How to Direct for Animated Television

Hosted by Mike Disa

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Mike Disa

Webinar hosted by: Mike Disa

Director, Paradise PD at Disney/Entertainment Squad/NDA development deals

Mike Disa is currently the director of the Netflix series Paradise PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years.   Mike came to California twenty-five years ago from Chicago to break into the animation industry. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success at studios such as Dreamworks, Disney Feature, Warner Brothers, 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.   Some of Mike's credits include: Producer and writer on Wacky Races (Warner Bros. Animation) Writer on Space Dogs and Space Dogs 2 (Epic Pictures) Consulting producer for The Simpsons interactive hologram Director and co-writer of Postman Pat (Dreamworks) Director of Deadspace Aftermath (Starz) Director of Dante's Inferno (Starz) Director of Hoodwinked Too Director of The Haunted Adventure of El Super Beasto (Starz) Director/Writer of The Origin of Stitch (Disneytoons Studios) Director of Bewitched, The Movie (The Picture Mill) Mike has worked on over 16 feature films, developed/written two television series, and directed 5 animated feature films. Presently directing for Netflix, Mike has written, produced, or directed literally hundreds of hours of film and television. But because of his long struggle to break into film, Mike is also a passionate teacher dedicated to sharing his hard-earned knowledge about the workings of the entertainment industry with others driven to become filmmakers. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

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 DisneyMike 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.

What You'll Learn

  • Definition of a TV Animation Director and How it Differs from Other Types of Directing
  • The Relationship between Directing and Storyboarding
  • 13 Necessary Skills You Will Need As an Animated TV Director
    • And unnecessary skills you don’t need to worry about aka. “Nobody Cares If You Can Do That”
  • Pathway to Becoming a TV Director
  • Types of Animated Shows & How Different a Director’s Role is On Each
    • Pre-School
    • Educational
    • Prime Time
    • Children’s Action
    • Children’s Comedy
    • Anime
    • Premise Driven Unscripted
  • Navigating the Pitfalls of Being Typecast within Animated TV
    • Action vs. Comedy
    • Children’s vs. Prime Time
    • Preschool vs. 6 to 13
    • “Girlie” shows
  • The Difference Between Big Studio And Small Studio Directing
  • Style vs. Workmanship
  • Biggest Challenges of Directing for Animated TV
  • 5 Most Common Mistakes of an Animated TV Director
  • How to Make Actually Make a Living in this Field
  • The Shelf Life of a TV Director
  • Why You Should NOT Become a TV Director
  • Is There a Pathway to Creating Your Own Show?
  • Do You Need an Agent?
  • Is it Too Late to Get Into Live Action?
  • Q&A with Mike

About Your Instructor

Mike Disa is currently the director of the Netflix series Paradise PD and has been in the animation industry for over twenty-five years.
 
Mike came to California twenty-five years ago from Chicago to break into the animation industry. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success at studios such as Dreamworks, Disney Feature, Warner Brothers, 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.
 
Some of Mike's credits include:
  • Producer and writer on Wacky Races (Warner Bros. Animation)
  • Writer on Space Dogs and Space Dogs 2 (Epic Pictures)
  • Consulting producer for The Simpsons interactive hologram
  • Director and co-writer of Postman Pat (Dreamworks)
  • Director of Deadspace Aftermath (Starz)
  • Director of Dante's Inferno (Starz)
  • Director of Hoodwinked Too
  • Director of The Haunted Adventure of El Super Beasto (Starz)
  • Director/Writer of The Origin of Stitch (Disneytoons Studios)
  • Director of Bewitched, The Movie (The Picture Mill)

Mike has worked on over 16 feature films, developed/written two television series, and directed 5 animated feature films.

Presently directing for Netflix, Mike has written, produced, or directed literally hundreds of hours of film and television. But because of his long struggle to break into film, Mike is also a passionate teacher dedicated to sharing his hard-earned knowledge about the workings of the entertainment industry with others driven to become filmmakers.

FAQs

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!

Testimonials

"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.

"Really appreciated Mike's enthusiasm!" - Kate D.

"Excellent webinar. I think that I learned more than I expected to about animation writing and how it relates to working in the industry. I had a good time watching this and appreciate how kind everyone was with their time." - Kari H.

