How To Write A Comedy Pilot Executives Will Want To Read

How To Write A Kick-Ass Comedy Pilot That Will Get Executives’ Attention!
Hosted by Michael Poisson

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Michael Poisson

Webinar hosted by: Michael Poisson

Development Executive & Writer on Netflix's Raising Dion

Michael grew up in Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1990’s NBC sitcom boom and WB teen dramedy craze, which should explain his obsession with comedic angst. He attended Emerson College in Boston where he majored in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Television. There he wrote and executive produced the college’s only multi-camera sitcom, The Daily Grind, which was nominated for three EVVY Awards. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in December of 2007 and moved to Los Angeles where he was met with the Writer’s Guild Strike and a general sense of despair. Michael’s first industry job was at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first male receptionist ever (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to assist an agent in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds' and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He currently works as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he works closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. On the writing side, Michael co-wrote the comedic-musical stage show: ARMAGEDDON: A Night of Laughs and Pleasant Songs, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the LA Fringe Festival in 2011. He had a spec pilot, Alien Nation, in development at DarkFire TV, and currently has an animated show in development. Michael is also a comic book geek and wrote the graphic novel The Arcs which was published by Fanboy Comics and premiered at the Comikaze Expo in November of 2013. He is re-teaming up with artist Matt Jacobs on a second volume, which they hope to release within the year. Michael’s goal is to keep working in the entertainment industry without becoming jaded. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will teach you how to write a kick-ass comedy pilot that will get executives’ attention. This webinar is not only about how to properly execute writing a comedy pilot, but also about how to make it your strongest sample so that it can get noticed!

You will leave the webinar knowing:

  • The 3 most important things Producers/Execs look for in a pilot as they relate to concept, structure and voice.
  • How to properly highlight your unique comedic voice and stuff your script with laughs.
  • How to create a crisp 1-2 sentence pitch that will get executives excited about your idea.
  • How to navigate the competitions and fellowships.
  • How to think from a Producer/Manager/Executives POV and understand what they're looking for so you can apply it to your script.

Michael Poisson is a former Director of Development who's worked for Ryan Reynolds TV production company DarkFire TV, Krysten Ritter's company Silent Machine and CAA and is now a writer on Netflix's Raising Dion. This background gives has given Michael a unique perspective for what kind of script stands out among the hordes on everyone’s “Weekend Read” lists and he is here exclusively with Stage 32 to share that knowledge with you.

What You'll Learn

  • Inspiration – Where to pull ideas from.
    • Source Material – books and articles.
    • Life experiences.
    • Twist on old standards.
    • Genre Mashups.
  • Writing – The 3 most important things Producers/Execs look for in a pilot.
    • Concept – how to build an idea that is big, unique, and memorable.
    • Structure – the importance of beats and Act Breaks.
    • Voice – how to harness your comedic voice within the script.
  • Characters – Populating your world with diverse and hilarious characters.
    • How to make their voices stand out.
    • Giving them active and opposing goals.
    • Keeping them busy during scenes.
  • Jokes.
    • How to stuff your script with laughs.
    • The importance of range in the types of jokes.
    • Having a unity of tone within your jokes.
  • Pitching.
    • Working on getting notices doesn’t stop when the script is done.
    • Creating a compelling logline (1 sentence pitch) that will make people want to read your script!
    • Knowing where your series fits on TV.
    • Getting people to read your script.
  • Navigating the competitions and fellowships.
  • Thinking from the Producer/Manager/Executive’s POV.
    • Learning what kind of projects people are looking to buy and represent.
    • Understanding why producers buy and don’t buy scripts.
    • Understanding why managers/agents decide to represent a writer.

About Your Instructor

Michael grew up in Harrisville, Rhode Island during the 1990’s NBC sitcom boom and WB teen dramedy craze, which should explain his obsession with comedic angst. He attended Emerson College in Boston where he majored in Visual and Media Arts with a concentration in Television. There he wrote and executive produced the college’s only multi-camera sitcom, The Daily Grind, which was nominated for three EVVY Awards. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in December of 2007 and moved to Los Angeles where he was met with the Writer’s Guild Strike and a general sense of despair.

Michael’s first industry job was at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first male receptionist ever (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to assist an agent in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds' and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He currently works as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he works closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks.

On the writing side, Michael co-wrote the comedic-musical stage show: ARMAGEDDON: A Night of Laughs and Pleasant Songs, which enjoyed a sold-out run in the LA Fringe Festival in 2011. He had a spec pilot, Alien Nation, in development at DarkFire TV, and currently has an animated show in development. Michael is also a comic book geek and wrote the graphic novel The Arcs which was published by Fanboy Comics and premiered at the Comikaze Expo in November of 2013. He is re-teaming up with artist Matt Jacobs on a second volume, which they hope to release within the year.

Michael’s goal is to keep working in the entertainment industry without becoming jaded.

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Testimonials

He was amazing -- professional, articulate and knew his subject inside-and-out! – Jan S.

It was very obvious Michael knows [his stuff]. He was very organized and I feel like he answered many questions that I've had for years. Thank you so much. – Betty S.

Michael was sensational; one of the few who can actually DO a webinar and keep an interest. Nice voice inflection and tone; no distracting "um's" and such. Great material; learned a ton! - Geno S.

Very informative and in great detail and explanation, Michael. Time very well spent. – Jean B.

Excellent seminar with relevant information. Great job. – Matthew M.

I really found the examples [he] references on current programs and series very useful. The information was concise and allowed me to visualize my next steps. – Ashanti G.

He was excellent! – Tina F.

Good information, well thought out, organized and easy to follow. Many useful takeaways. Thanks Michael!! – Lesa B.

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Reviews Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5

  • The instruction was clearly given and it both confirmed things I have been taught and also filled in one or two gaps. Overall, useful, thank you.
  • I would like to access my notes from the instructor but cannot.

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