February 17, 1965
School: Crossroads High
University Class of '86'
Art Center College of Design
34, and still in the early stages of his career, Michael
Bay has achieved success in every story-telling genre he
has explored so far. He has bought a characteristic energy
and visual dynamism to three high-grossing features (Bad
Boys, The Rock, Armageddon); he has directed some of
television's most imaginative commercials, winning more
awards than any other American director his age; and he
is a sought-after director of music videos. Bay's most technically
and emotionally complex feature film project, Armageddon,
was released July 1, 1998 and made him the youngest director
to reach the billion dollar mark world wide.
the eighth highest grossing movie of all time, Armageddon
is the culmination of Bay's cinematic education up till
now - a process that is ongoing. He made his first feature
at the age of 13 - the gripping drama of an enemy space
ship attacking his train set. Although the fire department
had to be called to put out the resultant glue-blaze from
Bay's production, he was not deterred. he continued with
photography, winning many student awards for his work.
age 15, Bay was working for Lucasfilm, where he watched
Steven Spielberg transform seemingly mundane effects and
sets into the magical experience of "Raiders of the
Lost Ark." It was a metamorphosis Bay would never forget
- one that would continually inspire his own interest in
creating seamless visual worlds behind fascinating characters.
Bay wound up in the influential film program at Wesleyan
- where his talent was recognized with the Frank Capra
Award for Best Student Film - and he went on to study
at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design. After graduating,
h made the decision to direct music videos, the quickest
way to get immediate, hands-on shooting experience. Bay
soon was drawing accolades on his very first video for the
direction of Donny Osmond's surprise come-back video. He
was recruited to continue directing videos for Propaganda
Films, the commercial production house that has given genesis
to some of Hollywood's most promising young visual artist.
At Propaganda, where he now is a partner, he continued directing
popular videos for such artist as Aerosmith, Tina Turner,
Lionel Richie, Meatloaf, and the DiVinyls.
first move into television advertising, an ad for the American
Red Cross, won a Clio, an auspicious beginning that would
start a career-long trend. He went on to direct some of
the most widely seen and remembered 60-second stories in
recent television history - including spots for Nike,
Budweiser, Bugle Boy, Coca-Cola, Levi's, Isuzu, Miller
best recognized campaign has become one of the most widely
lauded and imitated ads in recent history - the GOT MILK
series of commercials. Bay won a Grand Prix Clio for
Commercial of the Year for the "Got Milk/Aaron
Burr" commercial and also garnered the Museum of
Modern Art Award for Best Campaign of the Year. Since
the age of 26, Bay has won every major commercial directing
award, including the Gold and Silver Lions
even as he attained extraordinary success in commercials,
Bay knew he eventually wanted to direct a feature. He turned
down dozen of projects before meeting with producers Don
Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer while shooting the video for
"Days of Thunder." Simpson and Bruckheimer offered
Bad Boys which he immediately recognized as the type
of script he was seeking for his entree to film: a fun entertaining
story with big audience- pleasing potential.
feature became a paragon of the stylish action comedy and
grossed more than $160 million world wide. Bay next made
another leap - this time to the big-budget, epic action
of The Rock, working with Academy Award-winning actors
Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery. The film not only became
the major summer blockbuster of 1996, but won critics over
with its dazzling mix of visual excitement, high-wire suspense
and compelling performances.
The Rock, Bay began to knock around an idea with
screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh based on their mutual fascination
with the devastating terrestrial threat of unseen asteroids.
There was no doubt in Bay's mind that such a project was
going to require enormous resources and technical innovation,
not to mention NASA's assistance - but he was confident
that they had hit upon a story which delivered on an unusually
evocative emotional level for such a high-concept piece.
Disney agreed that it was a story worth telling and re-teamed
Bay with producer Jerry Bruckheimer, making Armageddon
a sure-fire summer blockbuster.
what will Michael Bay do in the wake of Armageddon?
Bay intends to continue upping the stakes by taking on a
new genres and styles - assuming there is no imminent meteor
strike. Currently, Bay is developing a television show entitled
Quantico for FOX.
to Bay Films for this biography.