"Michael Benjamin Bay"

Primary Author: Jacob Gage and Daniel Andreassi

The primary authors are the individuals who drafted the first version of the material which could have been different than the currently published version.

Michael Benjamin Bay was born 17 February 1965. He was in a foster home until he was four years old when he was adopted by Jim and Harriet Bay who raised him until he left home. His early education was primarily at the Crossroads school for Art and Sciences, an exclusive and rather expensive private school located in Santa Monica, California. Once he graduated from Crossroads, Bay attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut. There he double majored in film and English.

After he was finished at Wesleyan he did his graduate work at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. He majored in the school's prestigious film program. There he created some of his first recognized work; a quick coca-cola commercial that garnered the attention of the marketing industry. At the same time, he was cutting his teeth within the film industry. He landed an internship with Lucas films filing soundboards; a job he later admitted hating with a passion.

Once Bay was finished with his education, he quickly found work directing music videos and commercials for Propaganda Films. From 1990-1997, he directed music videos for artists and bands such as Meatloaf, Aerosmith, and Styx. These videos received multiple MTV award nominations. Bay's best work, however, was in commercials. The first national commercial Bay directed was for the Red Cross in 1992. It won a Clio award. This early success earned him the recognition of Hollywood. Multiple producers reached out to Bay trying to convince him to direct a full feature film for them. He refused.

Bay stated that he "wanted to get really good at what he was doing." In 1993, he became one of the best when he drew up and directed the first commercial in one of the most recognized and successful ad campaigns of all time, "Got Milk." The relatively simple commercial told the tragic story of a man suffering great loss because he runs out of milk. The scene then fades to black with the words "Got Milk" in white on the screen. Not only did this advertisement win multiple awards within the advertising industry, it increased sales of milk by more than 15 million gallons in California alone. The public loved the advertisement so much that it was actually re-aired in 2002. Over the course of the next three years, Bay worked for some of the biggest brands around: Nike, Coca-Cola, Reebok, and Budweiser. He won the Director of the Year award at the age of 30; the youngest person to ever do so. Once he achieved this feat, he moved onto Hollywood.

One thing that has remained constant throughout Bay's career is his unique and fast-paced style. Films and advertisements he has directed heavily rely on a dizzying style of film editing that uses multiple cameras capturing the same scene. These scenes are then broken apart and cobbled together to create a much faster and confusing scene for the audience. The effect of cutting, coupled with Bay's talent for camera movement and close-ups, creates a fast-paced thrill ride for anybody watching. When only using one camera, Bay will generally employ a low-angle shot so from the audiences perspective they are looking up at the action, making it feel larger and more intense.

Bay now lives in Miami, Florida. He founded the Platinum Dunes productions which specializes in remaking horror films.




Photo Credit: Tech. Sgt. Larry A. Simmons/US Air Force



Filmography