A graduate of Wesleyan University, Michael Bay spent his 20s working on advertisements and music videos. His first projects after film school were in the music video business. He created music videos for Tina Turner, Meat Loaf, Lionel Richie, Wilson Phillips, Donny Osmond and The Divinyls. His work won him recognition and a number of MTV award nominations. He also filmed advertisements for Nike, Reebok, Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Miller Lite. He won the Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year for his "Got Milk/Aaron Burr" commercial. At Cannes, he has won the Gold Lion for The Best Beer campaign for Miller Lite, as well as the Silver for "Got Milk". In 1995, Bay was honored by the Directors Guild of America as Commercial Director of the Year. That same year, he also directed his first feature film, Bad Boys (1995), starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, which grossed more than $160 million, worldwide. His follow-up film, The Rock (1996), starring Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage, was also hugely successful, making Bay the director du jour.IMDb Mini Biography By: Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Intense slow motion shots of characters
Films often feature a US President giving a major speech before a major action is to be committed.
Has the camera moving during most scenes Very rarely uses static shots
(2001) His last 3 films all share: a) two male leads at odds with another; b) a cataclysmic event as the narrative's fulcrumic point; c) the film's lead female character has i) been a long-haired brunette, and ii) watched the film's climax from a control room
Actors/characters in his films are almost uniformly shot in tight, emphatic close ups, framed under the hairline and above the chin.
Often uses lightflashes (i.e. lightbulbs and cameraflashes) to enhance scenes.
Often has over-the-top visuals (i.e. key events taking place at sunset or dramatic events taking place behind actors doing routine activities).
Often features a slow-motion shot of an object crashing into, or tumbling towards the camera.
Uses a shot where the camera spins in a circle around characters. (Bad Boys II, Transformers)
Frequently incorporates scenes that involve characters running or moving towards the camera (almost always shot in slow-motion)
He occasionally makes cameo appearances in his films: in Bad Boys II (2003) he plays a guy driving a small beat-up old car which Martin Lawrence attempts to borrow, a NASA scientist in Armageddon (1998), and in Transformers (2007) he is the "disgusting" human that gets flicked away by Megatron.
Frenetic editing of action sequences
Often includes one black character as comic relief (Eddie Griffin in Armageddon (1998), Leonard McMahan in The Rock (1996), Mark Christopher Lawrence in The Island (2005), the minstrely robots Skids and Mudflap in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)).
Most of his films have a shot of pilots running toward their aircraft for takeoff.
All his films have at least one shot of a man screaming in slow motion. Usually as a battle cry.
His films feature extensive product placement
Received a post-graduate degree in Film at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design in California.
Owns two bullmastiff dogs, named Grace after the character played by Liv Tyler in Armageddon (1998) and Bonecrusher after the Decepticon that appeared in Transformers (2007). His bullmastiff Mason Rock Bay named the character Sean Connery played in the The Rock (1996)) died of old age in 2007.
"Movieline" revealed in 2001 that Bay's father is John Frankenheimer. Frankenheimer, who always denied paternity, took a DNA test in the 1980s which was negative.
Shot over 1 million feet of film for Pearl Harbor (2001). Used only about 20,000 feet for the final, 9-reel cut.
In Bad Boys (1995), Bay paid $25,000 (one quarter of his fee) for the climax explosion scene. The initial shot was made impossible by a rainstorm, and the production company refused to pay for another try.
Joined Propaganda Films two weeks out of graduate school. He befriended actor Djimon Hounsou, who was working across the street at a modeling agency. Djimon Hounsou later appeared in The Island (2005).
Actors have often noted that he places more importance on the visuals than on his characters and actors. He is also known to do very few takes of intimate character- driven scenes, as he prefers to spend more time on action sequences and visually- interesting moments.
All his films up to and including Armageddon (1998) made him the youngest director to reach the billion dollar mark world wide.
Since the age of 26, Bay has won every major commercial directing award, including the Gold and Silver Lions at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. He also won the Grand Prix Clio for Commercial of the Year for his "Got Milk/Aaron Burr" commercial, which also won him the Museum of Modern Art Award for Best Campaign of the Year.
Filmed the movie Armageddon (1998) with an eye towards Middle America. Has a love for Americana.
Ranked #47 on Premiere's 2005 Power 50 List. Previously ranked #54 in 2004.
President of The Institute for the Development of Enhanced Perceptual Awareness, also known as The Institute, a commercial and music video production company he founded with Scott Gardenhour.
Uses a Mark V director's viewfinder while shooting a film. The viewfinder is often prominently featured in photographs of him, hung around his neck. It is engraved with his name and the names of every film he has directed.
Raised by parents Jim Bay and Harriet Bay (Michael adopted when he was two weeks old), and sister Lisa Bay.
Was offered the chance to direct Man on Fire (2004).
