TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is proud to present Producer Michael Haney to all of our readers. Michael, you have spanned the field of movie making , from your origins in acting, to your present accomplishments in filmmaking. What was your training for this career and what inspired you to take up filmmaking?
MH- I was always interested in filmmaking! My very first stage performance was in 1978. However, I never really took any acting classes until 1983. My serious training was in 1993 in Los Angeles, CA at Playhouse West.
For many years I trained under the direction of film star, Jeff Goldblum, Robert Carnegie, Tony Savant and J. D. Coburn, at one of the largest, most respected and highly recommended acting schools in Los Angeles, California, “PLAYHOUSE WEST”.
For nearly a decade, I performed as a principal cast member in Hollywood’s longest running play; “WELCOME HOME SOLDIER”.
TAEM- Who were your earliest inspirations in your beginnings as an actor?
MH- I must say that my earliest inspirations were James Dean and Marlon Brando! They were the very first great actors who took film acting to a new level! Today, Al Pacino and James Woods are the best out there! They can really do anything!TAEM- What actors and directors have you worked with?
MH- I have worked with actors James Woods, Tom Hanks, Raul Julia, Mercedes Ruehl, Andy Garcia, James Franco, Mark Pellegrino, Billy Crystal, and Jason Alexander.
James Woods, who I photo doubled for many years, is the smartest actor I have ever met!
Some of the directors I worked with are Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Oliver Stone, David Steinberg, David Mirkin, Neil Leifer, Ami Mann, Mick Jackson and Joe Adler.
MH- Very exciting!!! On ‘Indictment: The McMartin Trial’ I had the pleasure of acting with the actress, Mercedes Ruehl. She was wonderful! We had the opportunity to improvise a little during our scene.
‘Star Trek & Deep Space Nine’ are in a class by themselves! The acting is different. I thought they had a great cast of actors. I feel the writing is a little stiff! It’s different than any show I have ever worked on. After four hours of makeup, you just get the feel that you’re in a different world! You have to be there to understand!!!
TAEM- Who were some of the famous producers and directors that you have worked with, and how have they enhanced your career?
MH- I worked with Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Oliver Stone, David Steinberg, David Mirkin, Neil Leifer, Ami Mann, Mick Jackson and Joe Adler.
They changed my life! Mick Jackson directed me in ‘Indictment: The McMartin Trial’! Wonderful director! Oliver Stone is very deep and I believe he does more research than any director out there! Then there is Steven Spielberg! Total brilliance!!!
TAEM- What are some of the other productions that you have worked on, and what roles have you played in them?
MH- TV & films Not on IMDB
NIXON Protester Oliver Stone, Dir.
DAWN OF OUR NATION Sgt. Silas Walker Michael Leighton, Dir.
THE WITNESS Officer Morrison Jim MacDonald, Dir.
CASE BREAKERS Videographer Walt Morton, Dir.
TRADING HEARTS Police Officer Neil Leifer, Dir.
OUTLAW Deputy Ami Mann, Dir_
THE KILLING JOKE Detective/Stunt Driver Maarten Moerkerke, Dir.
THE EDGE Expectant Father FOX / David Mirkin
DESIGNING WOMEN Cat Burglar CBS / David Steinberg, Dir.
GENERAL HOSPITAL Bar Customer ABC / Gloria Monty, Prod.
TAEM- Last year you changed your career to begin directing and producing your own films. How has your previous acting experiences prepare you for this and what confidence and strengths did they give you in this new field?
MH-I have always believed that actors make the best directors! How else can a director know what to ask of his actors if he has not done so himself? I have learned so much from my years in front of the camera, that it is very easy to direct others! You just know what to look for and the direction you’re going!
TAEM- You became the Director and Writer for the short, ‘An Adventure with Hot Coffee’. What was the theme behind it , and what recognitions did it receive?
MH-This was a very funny short that we shot in only two days! The star in this film tried to score and got burned! It was mostly about a dream! It all started with a group of us putting together ideas for our first film. We all liked the idea of a guy playing basketball, then he goes home only to find coffee to drink for him and his friends. I added a lot to it and we ended up with a funny short!
I won for the best director last April at the Downtown Boca Film Festival!
MH- ‘The Magic Ticket’ was a lot of fun! The director of the film was my producer from “An Adventure With Hot Coffee”! I had a very small part in it! The theme was based on magic and a lottery ticket. It won an award for the director, Talina Adamo Oblander!
TAEM- We also understand that you teach acting in Florida. Tell us about this venue, and what you teach your students.
MH- I’m teaching at a place called, “Sugar Sand Park” in Boca. I also do a lot of private instruction in Lake Worth. I teach from my understanding of the Sanford Meisner Technique. This has to do with living truthfully and acting moment to moment. Acting has to do with taking the attention off of yourself and putting it on your scene partner so that something emotional comes out of it!
TAEM- What plans do you have for the near future, and what film genres would you like to work with?
MH- I plan to direct more films! I plan to teach in more locations. What I want is my own production company in South Florida. What I really want to do is act. I have been a SAG actor for 21 years. However, Florida is a non-union state. I wish it would change so that people like me who have been paying their dues can get work!!!
TAEM- Michael, you seem to have your plans well laid out and strong motivations by you should help you achieve your goals. We want to thank you for sharing your experiences with our readers, and wish you luck in all your future endeavors.