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 »
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.
Part 1: Features
Part 2: TV
Q&A with Mike!
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!
Taught by Director of Development at Supergravity Pictures, Mike Flavin, who's worked on films such as Sony/CBS's Faster with Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton, and The Enivitable Defeat of Mister & Pete with Jennifer Hudson and Anthony Mackie which was screened at the White House. Hollywood has found itself looking inward at the plummeting returns from the "Blockbuster Months". Why did a relatively "starless" movie like Guardians of the Galaxy print money, while Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow flopped? Why would seemingly well known Intellectual Property like Peabody and Sherman tank while another brand, Lego, do so well? (besides the world's obvious affinity for Chris Pratt!) The answer lies in one confirmed fact about the movie industry: you never, ever know what will be a hit and what won't. BUT, in saying that, there is a way in which you can give your project the absolute best chance of success by looking analytically at successful films from the past and implementing these dynamics into your project. If you've seen the film, Moneyball, you'll remember Jonah Hill's character found a way to statistically determine the best odds for his team's sucess. Our webinar host, Mike Flavin, has been able to analytically and statistically apply a method to do the same for a script or film - and he's found success as a Director of Development by doing just that. Join Mike as he teaches you his methodology to apply components in a script that make it more sellable. In this webinar, we will break down several successful movies in a number of genres and draw statistical conclusions on what made them so successful. It's the Moneyball-ization of Hollywood; let's play the house against itself!
Producer Sasha Nonas-Barnes joins our Panel as we listen and read your pitches live to help educate the Writers' Room screenwriters on what is and isn't working in their pitch.
Getting a job in Hollywood can seem hard...but it doesn’t have to be. If you feel like every job application you send in is a shot in the dark, you may want to rethink your process. Luckily, there are many tangible strategies that can make the job search more efficient. Ultimately, the key is to find a way to stand out in the pack. And we’re here to help you do just that. During this 90 minute session, you’ll learn how to build a robust network, job search tactics that will get your resume into the right hands, how to craft effective resumes and cover letters, and tips to help you ace any job interview. Whether you’re just starting out or are hoping to transition into a new position that will move you closer to your goals, this course is for you. We are professional resume writers, dedicated to helping Hollywood hopefuls find their dream jobs. But unlike most professional resume writers, we are not recruiters or HR executives. Instead, we have actually worked in and hired for entry-level positions across Hollywood. After conducting hundreds of interviews and weeding through even more resumes over the years, we've learned that many qualified candidates simply don't know how to pitch themselves for the Hollywood jobs they want. And, in an industry where most jobs are filled through internal referrals, it’s crucial to impress not only the recruiters, but those in the actual departments that are hiring -- and we know what they’re looking for because we’ve worked in those departments ourselves. We’re excited teach you the proven networking strategies, resume and cover letter writing techniques, and and interview skills that we have used to succeed in our own careers and watched countless others use to succeed in theirs.
Learn directly from Steve Desmond, professional screenwriter who has worked on projects with Davis Entertainment, Imagine Entertainment, Treehouse Pictures, and more! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Steve Desmond will help you build your suspense from the ground up. Together, you’ll study some of the masters of psychological thrillers, and he’ll share what he’s learned in the trenches from working with other writers, producers, and executives. From the anatomy of a suspense scene, to how to build compelling characters, to how to hook the reader’s attention early, to the power of murder in a story, all the way to crafting a twist ending that no one sees coming, this will be a fully immersive experience that will leave you excited, inspired and ready to tackle your next project. Steve Desmond is a professional screenwriter represented by APA, The Gotham Group, and Eclipse Law Firm. Recently, Steve sold a thriller screenplay with an Oscar nominated producer attached, and has several other thriller projects in the works with major companies. Steve was also recently hired to write a treatment for a mini-series on infamous serial killer Ted Bundy, being produced Discovery Networks, Giant Pirates, and Trigger Street. Over the years, he’s written or developed projects with Imagine Entertainment, Level 1 Entertainment, Blacklight Transmedia, Preferred Film & TV, The Walt Becker Company, Dreamworks Animation, and (shockingly) The Disney Channel. Steve has repeatedly proved that he knows what it takes to write a great psychological thriller, and he is here to share his knowledge with Stage 32!
We've brought in the Producer of the Emmy-nominated HBO show, "Ballers" to teach you how to master the art of your TV pitch. Who better to teach you than someone who's in the TV trenches every single day? Bret works alongside incredible talent such as Stephen Levinson (Entourage, Boardwalk Empire), Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Ryan Phillippe, Catherine Zeta-Jones and more. So, you have a great idea for a show, now what? How do you get it to the right people? What to do/how to present it to them? What most people don’t understand, is that once they’re in the door they need to think about the other side of the table. Who they’re pitching to, how many pitches that person reads/hears and how best to position themselves to stand out. Just the right amount. Busy producers and executives get pitched all the time. They can tell an experienced pitcher from a novice immediately. Whether oral, written or Skype, you basically have 30 seconds or the first paragraph to keep them interested. And for both, the format matters! Don’t let your great idea fall on deaf ears or eyes! If you’re a writer or someone who works with writers, you need to know how to orchestrate a good pitch.
How can you write to make the complex understandable? How can you describe a set piece that is both inventive and relatable? That is the goal for this month's Write Now Challenge!