In this edition of Writers Talking Screen, our guests talked all about the craft of writing for pre-school and children’s audiences, plus they shared their career journeys, including their experiences working as writers assistants and script coordinators.
Christine Mitchell is a writer, kids’ content creator and visual artist. After writing a Master’s thesis in linguistics and a PhD dissertation on the history of computer translation (a piece of which appears in The Walrus), her desire to write fun, made-up stuff took over. She’s written Peekabeans, a series of augmented reality preschool storybooks, and multiple episodes of children’s animation for Wishfart, Ollie’s Pack, Team Zenko Go, and The Guava Juice Show.
Ben Joseph is based in Toronto and has an overseas Indian citizenship and is of Indian descent. Ben most recently won the WGC Screenwriting Award for Dino Ranch, “Wings Over Dino Ranch,” and he has an Emmy award win for Rolie Polie Olie. Ben started off writing for the YTV tween comedy show It’s Alive! and then for the teen variety show Jonovision at the CBC. Ben has written over two hundred animation scripts, including Totally Spies!; Hotel Transylvania: The Series; The Day My Butt Went Psycho; Total Drama Island: Reloaded; Grossology; Berenstain Bears; Kid vs Kat; Babar, and many, many more.
Mike D’Ascenzo burst onto the scene as an actor, appearing in over 100 episodes of television. Tired of being type-cast as the gorgeous/muscly/ tall leading man (despite never actually landing those roles), he stepped away from the craft and realized writers are the true heroes of the industry. He went on to story coordinate eight seasons of television, receive a ‘based on’ credit for Family Channel’s Bajillionaires, and write for shows like Hotel Transylvania the Series, DNAce, Dino Ranch and Dylan’s Playtime Adventures. In 2023, he won a WGC Screenwriting Award for Dino Ranch, “Wings Over Dino Ranch.”
Michael Foulke is an Emmy-nominated writer/producer that has been writing steadily for the world of children’s television since 2008 for companies such as Netflix, Disney, PBS, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Universal and The Jim Henson Company as well as writing on several shows in China and India. His most recent credits include a writer/producer position on the PBS Kids series Elinor Wonders Why, for which Michael won the WGC Screenwriting Award for Best Writing in a Preschool series. He also recently completed a story editor position on all five seasons of Netflix’s Word Party and the first season of its new spinoff series, Word Party Presents: Math! Amongst his upcoming projects, Michael wrote every episode of a limited live-action series for the Jim Henson Company called Magical, Medical Marvels, which aims to help children who have been diagnosed with a variety of medical ailments to cope with the confusing and often frightening reality of their diagnoses in fun and positive ways.
A WGC Writers Talking Screen virtual event, sponsored by Dept.9 Studios.