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 »
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!
Michael Poisson is currently the Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV, where he works closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Working on the inside of the system, first as a talent agency assistant, then a production company assistant, and currently a director of development has given Michael Poisson 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.
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
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.
Learn directly from Michael Poisson, the former Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV. Michael is also a comedy writer who used his insider knowledge to land a manager, and get two projects in development at TV production companies. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Michael Poisson will guide you through the business side of how to become a working writer in Hollywood. Writing an awesome script is only part of the process for becoming successful in this industry. Having worked on various projects from both the executive side, as well as the writer side of things, Michael has obtained great insight for how to avoid the difficult terrain when meeting and working with producers, studios, and networks. And while the process of finding a manager or agent is daunting, keeping a strong relationship with them so that they’re doing the most for you as their client can be equally difficult. Michael will share with you his insider knowledge to help: keep your writing on track, your meetings fruitful, and your industry contacts strong. If you’ve ever wondered what you should talk about in “general meetings”, how to take notes from friends/producers/execs that you don’t agree with, or how to be a more prolific writer, this webinar is for you!
In the current TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Michael Poisson will talk about the very exciting, sometimes harrowing, process of creating TV Series Bibles. In this webinar Michael will cover everything you need to know to craft your TV series bible, from format, to arc, to how to introduce characters, all the way to how to create a strong closing beat.
Class Space Limited: Maximum 20 Writers August 13, 20, 27 and Sept 10 from 1pm-3pm. Your TV Series Bible is an extremely important, and often overlooked tool for selling your pilot in the industry. It’s a document which explains in detail – who your characters are, what they will be up against, where future conflict will come, and what themes your show will be exploring. It gives studio and network executives confidence that you know what you’re doing, and that the show has the story potential to live on for multiple seasons. The problem is that there isn’t a lot of literature out there detailing how to construct a bible. This Stage 32 Intensive is aimed to give you the information and guidance that you need to write a strong bible that can be used when sending out and selling your pilot script. Each week, your instructor Michael Poisson (Director of Development at Silent Machine Entertainment, Krysten Ritter’s production company that has a first look deal at Universal TV) will be giving a lecture about how to write one section of your series bible, and then you’ll be assigned to write that section for a project of your own. The following week Mike will offer one-on-one skype sessions to discuss your work, give you any notes, and answer any questions that you may have. So, at the end of this Intensive, you will have a strong and well-executed bible that you’ll be able to use as a selling tool for your own TV series. Mike has worked at CAA, two production companies, and as a showrunner’s assistant on a TV series, and at each job he has seen the importance of bibles and how they have been used to get series sold and on the air. As a writer, Mike has also used them in his own writing career, and a well-written bible of helped him to secure his manager, and get multiple production companies interested in his work.
There is a myth in the television industry right now: more channels mean it’s easier to sell a show, right? WRONG! The diversification of television and the dominance of streaming services over linear cable have made it HARDER to sell unscripted programming. Why? Because there are too many places for the audience to go. In order to get a hit, networks have to become specialized and truly define their brand in order to stand out. You can no longer just pitch IDEAS to networks. IDEAS are not STORIES and they’re not SERIES. There is a lot more work (research, interviews, and writing) that has to go into a pitch before you can take it to a network. Bomb a pitch and a network might not let you in the door again. Angela Molloy is one of the original unscripted executives having been in the game since 2001, when it was just getting started. She’s also one of the only executives who has been a network buyer, a production company development executive (seller), and an Executive Producer in the field. In this webinar you’ll learn get an overall sense of the reality landscape and concrete essential tips for how to develop and pitch into it. Sign up today to make sure you don’t get caught with your pants down during a pitch!
Everyone wants to work in a comedy Writers’ Room. I couldn’t tell you why, but I can give you critical information about comedy Writers’ Rooms, how they operate, and how to break into one. When you’re done with this course, you’ll have a fundamental understanding of the room and of the role of Writers’ Assistant, Script Coordinator and Writers’ PA. Why listen to me? I’ve been working in television and film for more than a decade, and I’ve spent the last third of that decade in comedy writers’ offices. I currently work alongside the writers of television’s best comedy - Veep, and I’d love to share what I’ve learned to help you take the next step in your career.
Part 1 – THE SET UP ELEMENTS A strong lead Our girl! Creating a compelling, three-dimensional character we want to spend two hours with. The love interest. Someone adorable and smart and hot – and perfect (but only for our leading lady – or lass). The best friend. A cooky, quirky, amazing foil (for an amazing character actress). A great hook. Coming up with an amazing logline, title, and concept Inherent conflict What’s the driving force of the story? How to come up with conflict so good that scenes write themselves? Part 2 – THE PLOT ELEMENTS and THE CRUCIAL ELEMENT The cute "meet". How to craft a perfect moment. The “Benny and the Jets” Moment. Stolen from 27 DRESSES, that moment when we see our leads bond. The moment after which there’s no turning back. The break apart Anxiety, tears, snot. Will they end up together or won’t they? How to make this moment feel real and earned? The epic moment The big kiss. The wedding. The perfect moment. A FRESH VOICE The crucial element. How to discover your own voice – and then use it!