"I believe such given information was highly inspirational, utterly legit and true regarding the industry and show business. I've always wanted to learn what it takes to write an idea for an animated series, and how to put it on screen, and this webinar truly answered these vital questions. Conclusively, I would really take these tips into consideration during the writing of my ideas, and would highly recommend them to those who are ambitious to spread their stories world-wide." - Mohammed H.

"Mike was very informative. He was friendly and open very easy to listen to. I learned some valuable lessons.." - Lind J.

"The stories and ideas and descriptions were excellent. Straight talk from a true professional." - Don S.

"This was really helpful. Thank you for examples of scripts to download to read. This was very helpful." - Robin L.

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Animated Pilot Writers' Workshop: Improve Your Pilot Script Line-By-Line with an Accomplished Animation Writer and Director

Only 12 Spots Available Punch Up Your Animation Pilot Script with a Animation Professional and Veteran with 25+ Years of Experience Work and Support Fellow Writers As You All Work Together To Hone Your Scripts   Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite pilot script to present if you want to be noticed, and that means more than a workable first draft. The old adage that writing is rewriting is especially true for animation and comedy scripts that need to be tight, punchy, and effective in every sense. And since television writing is almost always a collaborative process, a necessary step to making your project successful is to bring in different perspectives, different senses of humor, and some expertise to get the script fine-tuned and to the point where it’s truly special. We have just the person to help with this. Mike Disa is an accomplished director, producer, writer, and artist who produced and directed on shows like THE SIMPSONS and 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 animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. Mike will lead an intimate and valuable writers’ workshop with a small group of students to help rewrite and fine tune each writer’s animation pilot script, line by line. Each session, Mike will focus on 1-2 scripts and work with the group to punch up and improve each. Not only will you receive extended and personalized attention from an expert in the field to improve your own work, but you will also have the opportunity to support other writers with their own projects and learn valuable lessons from the process that you can take back to your own work. Expect to leave this unique program with a much-improved pilot script, a set of tools you can take with you to better improve and rewrite other projects, and a supportive group of like-minded writers from around the world.   Note: Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop   WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 6-session writing lab, you will have a fully re-written and fine tuned animation pilot script Sessions will consist of 2-hour group classes through Zoom Meetings. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you connected, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 12 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an animation veteran and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at h.glaser@stage32.com for more information This lab is limited to 12 people This lab is designed for beginner, intermediate and advanced screenwriters looking to rewrite and improve their already existing 30 minute animated pilot script Because this is a rewrite class, you must already have at least a fully written first draft of a 30-minute animated pilot script in order to participate in this workshop.

How to Start a Career in Animation

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.  

How to Produce, Record and Distribute Your Own Successful Narrative Podcast

There are a lot of reasons why the surge in popularity of podcasts is so exciting right now. It makes that rush hour commute to work much more enjoyable for millions of people every day. It opens up avenues for more stories to be discovered and more storytellers to create. And it’s a format that can be a lot easier and more affordable for independent artists to produce. You don’t need cameras, you don’t need a set; you just need a quiet room and a couple of microphones. And unlike visual media, podcasts provide a format where high concept, traditionally expensive genres like fantasy, action, and science fiction are just as achievable as more contained styles—if you want an alien in your podcast, for instance, you don’t need to invest in CGI; you just need an actor to say “Look! There’s an alien!” The art form of podcasts can be an equalizer in a way film and television have never been. 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What aspects of production should you be investing most of your money in? And once you have a finished product, where do you even put it so people can start listening? Mike Disa is currently the director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD and has been working in the industry, both in television and features, for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success and has worked 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. Always an innovator, Mike recognized the interesting time right now for developing material based off of IP and took it upon himself to adapt his feature script SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN into a 12-part podcast series, which is now produced. Having recently gone through the experience Mike is excited to share his approach and his lessons learned producing his adaptation exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Mike will walk you through everything you need to know to produce your own successful podcast. He’ll begin by discussing pre-production and how to know when your script is podcast-ready. He’ll give you tips on finding and setting up your recording and delve into the audio equipment you’ll need to invest in, including how to find the right microphone that’s also affordable. Mike will also discuss the process of casting, finding the right voice actors for your parts and how to navigate read-throughs and rehearsals. Next Mike will teach you how to actually produce your podcast, including how exactly to record, recording pitfalls you should avoid, and what the directing process looks like. Then he will discuss podcast post-production and how to use your recordings to paint a full audio picture. He’ll tell you which editing software to use and how to find music and sound effects to compliment you project. He’ll also discuss where to take your project for post-effects. Finally, Mike will go over how to distribute your finished podcast. He’ll outline hosting services that are available and how to upload your episodes online. He will give you tips on how to create your own website for the podcast and how to publicize it. He’ll also explain why you don’t want to charge money for the final podcast. Throughout, Mike will illustrate the process by using anecdotes and lessons learned from his own podcast SENTINELS: POINT OF NO RETURN. 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It could not have been presented in a more succinct manner. -Marietta K.    

