Michael's most recent project was the ESPN 30 for 30 project "MECCA," a story about the loss of a unique NBA basketball court in Milwaukee, WI.
As a kid, Michael and some of his friends used a VHS camcorder to make a film. The film, which he describes as, “Something about the C.I.A, some ambiguous ‘papers’, and a lot of ketchup-blood,” went on to win the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum Film Festival in Milwaukee. He was an overnight success. But that early luck didn’t convince him to go into film.
Instead, he went into the University of Minnesota, and then worked in Chicago as an assistant at a high-end wedding photography studio. “I learned a surprising amount about photography, composition, lighting, and really, filmmaking and documentary,” Michael says. “I learned how to cover events with wide shots, close-ups, and reactions – and that even in a wedding there are main characters and a supporting cast that make up the visual story of an event.”
Michael then went back to school for film, earning his Bachelors from the University of Milwaukee. Next came four years working in Los Angeles as an editor in “the television machine.” He worked on a slew of shows, including one during which he had to blur out Bobby Brown’s privates and then met him an hour later over lunch.
Alas, the traffic and pace of Hollywood gave way to Michael and his girlfriend wanting a different lifestyle and to be back home with their families. So they headed back to Milwaukee and, through friend and AboutFace director Chris James Thompson, he was recommended as an editor to AF.
“Since arriving at AboutFace,” he says, “I’ve edited between six dozen and six bajillion online pieces for clients like Kmart, Can-Am, and Perkins + Will.”
“When I begin any edit, I have two main goals – to make you cry or to make you pee your pants. Or both if I’m really successful.”
So it may have been a meandering journey, but Michael went from a kid making films in Milwaukee to Minnesota, Chicago, back to Milwaukee, then to LA, and finally, back to making films in Milwaukee – just now with less ketchup-blood.