Mike Gauyo is a TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA. Originally born in Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently writes on HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE with Issa Rae. Mike also founded The Black Boy Writes Mentorship Initiative, a mentorship program for black men who are looking to break into TV writing. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings. Full Bio »
The writers’ room is the beating heart of any scripted television show and the place where writers find their footing and voice within this world. Being a successful writer in the world of television is only possible if you’re successful in a writers’ room setting, and as it turns out, you need more than just writing chops to shine in this context. Pitching ideas, working and getting along with fellow writers, story editors, and showrunners, overall presentation and how you hold yourself—all of this plays a role in how well you do in a writers’ room and how you can build your career as a TV writer and producer. For these reasons, it’s critical to understand how writers’ rooms work and how to best to perform.
As it turns out, not all writers’ rooms are built equally. Rules and expectations change depending on the genre of the show, the network or platform, who the showrunner is, and how many writers there are. As a result, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation, and writers who might fit in well at a episodic network drama room might have to adjust if they are later staffed in, say, a comedy room for a streamer. That said, there are still strategies, tools, and things you can understand to better break into a room, fit in, and rise through the ranks. Let’s take a closer look.
Mike Gauyo is an accomplished TV writer who has most notably written on Netflix’s hit series GINNY & GEORGIA which recently received a second season order. Originally born in Port Au Prince, Haiti, Mike broke into Hollywood as a production assistant on reality shows like AMERICAN IDOL and SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE until being discovered by Issa Rae who staffed him as a writer on her fiction podcast FRUIT. Mike entered the world of TV writers’ rooms serving as a writers’ assistant on the TNT show CLAWS and currently serves as Story Editor on the final season of HBO’s comedy hit INSECURE. Mike is also developing his own content and at the top of 2021 launched a mentorship program for pre-WGA Black writers, called the Black Boy Writes & Black Girl Writes Mentorship Initiative. Mike’s varied background in TV writing has allowed him to experience many different writers’ rooms and has given him a keen sense on how to best write and perform in these settings.
Mike will break down how different TV writers’ room work, and how you can best break in and interact in these settings to build your own TV writing career. He’ll lay out the different types of writers’ rooms and go through the general hierarchy of any room, from assistants to showrunner. He’ll offer advice and strategies on how you can best break into a writers’ room in the first place and then explain how to work your way up once you’re in, including getting promotions and finding opportunities for set or production experience. He’ll finally teach you what good etiquette in a room is, how to form relationships, pitch and effectively work with everyone else in the room.
Whether you're currently in a writers' room looking to advance or move to a different show, or a writer looking for your first television experience, Mike will offer the knowledge, strategies, and perspective to help you take the next step you're looking for.
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
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Anyone who has ever tried to produce and cast a feature film is aware of the quagmire that attaching “A” List level talent represents. On one hand, you need the star power of a “name” actor in order to acquire funding and on the other hand you need the money in order to acquire the name talent. It's enough to drive even the most seasoned filmmakers crazy. Don't worry, there are proven strategies to solving this puzzle and assuring that your project is top of mind for managers, agents, and their talent. The reason why so many first and second time producers, writers and directors find themselves in this situation is simple. In most cases, they are attempting to approach “A” List celebrity talent to their film much too soon with the hopes of using that “name” to attract investors; a strategy that rarely works. The reality of the situation is that "A" List talent and the representatives get dozens of offers a month. And with more and more name actors working in television, streaming series, limited series and now even digital series (hello, Quibi!), the competition is even higher. But you CAN compete and still attach "A" List talent to your project even if you don't have all your funds raised. Franco Sama has produced over 25 profitable independent films ranging from micro-budget to films up to $5MM. Franco is considered a pioneer in the world of film financing and casting. He speaks all over the world on the subject and has mentored thousands of filmmakers and producers on how to attach the best talent to their independent features. Just some of the actors Franco has cast in his films include: Gary Oldman (Oscar Winner, Darkest Hour, Oscar Nominee, Dark Knight) Christine Lahti (Oscar Winner) Christian Slater (Golden Globe Winner) Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) Chris Klein (American Pie) David Arquette (Scream) Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill) Dane Cook (Comedian) Franco has also been a consulting producer on many films with many more in active development. Many top producers in the game turn to Franco to get their