Michael W. Abbott is a Los Angeles based Producer and Director of Motion Pictures, Documentaries, Unscripted Television, Branded Content and Music Festival Live Streaming Original Content. Abbott began his career in entertainment at Savoy Pictures in Santa Monica as a Marketing Financial Analyst for films such as “A Bronx Tale”, “Circle of Friends” and the documentary “The Show”. While at Savoy, Michael produced the festival winning music documentary on rave culture, “Synergy: Visions of Vibe” directed by Valerian Bennett. In 1999, Abbott co-created and launched the Coachella Independent Film Festival aka “The Film Tent” at The Coachella Music and Arts Festival; curating music- driven feature films, documentaries short films and music videos on site to tens of thousands of Coachella attendees. At the same time, Abbott produced music videos with legendary LA photographer and director Estevan Oriol for artists such as The Transplants, TechN9ne along with branded content for Diesel and Nike with Estevan and Mister Cartoon.
In 2007, Abbott produced the documentary film “Stripped: Greg Friedler’s Naked Las Vegas”, which premiered on Showtime Networks to become one of the most watched documentary films for the network. Abbott would next serve as Associate Producer on Cecilia Miniucchi’s narrative feature film “Expired” starring Samantha Morton and Jason Patric. The film would premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and have its International Premiere at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival in the 46th International Critics’ Week.
Abbott shifted his focus to branded documentary content and between 2007 and 2009, he would produce and direct short documentaries for the GM/Cadillac hit YouTube series “MyCadillacStory” starring cultural luminaries such as Travis Barker, Wynton Marsalis, Coach K and Tiki Barber. Abbott continued directing duties with “Motivation”, the multi award-winning online commercial for Namco Bandai’s hit video game Tekken 6 starring Evander Holyfield, Henry Tillman, Josh Barnett and a slew of world-class fighters. In 2012 Abbott stepped behind the camera as cinematographer for the global hit documentary “After Porn Ends”, the most watched documentary on Netflix for two years which would spin off two hit sequels.
In 2015, Abbott stepped back into music videos to produce One Direction’s mega hit music video “Steal My Girl” starring Danny DeVito which would be seen over 300,000,000 times on YouTube. Abbott would then expand his scope of documentary branded content directing to broadcast cable television as the Executive Producer & Director of “The Navigator Live” season 2, a 5-episode Marriott / Renaissance Hotels backed ½-hour music travel TV series which aired on the cable network AXS featuring artists The Lone Bellow, AWOLNATION, Cut Copy, A TRAK and MSMR. Between 2016-2017, Abbott produced a series of online branded documentary commercial campaigns for Microsoft Surface Products with Azyenberg Group and his third feature documentary film, “The Cadillac Tramps: Life On The Edge” directed by Jamie Sims Coakley.
In 2018, Abbott produced three back to back projects with director Brantley Gutierrez and Subtractive: the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers music video “Gainesville”, Warby Parker’s commercial “Happy Dance” and Paul McCartney’s Kodak Award winning musical short film “Who Cares” starring Emma Stone and lensed by Oscar winning cinematographer Linus Sandgren Abbott would also produce his fourth feature documentary film, “A Cam Life”, which premiered on Hulu. In 2019, Abbott was brought in to help spearhead Coachella’s first leap into original programming, “Coachella Curated”. Abbott would serve as the lead Director, Writer and Producer for original content while also Senior Producing Weekend One’s concert Live Stream programming. The two weekends collectively went on to break all YouTube and Coachella records with 171 Million views across 10 days. Abbott currently is in pre-production on the narrative feature film “The War of 84” at Netflix, producing the film with Screen Arcade (“Narcos”) from an original story by Abbott & Andrew Weiss (“White Boy Rick”). His fifth feature documentary film which he produced, “Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert”, premiered on YouTube Originals in April of 2020 to critical acclaim and over 1.1 million views in 48 hours.
Abbott remains dedicated to a passion for telling impactful human stories in his free time through photography with “The Good Fight”, an intimate and aspirational photo series which documents global citizens in challenged environments navigating their realities. Money raised from his prints and coffee table book directly aid the NGOs and subjects who open up their lives to him and his lens. A Los Angeles native, Abbott attended the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television, with an emphasis on Critical Studies. He was honored twice with the Cinema-Television School’s Mary Pickford Award for academic excellence and was bestowed the University’s Senior Recognition Award upon graduation.