Michael Taylor: Professor, USC School of Cinematic Arts & Founder/Executive Director of the Media Institute for Social Change

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Michael Taylor is a Professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Founder and Executive Director of the Media Institute for Social Change, and served as Chair of Film and Television Production for ten years.  He is the producer of numerous theatrical and television films and produces within the studio system as well as in the independent film arena.  Taylor's credits include Last Embrace (1979), Bottle Rocket (1996), Phenomenon (1996), The Hi-Line (1999), Instinct (1999), The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper (1981), Mrs. Munck (1995), Princess of Thieves (2001) Phenomenon II (2003), The Commuters (2005), and Copying Beethoven (2006.)  He most recently produced and directed the documentary film entitled NO LABELS.

Among other honors, Taylor is the recipient of The National Board of Review Award, The Fourteenth Annual Genesis Award for Outstanding Feature Film, The Santa Clarita International Film Award for best Tela-Feature, The Variety/EDI $100 Million Award, and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  

Taylor began his career as a Motion Picture Executive at United Artists Corporation, and served as UA's Head of European Production based in London. Among the films he supervised during that period were, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, the James Bond thriller The Spy Who Loved Me, and Ken Russell's Valentino. He also served as Vice President, Executive Asst. to the President of Orion Pictures Corporation, where he was involved in the financing, production, and distribution of many notable films including Easy Money, Gorky Park, and Amadeus.  




Perhaps my greatest pleasure is bringing talented people together to create a media project.  Whether it’s a feature film that I’m producing, or a student project, or a piece for The Media Institute For Social Change, the organization and problem solving required to realize the vision is something that I find very appealing.


I would never claim to be the best.  I’ve had some good mentors along the way and I feel lucky to now be in a position to mentor others.  To strive to be the best one needs to learn organizational skills and the importance of always being well prepared.  Prep is crucial on the front end of any project and it goes a long way to ensure that the middle and back end go smoothly.


Hopefully by staying current and continuing to learn.  The minute one thinks “I have it mastered” there is nowhere to go but down.  If one keeps learning it’s possible to continue to strive for excellence.  We must continue to evolve and get better at what we do, but in the arts it’s pointless to try to pinpoint who is the best.


PERSONAL: To find the perfect balance between work and play, to be surrounded by good friends and family and find the time to enjoy them both.

BUSINESS: Three years ago I started The Media Institute For Social Change  and it is my passion to grow the Institute and to see it continue to do good work.


People fascinate me and particularly people with talent.  I find it fascinating to try to understand where the talent comes from and how it is expressed.

Favorite Motto:

The impossible takes a little longer.

Favorite People:

Wassily Kandinsky

Miles Davis

Albert Einstein.

Favorite Places:

New York


Any beautiful beach.

Favorite Products:

I’m happy with the iPhone , and I wouldn’t mind a 1955 Jaguar XK150

Current Passions:

Painting, the next movie, and helping filmmakers integrate issues of social change into their work.