will always need to be your best advocate. It’s therefore critical to understand, as your own representative, when the people in your corner are really in your corner, and when perhaps there is more you can do as an actor to find more success. When making these difficult decisions, remember that an actor’s world doesn’t start and stop with their rep; there is so much you can do before signing, after, and in between. It’s time to understand how to take control of your own career and hold both yourself and your representative accountable (if you have one). Elizabeth Guest is an actor, writer, director and producer based in Los Angeles and has appeared on Netflix's REAL ROB, the Emmy-winning CALIFORNICATION, NBC'S A.P. BIO, CBS's THE MENTALIST and more. She attended USC's School of Cinematic Arts and has spent the past few years writing and performing her own material. She has put up numerous plays at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, one of which, called NICE GIRLS, was eventually turned into a digital series by Funny or Die. She also wrote/directed/produced and starred in the digital series GUEST APPEARANCES which won the Best Scripted Digital Series Jury Award at Austin Film Festival and the Best Short Form Jury Award at the Nashville Film Festival. She was named by Moviemaker Magazine as one of the "25 Screenwriters to Watch." Season one and season two of GUEST APPEARANCES will soon be streaming on FICTO. She has two feature films that are currently in post production. Elizabeth is a big believer in creating her own opportunities and is ready to inspire actors in the Stage 32 community to do the same. Elizabeth will draw from her own experience to teach you how to find your own power as an actor and how to know when to leave a rep that isn’t doing their job. She’ll begin by going over the roles and expectations of both managers and agents, what the differences are between the two, what an ideal agent and manager look like, and what a beneficial relationship between a rep and an actor should feel like. She’ll also discuss the separation of responsibilities that are standard between reps and actors. She’ll then talk about what to how to know when your rep isn’t doing their job. She’ll give you 6 red flags to keep a lookout for with your rep to determine if they might not be holding their end of the bargain. She’ll also share five things you should be asking yourself as a self check-in to make sure you’re doing all you can before blaming your rep. Elizabeth will teach you strategies you should try with your rep to repair the relationship and will give you tips on when to know it’s finally time to leave. Next, she will discuss the proper way to end your relationship with a manager and how to understand the legal aspects to avoid complications. Elizabeth will give you the tools and wherewithal to move forward with your career after leaving your manager or agent, including creating your own opportunities and finding ways to get yourself discovered without outside help. Finally, Elizabeth will explain what it means to take back your own power, how to craft the career you want and focus on the work to achieve your goals independently. It’s so important for actors in this industry to feel empowered and know their worth, and Elizabeth will give you the tools to do just that. Praise for Elizabeth's Stage 32 Webinar "Liz was informative and inspirational! Great ideas about content creation!" -Bill H. "Elizabeth is terrific, and inspiring. Plus she is experienced and knowledgeable" -Dede R.
Skydance Animation Director of Talent Acquisition Shares the Secrets of How Artists and Animators Get Hired Comes with a Case Study of a REAL Artist Portfolio that Got the Artist Hired! A lot of students and artists who complete prestigious academic programs with degrees in Film, Animation, Digital Media, and similar fields, emerge from their institutions with incredible craftsmanship and no clue what to do next in terms of seeking work. That’s okay! You weren’t out sick the day they taught it; they didn’t teach it at all. The one step in career development that most academic institutions fail to address is the methodology of how to seek work and attain it. But there IS a methodology, and if you’re interested in applying your art and animation skills to film and television, understanding this methodology is critical to get your foot in the door. Submitting your application to an online job posting feels like you’re tossing your resume and portfolio link into a black hole. You know the competition is steep and the number of applicants is daunting. Standing out, getting your submission seen amidst the fray, and landing an interview – let alone getting hired! – feels like a luck of the draw. But it doesn’t have to be like that. There are sequential steps you can be taking to improve your chances of getting noticed, getting interviewed, and getting hired. How exactly can you stand out amongst the crowd? What art should you be including in your portfolio? And what are the biggest mistakes applicants make that you can avoid from the get go? Ariel Goldberg is an artist and animator who now serves as Director of Talent Acquisition for Skydance Animation, working to grow the new high-profile studio into a major player in both feature and episodic animation. Earlier in his career, Ariel worked as a Senior Concept Artist at Zynga, designing costumes and characters for social games FarmVille and CastleVille. He later joined the recruitment team at Disney Interactive and was then asked by Nickelodeon to oversee Talent Acquisition for its animated productions. At Nickelodeon, Ariel developed a staffing pipeline for the hiring of designers, storyboard artists, directors, production assistants, and script coordinators, among other positions. With his background, Ariel has seen it from both sides – as the artist trying to break in AND as the recruiter determining who makes the cut