films off the ground. And now he's bringing his over 2 decades of knowledge exclusively to the Stage 32 community. Franco will teach you everything you need to know about attaching top talent to your film including a bullet proof method for ensuring that managers and agents not only put your script in the hands of "A" List talent, but that they read the material! He will show you how to make sure your script is attractive to "A" List talent. He will teach you how to turn a Letter of Intent into a Letter of Commitment. He will instruct you as to the proper timing to make your offer, so you assure that everything is in order and that you're in a position to answer all questions. He will dissect a physical offer so you know exactly what you should be presenting. He will discuss pay and play offers, deferred payments, using credits as currency and back end point deals and how you can identify which of these offers and strategies to deploy. He will go over proper etiquette and how to make sure everyone is happy so that you win the trust of the gatekeepers assuring you can return to the same managers and agents again and again. Franco will take away the fear, anxiety, and, most of all, doubt, that comes with the desire to attach name talent to your project. You will learn all the proper strategies and methods to assure success. "I had the pleasure of seeing Franco speak live at one of Stage 32's live education events. He was so inspiring, so confident and so willing to help, this webinar became an instant signup. Even with my high expectations, I was floored by the wealth of information and the explanation of the strategies within. My fear, and let's face it, my insecurity of approaching talent was crippling. Not any more. I've put in 2 offers on 2 different features this morning and I'm already lining up my next move. Can't wait for the next one, Franco! And thank you, Stage 32!" - Pamela R. "One word - Invaluable." - Larry S. "This was a stunning presentation. One of the best yet." - Antonio H. "I have seen the light and I am ready to make offers. Try and stop me." - Lydia W. "Empowering. I'm going to watch it a 2nd and 3rd time just to make sure I got it all down. Then, I'm working the phones. Great job, Franco and Stage 32." - Reese K.
Ask any executive where most screenplays go wrong, and they'll tell you it's in the second act. That's because many screenwriters type FADE IN knowing their opening (Act I) and closing (Act III) inside out, but haven't thought through how to bridge the gap (Act II). Struggling to nail the second act is more common than you might think. After all, how many times have you watched a film and thought that it dragged in the middle? Most writers will agree that the second act is the hardest to nail and usually starts out feeling way too short or way too long. But it’s for this reason that the second act is where you should be spending a lot of your time to ensuring you’re getting it right. Introducing a great concept and fantastic, deeply drawn characters is, of course, a staple of Act I, but the second act is where the heart of the narrative happens and where momentum must be found. Your second act must propel you through to the climactic third act. But this is easier said than done. Writing an effective second act requires many drafts, a solid plan or outline, and some tips and tricks to help get you there. Yet this process is crucial. If your second act stalls, anyone reading your material will likely quit right there and then. But if you can make your second act strong, by this fact alone, your script will be head and shoulders above most scripts that are coming down the pipeline and better your chances of your script getting discovered or even produced. Jason Mirch is a feature film, television, branded entertainment, and digital content producer and executive with over 15 years in the industry. Most recently, he produced a 3D animated feature film starring Jacob Tremblay, Christopher Lloyd, Mel Brooks, Kenan Thompson, and Carol Kane. Mirch was the Head of feature and television development at Image Nation, a finance and production company based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. There, he supervised the Image Nation contributions in the development of FLIGHT, THE HELP, THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, CONTAGION and more. Prior to his work at Image Nation, Mirch was Co-Head of Development at Zadan/Meron Productions (CHICAGO, FOOTLOOSE, THE BUCKET LIST) where he was actively involved in developing a slate of feature film projects for New Line, Paramount, Summit Ent., and CBS/Paramount. He also developed and sold television projects and mini-series to CBS, NBC, Fox, ABC, and Lifetime. Jason will will give you an in depth look into how to successfully navigate the structure of your second act. He will explain the common pitfalls and why so many second acts fail. You will learn techniques for crafting dialogue that moves the narrative forward, while exposing their characters’ flaws. You will learn how to carefully order your scenes in such a way that it creates a series of authentic and escalating obstacles for your characters to overcome. He will identify and explain key plot points that typically exist in a well-written second act, and explain how you can use these as guidelines for their own projects. Jason will be citing specific examples from films in several different genres as well as providing you tools to apply to your own writing. Praise for Jason’s Stage 32 Webinar "Jason had so much good information to share, he did it at a breakneck speed. It was hard to digest it all at once. The good news is we can revisit the webinar after the fact." - Michael G. "Plan on listening to it again and again!" - Peggy R. "Jason was great. He answered all questions and presented the information effectively!" - Barbie D.
