Don't Dumb It Down! with Michael Vogel

Don't Dumb It Down! with Michael Vogel

On June 17, 2019 the CFC presented "The DHX Experience: Don’t Dumb It Down", a full-day forum with acclaimed writer and producer, Michael Vogel. The day focused on demystifying what the world of kids animation really looks like, its infinite possibilities, its deceptively sophisticated approach, and the creative, commercial and educational impact it has worldwide.


The morning consisted of a discussion with Vogel, moderated by DHX Media's EVP of Content, Stephanie Betts, on his extensive background in kids animation, his thoughts on what the art of animation allows you to do as a creator, how it is different than live action, the mythology that underpins good animation, how animation can be appealing for both kids and adults, and some common pre-conceptions about the animation space.

This conversation also invited Vogel to break down how he works with writers, artists, directors and big IP brands, how he got involved with DHX and Strawberry Shortcake, the challenges of re-inventing a brand for today’s kids, where animation is going with digital streaming – and the incredible opportunity it offers new creators.


In the afternoon, Vogel presented a few select clips to illustrate how animated kids shows can appeal to an older generation, how mature undertones are able to bridge issues that are relevant to today’s audiences, why the mythology of a show can be reminiscent of other IPs with large fan followings, what it’s like to work on a globally recognized brand, how animated shows for girls are traditionally not given the same weight and sophistication as boys animation, how we’re reaching a space where big budgets and technology allow kids animated shows to match feature film animations, and what that means for writers, animators and other creators.

Kids Animation Concept Workshop

On June 18 & 19, 2019 the CFC invited 7 creators to participate in an intimate two-day animated original concept bootcamp with Michel Vogel and DHX Media's Director of Development - Animation, Todd Brian. These creators were given the opportunity to experience an intensive concept/pitch development workshop where Michael and Todd guided the creators and their original ideas through a fun and informative process, working them through various filters in a roundtable setting as they explored the viability of each concept in the kids animation space.

Brooke Banning"Tessa the Terrible"

Jon Davis "Izzy Dupree M.M.D."

A.J. Demers "Bucky Adare Gets Lost in the Multiverse"

Matt Houghton "Very Real Adventures in Actual Space"

Kaven Mohebbi "Holidale High"

Luke Toye "Dream Catchers"

Natalie Urquhart "Who Can Stay Quiet the Longest"

Michael Vogel

Michael Vogel is a writer/producer and super geek who has been fortunate enough to work on some of the biggest brands in the entertainment industry. He has a proven track record in developing IP across features, television (prime time and cable) live action, animation and digital.

His experience as a development executive at Sony Pictures Television and Hasbro Studios has given him a strong background in brand building and creating stories, characters and experiences that can live on multiple platforms. He has worked with some of the leaders in branded entertainment (including Marvel, Cartoon Network, Disney, Hasbro and Sony). He helped launch Hasbro Studios, the entertainment division of Hasbro where he was tasked with bringing new life into brands such as My Little Pony, Transformers and GI-Joe.

After spending several years as an executive, a fateful trip to Burning Man helped remind him why he moved to Los Angeles in the first place and he decided to make the leap to the creative side of the business, co-writing and co-producing the animated movie version of My Little Pony for Hasbro Studios and Lionsgate. He has written on several shows including Avengers Assemble, Stretch Armstrong, Micronauts, Young Justice and of course My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He has continued to be a part of the MLP creative team throughout its final season, including writing the My Little Pony: Best Gift Ever holiday special as well as several MLP themed books and embracing the magic of friendship in his daily life. He is currently working with DHX Media, one of the world’s foremost producers of children’s entertainment, on several top-secret things that he can’t wait to talk about.