Was offer the opportunity to direct Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) but pulled out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.
Good friends with Ben Affleck.
Was considered to direct Superman Returns (2006).
Was challenged by German filmmaker Uwe Boll to a charity boxing match in 2008.
He considers himself an old school director, preferring analog over digital, both in shooting on film stock and keeping CGI shots to a minimum, staging practical action and stunts whenever possible.
One of 20 prominent filmmakers to sign a letter in protest of Premium Video on Demand, which allows films to be streamed by home viewers at a cost of $30 only 60 days after the film's release in theaters.
Though he has never taken writing credit, he claims to be extensively involved in the screenplays for all his films, including writing all of the action sequences himself and much of the comedy.
A lot of directors don't want the pressure of a movie the size of 'Pearl Harbor (2001)'. But I love it. I thrive on it.
I love it when people get really mean and call you a 'hack'. It's like, don't they see how well these movies are doing? They make an impression around the world. I met this guy in Bali who lives in a hut with a TV, and he loved The Rock (1996). That means something, doesn't it?
Directing is not a job. It's more like a career. Which is great!
I make movies for teenage boys. Oh, dear, what a crime.
I know [critics] have [been tough on my movies]. And that's why I've taken Jerry Bruckheimer's advice: I don't read them, I really don't.
Quentin Tarantino called me once. Someone had written 'Is Michael Bay the Devil?' Quentin said, 'Don't worry, last year they called me the Antichrist.'
Lots of sci-fi movies are much ado about nothing. What I liked about [The Island (2005)] is that it's a universal thing: we all want to live longer. But how selfish would you be to achieve that? You could get a liver, a heart, kidneys, essential things. But I wanted to show people going for things that were just so crass, like fresh skin for a face-lift. For some woman who doesn't want to go through the pain of childbirth and have stretch marks, why not have your clone birth for you? How disgusting is that?
[about the kissing scene in The Island (2005)] I should re-shoot that scene right now. Two characters who have never even heard of sex are now trying it for the first time - you could have actually made it really funny and touching. I kept saying to [Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor], 'I want you to feel like you're kissing for the first time'. I don't know if you heard it, but when they're bouncing lips, they go 'Wow!'
I write my own action. There's a scene in The Island (2005) - a highway chase where a pile of train wheels fall off a truck and smashes into the oncoming cars. That thought came to me as I was driving next to a truck carrying rail wheels. My mind is very fertile, so I'm like, 'That's very dangerous!' I sent someone out to do research and found out those train wheels weigh a TON each . . .
His most offensive criticism: Roger Ebert on Pearl Harbor (2001). He commented on TV that bombs don't fall like that. Does he actually think we didn't research every nook and cranny of how armor-piercing bombs fell? He's watched too many movies. He thinks they all fall flat - armor-piercing bombs fall straight down, that's the way it was designed! But HE's on the air pontificating and giving the wrong information. That's insulting!
There are tons of people who hate me. They hate my movies and whatnot. But you know, hey, my films have made a lot of money around the world. 2-something billion dollars, that's a lot of tickets. They said that I wrecked cinema. They said that my, uh...cutting style. They say I cut too fast. And yet now you see it in movies everywhere. Do I take pride in people knowing my style? I think it's nice people know a director has a style. And you can reinvent yourself too.
[on Transformers (2007)] Well, it's just, you know, listen, it's like...I didn't want to make the boxy characters, you know? Think about it, 30 feet in the air in the real world, just boxes, you know and it'd just look more fake, you know? And by adding more doo-dads, you know, stuff on the...stuff. Stuff on the robots, more car parts, and...you know you can just make it look more real.
I'm one of the few directors - it seems like a dying art - that actually shoot a lot in the camera.
To tell the truth, shooting action bores me now. But the audience has grown to like what I do and expect visually stimulating excitement. Staying in that genre is me being safe.
[on shooting in 3-D]: Digital, no matter what people tell you, it's bullshit. They say, "Oh, it looks just like film." It doesn't look like film and never will. And it's like those people that are telling you are technicians. But I will be able to tweak film better than you tweak a digital image, because it just can't hold really bright skies to this black thing. You have to favor one thing. If I favored her, that would go much wider. Whereas film, you would be able to get more blue out of it or whatever. And you can't really do that with digital. So they're lying to you when they say it looks just like film. It doesn't. And when you shoot 3D, technically you give up some color, you give up some sharpness, you give up brightness. But you get the added benefit of seeing 3D. And what the audiences really are pissed about is dim 3D. So I did this special thing for the theater owner, I said, "You better turn your bulbs up."
|Bad Boys (1995)||$100,000 (directing fee)|
|Pearl Harbor (2001)||$25,000,000 (Director's Gross Earnings)|
(July 2010) Filming Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011) in the United States, Russia and possibly Africa.
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