While the scene will be heavy with exposition, disguise the exposition in dialogue and conflict as much as possible. How does the character make the complex simple? What props does the person use? How does the character who receives the info react?
Think about the classic images of a director—sitting in a canvas chair, making a frame with your fingers and thumbs, yelling ‘action’ or ‘cut’. None of those things could even come up when you’re directing for animation, though. Honesty, the job of an animation television director doesn’t even exist within the public lexicon. If you’re not already directly within the television animation industry, you might not even have a basic sense of what goes into this line of work. Yet the role of an animation director is very real and getting to this level on an animated television show can be rewarding and lucrative. Top animated shows like THE SIMPSONS, BOB’S BURGERS, BOJACK HORSEMAN, PEPPA PIG and RICK AND MORTY succeed because of the top directing talent at the helm. If you’re a writer, an artist, an illustrator, a storyboard artist, a director or just passionate about animated television, there is a path forward to get into this landscape and work towards directing episodes of your dream animated show. But it might help to have a blueprint to get there, understand how the world of animated TV works, how people become directors within this world, and what directors actually do. Veteran director Mike Disa is here to offer you this very opportunity. Mike Disa is the director of 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. Mike Disa has extensive knowledge of countless facets of animated TV and film. Mike will give you the nuts and bolts on the overall landscape and the details of what it takes to direct for animated TV. Mike will begin by discussing what it actually is that a TV animation director does and how it differs from other types of directing. He’ll go over the relationship between storyboarding and directing and one can, but doesn’t necessarily, lead to the other. He’ll discuss the how to be successful, valuable, and noticed while working on animated TV and how that will differ at an indie company compared to a larger studio. Mike will then walk you through the different types of animated TV, including children’s scripted, prime time scripted, anime, and premise-driven unscripted, and how the role and expectations of the director differ from one category to another. Next, Mike will delve into the general TV animation pipeline, the 9 steps you should expect from script to finished product. Mike will discuss the dangers of getting typecast within the animation world and how to navigate this tricky area. He will then walk you through 13 necessary skills you will need to learn and display in order to become a director and what skills might not be as important as you think. Mike will prepare you for the biggest challenges of this line of work and go through 5 common mistakes directors make. He’ll then discuss what sort of pathway there is to creating your own animated show and the way to make a lot of money in this line of work. He’ll finally give some practical advice on how to better succeed within the world of animation, including the benefits of getting an agent and the possibility of switching to live action down the line. Praise for Mike's Webinar "Mike is clear, insightful and conveys ideas and concepts very well. It was an excellent webinar!" -Jon P. "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 webinar was excellent and very well paced. I truly appreciated the honesty and straightforwardness of the presenter. I learned a lot and look forward to the next one." - Jerry M. "Great information, Mike did an awesome job and I will look forward to his next webinar." - Diane M.
Robert McKee returns to Stage 32 with The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters - a rare online teaching appearance exclusive to Stage 32! Since 1984, more than 100,000 students have taken McKee’s courses in various cities around the world and now, exclusively for the 3rd time on Stage 32, Robert McKee is back and better than ever with a Masters of Craft webinar teaching you The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters. McKee’s former students include over 60 Academy Award Winners, 200 Emmy Award Winners, 1,000 Emmy Award Nominees, 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award Winners, 250 WGA Award Nominees, 50 DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award Winners, and 100 DGA Award Nominees. In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar, Robert McKee teaches the principles of character creation and dimension, characterization and the secret to writing complex protagonists, providing you the tools needed to construct compelling characters that will fascinate your audience. Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar and member of the Hollywood Hall of Fame, is the most sought after writing lecturer around the globe. He has dedicated the last 35 years to educating and mentoring screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally. Those who have learned from McKee have called him “the Aristotle of our time” (Quincy Jones, Ed Saxon, Steve Pressfield to name a few) because of his insight into the substance, structure, style, and principles of the grand art of story. Peter Jackson (writer/director THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD) lauds him as “The Guru of Gurus.” For the creatives at Pixar (TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, UP, INSIDE OUT), McKee’s Story Seminar is a rite of passage.