Make Your Animated Series or Film a Reality by Working With an Overseas Studio

Animation is one of the few types of productions that hasn’t slowed down or halted due to the pandemic. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work of animated films and television to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. With these ongoing changes in animated film and television production and financing, it’s now more important than ever to develop solid relationships to get into animation, and especially with overseas animation studios to successfully produce your own animated project. The truth is you’ll be hard-pressed to find many animated projects that are fully financed and produced in America. In fact, well over half of the work of most animated projects is done overseas, and that number is only rising as the industry continues to change. Working with overseas company is the norm and something that might be necessary if you are working towards producing your own animated project. Yet there’s more to gain in working with companies overseas than simply avoiding being left behind. Working with other countries opens the door for better tax breaks and lower cost and overhead. Going global might be the best step you can take in making your animated project a reality, but it requires a deep understanding of how this pipeline works and how to get your foot in the door. 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. A favorite and fixture among the Stage 32 community, Mike has directed and produced movies and television with over a dozen overseas partners and wants to tell you how it's done. Mike Disa will walk you through the why and how of producing your animated project with an overseas company to best position it for success. He’ll begin by explaining the three basic models of animation production and how each works within a global pipeline. He’ll then explain why you should work with an overseas animation company and will outline both the benefits and negatives of doing this. He’ll then give you tools in how to best start a relationship with an overseas company and explain the difference between an overseas company, an overseas company with American offices and an American company with overseas offices. Next, Mike will explain how financing works with overseas companies and what these companies are looking for in an American partner. He’ll then delve into how the crash of movie theaters has affected the overseas markets and partnerships. Next he will focus on the impact Netflix animation has had on the industry as a whole and address the question “is everything bad Netflix’s fault?” Mike will teach you about how ownerships and participation work when working with overseas animation companies and will delve into why Chinese and Indian money is different than other money. Finally he will spend time explaining the problems Brexit is causing and how you can navigate these issues. Through covering these topics, Mike will give you a thorough blueprint of how to think and work globally and give your animated project success.     Praise for Mike's Stage 32 Webinar    It was really advanced stuff, and great advice. I appreciate that he was willing to stick around as long as he did to answer questions. -Shari E.    I loved the wealth of content and Mike's humor. -Prema R.   "Amazing" - Nilfredith S.   Loved the host and the webinar! 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.      

Stage 32 TV Animation Lab: Build an Outline and Pitch Deck for Your Animated Television Show in 5 Weeks

