UnNews:Michael Bay's guide to public speaking
8 January 2014
Hello, I am Michael Bay. Let's take a look at my recent meltdown at the Samsung CES conference to work out some do's and do not do's of public speaking.
MICHAEL: How is everyone today? My job as a director is I get to dream for a living.
I made two mistakes here. I know what you're thinking: two? Just like that? Yes, that's right, two. Number one, don't ask how everyone is - you always get a muted reaction, and suddenly you forget you directed Heat and let Al Pacino do this in a real movie... and you start feeling like a substitute teacher. And two: don't describe what you do in a really dickish way.
HOST: Michael, you're known for such unbelievable action. What inspires you? How do you come up with these unbelievable ideas?
Work with your host beforehand. Make sure he doesn't say really inane shit which basically riffs off the same basic question: why are you so great?
MICHAEL: I create visual worlds that are so beyond everyone's normal life experiences, and Hollywood is a place that creates a pure escape. And what I try to do, as a director... uhhhh ... argh! The type is all off. Sorry, but I'll just wing this.
Can you smell that? Me too. "Visual worlds"? What was I thinking? This is where it all went really wrong. Don't assume you can speak about what you do for a living, it's almost certain that you cannot. If you sit down and write something, we're back in dick country, and if you try and wing it... well, we'll come to winging it later.
HOST: Tell us what you think.
Remember, if you have no natural ability for speaking, do not team up with a guy who puts you on the spot and asks complex questions like this. All I wanted to say was "I think I want to go home." Most people, especially when speaking in public, are not thinking anything coherent. Don't assume you are any different.
MICHAEL: Yeah. We'll wing it right now. I try to take people on an emotional ride and, um.
Winging it is not as easy as it sounds. In my experience, you have around a 100% chance of going into meltdown. You are not Marlon Brando. If Francis Ford Coppola asked you what bloodlust was, it's very unlikely you would say anything more profound than "Bloodlust... hmmm I am just going to wing it here, I... lusty blood, bloody lust... bloodylust... bloodylust, it sounds funny when I say it like that." In my experience, the best thing to do in this case is run.
- Leverage, "CES 2014: Director loses direction as teleprompter fails". BBC, January 08, 2014