After graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology’s film program, Mike traveled off to Utah with a job offer to work with Robert Redford and his Sundance Institute. Mike managed the Sundance Film Festival Press Screening Room, helmed the Sundance Outreach Program and assisted both the Screenwriter & Directors Labs. This was to be Mike’s graduate school education on writing & directing – learning all the sensitive details within cinematic storytelling from Oscar award-winning advisors such as Callie Khouri (Thelma & Louise) and Christopher McQuarrie (Usual Suspects, Mission Impossible franchise, and the upcoming Tom Cruise Top Gun: Maverick).
Alongside his Sundance experience, he employed himself as a commercial TV copyrighter and director where he won an ADDY award for Best TV Commercial in the State of Utah. With his Sundance experience, Mike co-founded the New Century Writer Awards in association with Francis Ford Coppola and his All-Story Magazine. With just 60 national writing competitions at that time, Mike helped numerous writers (short story & screenplays) achieve careers along with discovering (now) well-known novelist Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son.
After spending a few summers adventuring through Europe and the Celtic Circle, Mike relocated to Los Angeles where he escalated his creative knowledge into assistant directing on a multitude of independent features. Applying his years of industry experience, Mike has written & directed several award-winning short films such as the past-life regression teaser A Karma Thing and Mr. Roberts, a horror short starring Basil Hoffman (Redford’s Ordinary People, Pollock’s All the President’s Men and My Favorite Year), where the film has won and been nominated for “Best Director,” “Best Actor,” and “Best Horror Short” in many festivals. Not to mention, several “Best Cinematography” awards for his DP John T Connor (Director of Photography for the currently filming Jack Ryan Season 3 and “A” camera operator for Top Gun: Maverick). Currently, Mike’s hitting the festival circuit with an “80s style creature feature” short film he wrote & directed called The Eyes (starring Ace Marerro of Perry Mason) and developing a feature version for a 2023 production.
As a screenwriter-for-hire, Mike has several completed screenplays circulating through the industry in all genres. Recently, for his original work, Mike’s western spec Black Meadows was optioned and now has Zoe Bell, Tim Roth and Scoot McNairy attached with Jeff Demshaw directing and Antoine Fukwa (Training Day) as Executive Producer. Also, he has sold screenplays such as Hell Squad (Arkoff Productions), The Phantom Major (Polaris Pictures), and A Hero’s Walk (iConnect Films) to name a few. Mike’s work on Jon McDonald’s The Hyperions (starring Cary Elwes and Penelope Mitchell) released this year through Saban Films.
Being a native New Yorker, his street-kid mentality provides Mike with a creative juice for authentic voices. He writes as a director and directs as an editor – always one step ahead – forming the film’s creative elements as the production develops to the screen.