and has a deep understanding of how artists can break through and find success. Ariel will use his recruiting expertise to lay out how you can find art and animation opportunities in film and television and improve your chances of getting noticed, getting interviewed, and getting hired. He’ll break down what the animation pipeline in film and TV looks like, outlining the different steps and how it differs between TV and features. He’ll also talk about the main artist roles throughout the process and what the career trajectories look like. Ariel will give you tips on networking and finding your in as well as looking for opportunities and listings and how best to reach out to companies and recruiters that are hiring. Next Ariel will dive deep into putting together an effective portfolio and what it should look like. He will also teach you what an effective artist’s resume should contain and how to nail the job interview. He’ll finally explain the most common mistakes and misconceptions he has seen when trying to break in. Ariel will even show a REAL artist’s portfolio that helped get the candidate hired and explain why the portfolio earned him the job. Finding opportunities as an artist is hard work, but Ariel will show you how to pursue your career the right way and achieve your creative and professional goals.
Jason Mirch interviews Alexia Melocchi, a producer and film executive with more than more than 25 films and series credits to her name! With more than twenty years in the industry, Alexia has worked in nearly every aspect of the entertainment industry. Working at Little Studio Films since 2000, Alexia serves as Partner and Producer, involved in all aspects of company operations, including distribution and co-production deals, managing production activities, and film and television marketing. Little Studio Films, created by Alexia and Alexandra Yacovlef, is a multilingual boutique consulting, distribution and production company with an extensive background in all areas of the Entertainment Business. It provides services to a variety of clients including producers, production companies, authors, screenwriters, directors, international distributors and Wall Street Companies.During the webcast, Alexia and Jason discuss her career, the state of the global markets, what types of scripts writers should be in the current market, how to find a producer and if the "dollar option" is really a good idea.
Animation in both film and television has found increased popularity in recent years. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work of animated films and television to be completed from home or while socially distanced, the industry has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. As a result, this is a prime and exciting time to take your first steps into this world and find your space within it. The tools you need to succeed in animation are quite unique, but once honed, they can offer you a long and fulfilling creative career. Many are surprised by just how different the world of animation is to its live action counterpart, both in television and film. Animation plays by different rules, different hierarchies, different schedules, different expectations, different everything. That’s why approaching a career in animation the way you’d approach one in another field of the entertainment industry just won’t work. To find your place in animation and build a long-lasting career, you first need to understand how the business works and where you can best fit in. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who directed on shows like the hit Netflix series PARADISE PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years. Mike found success working with studios such as Dreamworks, Disney, Warner Bros., Paramount, and many others. Over a fascinating career, Mike has worked with some of the greatest and most infamous people in Hollywood including Steven Spielberg, Eric Goldberg, Ralph Bakshi, Glenn Close, Steve Oedekerk, David Tennant, Amy Poehler, Adam Sandler, Jeffery Katzenberg and Roy Disney. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike is deeply entrenched in the world of animation and knows better than most what it takes to build a career in this industry Mike will walk you through what the animation industry looks today, both in film and television, and teach you how best to find your place within it. He will begin with animated TV and go over its financial models of production. He’ll explain what the animated TV industry looks like on broadcast, cable and streamers and go through the rating system widely used. Mike will also explain the types of animated shows currently being made and how best you can place your own show. He will also discuss representation, why you need it and how to get it. Mike will then move on to animated features and explain the financial models here, for studio films, indies, and what the “Bluth Bubble” is. He’ll also discuss domestic vs. international animation, incorporating toys and merchandise, and the balance between art and commerce. Finally Mike will explain how to find your own place in the future of animation. The world of animation might be an anomaly compared to the rest of Hollywood, but Mike will give you the understanding to walk in with your eyes open and find success. Praise for Mike's Previous Stage 32 Webinars Mike’s knowledge is sound and extensive. His vision for what’s happening now and what we are to expect in the future is brilliant. I could listen to him forever. -Jane D. "Mike Disa was amazingly generous with his time and information. And he was real. It doesn't get better than that. I'll be able to apply his insights and the information he shared immediately. I'm so glad I decided to participate." - Elizabeth A. "The stories and ideas and descriptions were excellent. Straight talk from a true professional." - Don S. I loved the wealth of content and Mike's humor. -Prema R.
