Michael Bay: Directing Hack or Genius?

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Michael Bay: Directing Hack or Genius?

Every indie filmmaker who knows anything about films loves to hate on Michael Bay…or do they? Over-the-top he may be, but is Michael Bay really the worst director alive? I know we are all a bit tired of watching giant robots beat the hell out of each other.

With that said Michael Bay is still one of the best action directors working today. No other director alive can craft images and action sequences that look like a Michael Bay film, and trust me his style has been ripped off more times over the last twenty years than I can count.

The Rock is still one of my favorite action movies of all time and the Bad Boys films, which are just plain ol’ fun. Armageddon also has a place in my heart, as it’s ridiculous popcorn fun.

If you go to a Michael Bay movie expecting a deep, intellectually challenging film then you are jumping on the wrong Autobot. What Michael Bay does have is an amazing eye for composing shots, creating new angles and camera movements you haven’t seen on screen before.

I studied his work back when he was still just a commercial director working with David Fincher, Michel Gondry, and Domonic Sena at Propaganda Films.


SEE ALSO: David Fincher: Breaking Down His Directorial Techniques


His commercial work is not only award winning but ground-breaking for their day. Take a look at a few examples:

Take a listen to what Steven Spielberg has to say about Michael Bay:

“He has the best eye for multiple levels of pure visual adrenaline”

Michael Bay is truly a master of creating beautiful imagery on screen. If we, as indie filmmakers, can learn how to craft, compose better-looking images, up our production value and add a good story to the mix then we are golden.

You may not like him but you can learn a few things from Mr. Michael Bay. Take a look at the videos below and get ready for some BAYHEM!


Michael Bay – What is Bayhem?

Every Frame a Painting

The creator of the video below is a freelance editor based in San Francisco named Tony Zhoe. He has an amazing series of video essays called “Every Frame a Painting” focusing on a director and one aspect of film form. According to Tony:

“Film form is the way pictures and sound work together to create meaning. If you think of film as a language, this is the vocabulary and grammar.

Composition, lighting, editing, color, silence, movement, and music are all aspects of form. There’s a weird perception that this stuff is boring, but it’s honestly pretty fun.”

Each episode is a mini film school. He does a great job and has built up a hell of a following. I love Tony’s on-going series so much I’ll be spotlighting his work on Indie Film Hustle from time to time. It’s a much watch for any filmmaker, the film student or the old pro.

Always keep learning, always keep growing no matter what your age. Be ready to take notes.

You can support Tony’s work by going to: Patreon


Six Reasons you have to respect Michael Bay.

Great video from the guys at Cinefix explaining why Michael Bay might just be a genius.


Michael Bay – Making Pearl Harbor


Michael Bay – Making Pain and Gain


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