How to Direct for Animated Television

Hosted by Mike Disa (Educator)

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Mike Disa (Educator)

Webinar hosted by: Mike Disa (Educator)

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.

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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.

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It could not have been presented in a more succinct manner. -Marietta K.    

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.    

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

Sorry, this lab is filled. Keep checking back Stage 32 Education for upcoming labs.   Develop An Outline and Pitch Document for Your Animated Television Series in 5 Weeks Netflix Animation Director Will Be Your Mentor via Virtual Classes & One-on-One Meetings! 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 , and KIPO AND THE AGE OF WONDERBEASTS 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. To see the full writing lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn".   PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 10 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 Amanda at edu@stage32.com for more information This lab is limited to 15 people - Sorry this lab is sold out  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.    

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