Sorry, this lab is fully sold out. Keep checking back for upcoming labs and other education! Animated television is currently experiencing a boom like we’ve never seen before. Since it’s possible for the bulk of the work to be completed from home or while socially distanced, animation has been flourishing as more players are turning to this format. New shows like SOLAR OPPOSITES on Hulu, CLOSE ENOUGH on HBO Max, FINAL SPACE on TBS and BLOOD OF ZEUS on Netflix are hugely popular, and this is just the beginning. Scores of upcoming animated shows are in the pipeline and just around the corner. Considering this appetite, it doesn’t look like this trend is fading any time soon. And more interest in animation means there are more opportunities for your own project to get noticed and get picked up. The opportunities may be extra plentiful right now, but you still need to have a dynamite show to present if you want to be noticed. This means a great concept, a fantastic pitch deck, and a knockout pilot script. And all of these elements don’t need to just be good; they all need to lend themselves to the format and industry that is animated TV. But if you can ace all of these elements, you may have just found your way in and the piece of material that will fire you off the launch pad. Let us give you the guidance to make your animated pilot as good as it can be and help you springboard your writing career. 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 animated TV and knows better than most what it takes to get an animated show off the ground. In this lab, you will be working directly with Mike in a virtual class setting and also during one-on-one online sessions to hone your concept and build your pilot outline and pitch deck for a fantastic, market-ready animated pilot. Whether you are interested in creating a “prime time” adult comedy series, action, dramedy, or children’s animation, Mike is here to help you. He will guide you through creating engaging characters, building your world, perfecting your structure, constructing an outline and building your bible or pitch deck to sell your show. If you already have a concept, or even a completed pilot, Mike will use the same tools to help you hone and sharpen your material.   Throughout the course of this exclusive online lab, you will have direct access to Mike as a mentor by email and via video conferencing as you develop your animated series. Students who sign up for this lab with Mike will be eligible to participate in a Level 2 Lab where Mike will continue to mentor you in writing your pilot!   WHAT TO EXPECT By the end of this 5-week writing lab, you will have a polished pilot outline and pitch deck for your animated television series. Sessions will vary between 2-hour group settings and personal one-on-one Zoom meetings with Mike. You will be held accountable to take the lessons from each week and move your work forward. Plus, to keep you motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the writing process. This lab will also come with free access to a previously recorded animation webinar led by Mike Disa for you to watch and use to work on your project. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 15 writers and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with a manager and an expert in the field is an incredibly unique and valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please do book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Harrison at h.glaser@stage32.com for more information This lab is limited to 15 people  This lab is designed for beginner and intermediate screenwriters looking to build a pilot from scratch or expand on an existing idea or polish an existing pilot.    

Writing for Animation - Features & TV

Animation offers screenwriters one of the most flexible mediums for the imagination. Animated stories have been capturing our minds ever since media hit the screen through characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny to what we see today in The Simpsons, American Dad, Bojack Horseman, Rick and Morty, Spider-man, Incredibles and (so many) more.  Writing animation feature or television requires a special skill - not one that can be taught through traditional feature & TV writing resources. The tools you need to succeed in animation are quite unique and once honed can offer you a long career creatively animating the stories in your mind. But, where do you begin? There are all different types of animated writing - including pre-school, children's comedy and adult animation. Further, how do you find your niche? There are many different animation genres (and styles) in features and television today. Is the writing universal for all genres? It takes a seasoned professional to understand the nuances of all types of animated writing and being able to write efficiently for the story and the project. Educating yourself in all aspects of how animation writing works for features and television will assist you greatly in achieving your goal whether it's attracting representation, trying to sell an original concept, pushing an animated feature or TV pilot, or finding work in an television animation writer's room. Mike Disa, director of the highly praised Netflix show Paradise PD has been working in animation for two decades. With no film training or knowledge of the byzantine workings of the entertainment business, he eventually found success at studios such as Dreamworks, Disney Feature, Warner Brothers, 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 will cover everything you need to know about writing animation for features & TV. He'll start with formatting and script length (two aspects surprisingly ignored or misunderstood by most writers). He'll discuss writing low budget vs. high budget and how to write within the scope of each. He will dive into how to write around special effects and other post production implementations. He will discuss reading and production drafts and how to collaborate with your writing and producing teams. He will talk premises, outlines, first draft strategies and how to go about pitching your idea. He will get into writer's room expectations, strategies in working the room, and the steps to take from being a show writer to a showrunner. Mike will use real world examples to show you the entire landscape of writing animated features and TV. And this is just some of what you'll learn!    This is 3 HOURS of comprehensive education from a director of a top animated Netflix show on how to write, sell, and build a career in writing feature AND television animation!   Praise for Mike:   "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.   "Excellent webinar. I think that I learned more than I expected to about animation writing and how it relates to working in the industry. I had a good time watching this and appreciate how kind everyone was with their time." - Kari H.   "Mike was very informative. He was friendly and open very easy to listen to. I learned some valuable lessons.." - Lind J.   "The stories and ideas and descriptions were excellent. Straight talk from a true professional." - Don S.  

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