Michael is a veteran television development executive who also writes for NETFLIX's Rasing Dion and Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. 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 Rick Lefitz’s desk in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked 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. He had a spec pilot, Alien Nation, in development at DarkFire TV, and currently has an animated show in development with Dark Trick Films. 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. 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. Michael’s goal is to keep working in the entertainment industry without becoming jaded. Full Bio »
In the current, competitive 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.
Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter.
In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show.
"Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started."
- Mia L.
"Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years."
- Regina K.
"There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo."
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!
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.
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.
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 this Executive Hour webcast, the Writers' Room welcomes the President of Gidden Media, billion dollar producer & executive Amy Baer! Amy's experience in the entertainment Industry spans major studios, independent financiers, and producing. Collectively, the films she has supervised and/or produced have grossed nearly $2 billion in worldwide box office. Before starting Gidden Media, Baer served as President & CEO of CBS Films, launching the division for CBS Corp. In 2012, Baer raised a 7-figure development fund and launched Gidden Media, a content incubation and production company. Its first film was the romantic drama MARY SHELLEY, starring Elle Fanning. Amy spent the previous 17 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she oversaw such hit films as MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING, Oscar nominated ADAPTATION, S.W.A.T., SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE, and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, which earned Will Smith an Oscar nomination. She also developed the 2011 Oscar-nominated Sony hit MONEYBALL starring Brad Pitt. Amy became Board President of Women in Film in June 2018, stepping into the role at a critical juncture in Hollywood. During this webcast, Amy talks about the changing landscape of development and production in the industry, including what helps get a film made, the genres that she chooses to focus on, stories from developing MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING and other Sony classics, and how writers can gain momentum in a highly competitive business!
Since filmmaking was invented, it has been used to capture real life and the stories within it. From the first documentary films like NANOOK OF THE NORTH through classics like GREY GARDENS and THE THIN BLUE LINE to recent hits like MY OCTOPUS TEACHER, THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS, and CRIP CAMP, documentaries have held an important role in the film landscape. They've uncovered otherwise unheard stories and uncelebrated heroes, defined cultures and generations, and affected global change, all while entertaining audiences and giving careers to filmmakers and truth-tellers. Yet the craft behind putting projects like this together is rarely examined. For those hoping to create documentary films of their own, there are important steps, techniques and an overall understanding necessary in order to properly plan, execute and release your non-fiction project. While studying successful documentaries, you will find there is a lot more that goes into putting one together than simply finding an interesting subject and pointing a camera at it. Documentary filmmaking requires a strong sense of story, pacing, and voice. But beyond that it also requires you to understand how to gain access in the first place, how to put together the right team and equipment, how to legally protect yourself, how to actually get your film out there once it's complete and a lot more. So how do successful documentarians create their films from start to finish? What are traps along the way you can avoid? And how do you ultimately get your film watched? Lisa Vangellow is an independent producer and director currently in post-production on her untitled documentary feature on the multi-faceted actor James Franco. She has a slate of projects she is independently producing that focuses on TV series, doc-series, based on a true story series and features, and comedy series and features. Lisa recently left Arsenal film after 5 years as Vice President of Development and Production, where she worked on projects including Push, Che: Part 2, and Let Me In. Arsenal is a feature film production company that has worked on projects including Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache, Reasonable Doubt, and The Way Back. Lisa was invited to be one of five filmmakers to participate in the Tribeca Film Institute Documentary StoryLab for the Franco Doc where she workshopped her project along with the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The Wolfpack and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Weiner. Over the course of three sessions, Lisa will offer her experience from the trenches to help filmmakers master the nuts and bolts of documentary film production and share step by step instruction on how you can produce a commercially viable film from idea to post-production. First, she’ll focus on the selection of subject matter and how to gauge its commercial viability. Lisa will take you through pre-production for a documentary film hitting on areas such as how to create a budget, hire your crew, get financing and explaining why you may want a lawyer to handle the nitty gritty. From there you’ll get an overview of different documentary styles and insight on how to create your story through the use of specific examples. Finally, Lisa will explain how to survive the post-production of your film to bring the entire project together and discuss your options for distribution. You will leave with an overall understanding of the documentary filmmaking process, an idea of what makes a good documentary, and how to execute these lessons in the real world. Even if you have little to no experience or if you have narrative film experience and are looking to try documentaries, Lisa will guide you towards the goal of completing a documentary film. PLUS! YOU WILL RECEIVE THESE DOWNLOADS: Budget Template Notice of Filming Template Documentarian Ethical Truths Guide Film Funds Resource "Lisa is honest, raw with truth and very real with her knowledge. I appreciated how candid she was with the entire documentary filmmaking process. She was so incredibly detailed in each and every section. This was by far a master class on documentary filmmaking. Thank you Stage 32 and Lisa." - Tiffany F.
This week Host & Director of Script Services Jason Mirch reads and critiques Write Now submissions written by Writers' Room members. Jason offers insights on how the writers executed the inciting incidents in their projects.