If you’re an aspiring writer, a good literary manager is often a vital ingredient for your success and continuing career. They’re with you on every step of your journey. They give you notes on your projects, help you strategize and prioritize, keep you motivated, and get you in front of execs, producers, and other players to get that next job. It’s a crucial and ongoing relationship that can make or break your career. The manager/client relationship is an intimate and important one that should be based on trust and communication, as well as on personalities. Because of this, it’s worth taking the time to think about what kind of working relationship you want to have with your rep. Managers and by extension management companies have different strengths and approaches to working with clients. From the bigger players like Anonymous Content, 3 Arts and Circle of Confusion, to the more boutique companies like Bellevue Productions, MXN Entertainment, and Lit Entertainment, each manager or management company has a different working philosophy and mandate for building a client’s career—from development to career strategy to producing policies to staffing and more. Understanding these differences and knowing what to be aware of and what questions to ask when looking for representation is essential. Kate Sharp is a producer and literary manager at Bellevue Productions. Prior to joining Bellevue, Kate was the VP of Development and Production at Occupant Entertainment, producing short-form content for Showtime, MTV, Verizon, Facebook, and U2, and was an Executive Producer on the Hulu original, Emmy-nominated TV series BEHIND THE MASK. Her film credits include PEEP WORLD, BETTER LIVING THROUGH CHEMISTRY, MADAME BOVARY and THE HALLOW. Kate is currently producing THE BURNING SEASON (recipient of a Film Independent Producing Fellowship, a 2016 Tribeca Sloan grant, a 2018 Fast Track Sloan grant, a 2015 Athena List winner and on the 2016 Black List), as well as AT RISK (recipient of a Film Independent Writing Fellowship and on the 2018 Black List). Kate’s extensive experience as a manager, producer, and executive of projects big and small has made her an expert on representation, and she’s excited to share her expertise exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Kate will start with the basics of the management landscape, describing the role of a literary manager and illustrating what a good manager/client relationship could look like. She’ll go over the different approaches managers have when working with clients and teach you the major players and the different types of management companies, including the larger companies, and the smaller more boutique ones. She’ll then delve into how a writer should pick a manger by helping you understand what personal needs and wants you should consider when looking, what questions you should ask during the interview process, and what red flags you should be aware of when meeting with potential managers. Next, Kate will go over the relationship between managing and producing and what goes into a manager producing your project. She’ll talk about what you should consider when talking to your manager about serving as a producer. Finally Kate will delve into the ins and outs of a beneficial manager/client relationship, including how to get the ball rolling once you sign, how to work well with them day-to-day, week-to-week, and what expectations you should both have for each other. Kate will leave you with an understanding of the literary representation landscape and a clear idea of what to consider and what questions to ask when finding your own manager. Praise for Kate's Stage 32 Webinar "Kate was fantastic, clear and succinct about what she's looking for, what she's not looking for and a general overview of what managers do." -Gail B. " Kate Sharp was incredible. She laid out the road map for where a screenwriter goes after completing screenplays. She made it clear on what to look for in a manager and how it differs from having an agent. She's a great instructor, and also looks like a very special person to have as a manager, who loves what she does and would be a great partner for a writer! Thank you for sharing her gifts with us!" -Ricki L. "The information was straightforward and practical. I made loads of notes to go back over. Thanks!" -Gillian R. "BRAVO, KATE!!! She provided a wonderful presentation fueled by stellar "real world" facts and scenarios." -Bill B.