After 25-plus years writing and producing shows for Disney Channel US, Mark McCorkle (left) is kicking his next project into high gear alongside his longtime writing and producing partner, Bob Schooley (right), and a creative team that knows what cartoon heroes are made of.
McCorkle’s Big Hero 6 The Series—for which he is co-executive producing alongside Schooley—will premiere on Disney Channel US, DisneyNOW and Disney VOD platforms on June 9. The 25 x 22-minute series also includes several hour-long installments and additional animated shorts, the latter of which will bow on Disney’s YouTube channel starting on May 30.
According to McCorkle, he and Schooley were brought on board the film’s TV series adaptation due largely in part to their successful Disney Channel series Kim Possible, which aired from 2002 to 2007. (The pair is now at the helm of Kim Possible‘s live-action movie remake, which is currently in pre-production and due out in 2019.)
“I’d like to say that people are flocking to Big Hero 6 The Series because of us, but I also think there’s such a love for this property already, so writers and animators are very excited to be a part of it,” McCorkle says. “I think after Kim Possible, Bob and I were a natural fit for an adventure comedy like this. Let’s be honest, this is what we do.”
McCorkle and Schooley have been working together on Disney Channel TV series since 1990′s Goof Troop. “I think we clicked creatively at the very beginning as partners,” says McCorkle. “We went from staff writer to story editor, to producer and then showrunner over the course of multiple series and multiple years, and I think we learned pretty early on that it pays to be just a nice, decent person. If you’re super talented, I think you can get away with being a jerk at times, but we looked around and felt like we should just do the best work we can.”
McCorkle is also working with another one of his frequent collaborators on Big Hero 6 The Series, Nick Filippi, who is serving as director. The two previously worked together on Kim Possible and The Penguins of Madagascar. “The shows we’ve all worked on that have really clicked have been when everyone is on the same page and has a clear, shared vision.”
The other piece that needs to be in place for a property like Big Hero 6 The Series to take off, especially since it has already been renewed for a second season by Disney Channel, is an effective team. McCorkle says that when building a creative group, he and Schooley are looking for people who understand the classic Disney balance of adventure, comedy and heart.
Being all on the same creative page is a driving force behind the shorts for Big Hero 6, which have allowed the cast and crew to get an early feel for the look, style and tone of the series prior to creating full-length episodes. To keep this unity up, the creative team also met regularly to see what resonated most with young viewers.
“Bob and I definitely come from a more comedic background, and that’s our comfort zone, but we’re better when we work in a large group than we are as individuals. It sounds like a cliche, but it’s true,” McCorckle says, adding that it’s never been a better time for young talent to join a kids show because there is so many series being made at the moment, whether it’s through linear commissions à la Disney or via SVOD deals coming from big players like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
“Since we got some lucky breaks, we always try to reach out to younger writers to give somebody that little bit of a boost or leg up. Being selfishly protective of these creative positions doesn’t help anybody. It doesn’t help the industry and it doesn’t help your show. It’s great if we can help develop the next Bob and Mark,” he says. “This whole executive producer/showrunner thing lets you really dip your hands in so many areas in terms of guiding design and writing, and it’s pretty hard to beat that.”