Mike Gasaway: Award Winning Director

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Mike Gasaway is an award winning Director with over 8 years of directing/producing experience, specializing in computer animation.  He’s directed on three award winning shows and has helped build 2 animation studios - one with a traditional production approach and another with international partners. During his 3 years with Disney, he animated on virtual attractions including Hercules and The Pirates of the Caribbean.  Mike then moved to Dallas, Texas, to work for DNA Productions as an animator on the film, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.  After 2 weeks as an animator, he was promoted to Animation Supervisor.  After production wrapped, DNA made Mike one of two directors for the Nickelodeon television series: The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. While at DNA, he won an Annie Award for Best Children’s Animated Series and was nominated for an Annie Award for Best Directing in an Animated Series. 

In 2006, Mike left DNA Productions and began working for Steve Oedekerk's company, O Entertainment.  From 2006-2009, while at O Entertainment, Mike served as Supervising Director on Back at the Barnyard, directing 14 episodes and supervising 33 episodes. In 2008, Mike's team of directors was nominated for an Emmy Award® in two categories.  One for Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program and the other for Outstanding Animated Program Special Class. The following year, Back at the Barnyard earned an Emmy Award® for Outstanding Animated Program Special Class.

In 2010, Mike brought the show Planet Sheen to O Entertainment, a show he had co-created at DNA Productions, and acted as Co-Producer and Supervising Director. Mike directed the pilot and supervised most of the first season before deciding to venture into the field of writing and directing live action. In 2012, Mike moved to Pittsburgh, PA, close to where he grew up, where he began writing and directing live action features. His first feature, Help Me!, written and directed by Gasaway, is being produced by Tolin FX and Drafthouse Films. The prequel to the feature, a short film titled, Help Me First, will be shot in early spring. The website for the movie can be found at www.helpmethemovie.com.

What do you do best?

I think what I do best is inspire other artists to help bring my vision to fruition. Being surrounded by people much more talented than I am, I can bring out their best and create something better than anything we could have imagined on our own. Having a vision helps and for me, when I read a script or write one, I can see every single shot. I can see every single nuance so that when a suggestion comes up, I know if it will work or not and quickly make that decision to keep an idea or not.

What makes you the best?

Something I've done since day one is to always strive to get better. I study constantly. I plan endlessly so that I know my subject inside and out. When I was first tapped to direct on Jimmy Neutron, I studied films to learn where to place the camera. I reverse storyboarded films. That meant I watched a movie and every time the camera cut, I paused it and drew what I saw. I learned so much from doing that.

What are your aspirations?

To bring ideas that are inside of my head out to the public. I have seen that through my shows, my style, imagination and humor is pretty widely accepted. Now I can do exactly what is in my head and bring it out. It has nothing to do with adulation either. All I care about is entertaining people. They don't have to know it's me either. Well, the people paying my bills do.

Biggest Success?

I've worked on very successful shows that have won awards but my personal biggest success is Jimmy Neutron. Directing on that show was pure joy. The team was the best and I still stay in contact with a lot of that crew and cast. It was never like going to work. It was always fun and I miss it every day.

Most Challenging Moment?

I'm going through that right now. I had to reinvent myself after leaving southern California for family reasons. There isn't much animation in the midwest - at least not longer form animation - so I've had to venture into live-action. I'm quite adept at getting a script and making the words become visuals that entertain. Now I'm taking all of the chances and the risks by using my own words to show my own visuals. It's scary as all can be but I'm moving forward as strongly as I can.

Favorite Motto?

Fail to plan; plan to fail. It's true in every aspect of life.

Favorite People?

My kids. My mentors: Robert Taylor, HK Glasgow. My parents, my fraternity brothers, my best friend.

Favorite Places?

Carlsbad, CA. St. John USVI - don't tell anyone that those are the two most beautiful places on the earth.

Favorite Products?

In-N-Out burgers, R&B Pizza (Pittsburgh), Primanti's sandwiches, Yards Beer

Current Passions?

LOVE horror movies - good or bad. Listening to great guitar. Writing (cliche, I know but true)