Writing for Animation - Features & TV

Hosted by Mike Disa

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Mike Disa

Webinar hosted by: Mike Disa

Director, Paradise PD at Netflix

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

Exclusive to Stage 32! Netflix animation director Mike Disa teaches writing for animation!

Animation as 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 more.  Writing animation features 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.

To help you on your journey writing for animation we've brought in Director Mike Disa of the Netflix Show Paradise PD to break down in detail what it takes. 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. He'll be going over the overall landscape and the details of what it takes to write for both features and TV.

What You'll Learn

Part 1: Features

  • Format
  • Length
  • Writing to budget
  • Low budget vs Big budget
  • scale/scope
  • writing for demographics and release date
  • CG vs Traditional
  • Foreign vs Domestic drafts
  • Reading vs production drafts
  • Pipeline issues
  • Greenlight scripts
  • Collaboration with story team
  • Writing visually
  • Characters
  • Common mistakes
  • WGA

 

Part 2: TV

  • 3 Types - Pre-school, Children's comedy, "Prime time"
  • Format
  • page count and run length
  • Sample scripts
  • Writing to budget
  • Writing action
  • Page lengths
  • Standards and Practices
  • Staff writing
  • Series Bible
  • Writer’s table
  • Story Editing
  • Show Running
  • Season breakdowns
  • Premises
  • Outlines
  • First drafts
  • Why freelancing sucks
  • How to be valuable to a Story Editor
  • Common mistakes
  • Pitching a show

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!

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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