“Mi casa es su casa”…were some of the first words Jim Michaels said to me as he gave me a tour of his home away from home in Vancouver, BC where he resides while on location during the on season for the long time Warner Bros. hit TV show SUPERNATURAL.
This Supernatural driven man certainly deserves all the awards, accolades and praise that he receives in both his professional and personal life.
He is a force to be reckoned with, and I quickly discovered why Jim became so successful and why many people are drawn to this intriguing man, with the engaging smile, sharp wit and jovial sense of humour.
He was born and raised in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, where he attended high school and played football. He went to college in Evansville, Indiana where he completed his Business Degree while playing for the University’s football team. He was very honored in 1997 when the University of Evansville retired his football number. During our interview, he paused for effect with a LITTLE grin on his face, and then said, “But I have to be honest, everybody’s numbers were retired at the same time, because the football program was cancelled.” Staying true to his sense of humor and personality this was not the first or last time that Jim had me in stitches during our interview.
Jim’s initial goal was to play football in the National Football League (NFL), but he soon realized despite his skill level, he was not ever going to be NFL material. He began to think of different options that would still enable him to be involved with the NFL organization. Coaching didn’t interest him, and because he wasn’t wealthy enough to own a team, he thought perhaps becoming a Sports Agent would be an ideal job. It was a career that would enable Jim to utilize his business degree while having empathy for the players with a keen understanding of the game.
With the NFL agent idea in tow, upon graduating from College, Jim decided to take one year off, move to Southern California in the fall, live at the beach and drive a convertible – as most of the agencies were located on the West coast he thought it wise to make sure he liked the quality of life there. The next step would involve returning to college and either study for his MBA or a Law Degree and then pursue a career as a Sports Agent.
However, a couple months out of school his good friend David Hefner, from Chicago, needed an assistant at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, so Jim bought a one-way ticket to a place he had never been to before…the state of California. He bought a car the same day he arrived in L.A., started working at Universal Studios and never looked back.
Eight months later, David left Universal Studios and Jim, at the age of 22, was promoted to David’s position, at which time he soon created a Computer Graphics Department at the Studio.
It was during this time that Jim began doing the Visual Effects, Computer Graphics and Playbacks for hit shows like Knight Rider, Airwolf, Murder She Wrote, Magnum P.I., Miami Vice, Street Hawk and Features such as Weird Science, Brewster’s Millions and for many episodes of Amazing Stories, just to name a few.
Jim was with Universal Studios for three years, then left the Computer Graphics department and went to work in general Post Production positions as he wanted to become a Producer.
I asked him why he wanted to become a Producer? He gave me that big famous Jim Michaels smile and said, “I noticed they drove nicer cars than I did and I thought to myself, now that looks like a good job to have…I desired that lifestyle too.”
Since then Jim has worked as Post Production Supervisor working for Studios such as Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, CBS, and Paramount, and he even did a stint on one season of Pee Wee Playhouse!
What I found very interesting and revealing about Jim, and which undoubtedly has led to his success, was how he has always been able to see the big picture when it came to pursuing ones dreams. From believing in oneself to doing ones very best in every single job one undertakes from the most menial task to the most important and respecting everyone that one meets along the way.
Jim initially wasn’t sure he wanted to stay in the Entertainment Industry and still contemplated pursuing his other goal of becoming a Sports Agent, however he soon realized that he was having FUN, making a good living and that he had “mushroomed his first job into a career and he was really lucky because the first job is the hardest one to get.” ~ Jim Michaels
“I made sure that everyone I worked for would want to hire me again even if I didn’t want to work for them again.” Jim Michaels
Jim was raised with the strong work ethic of showing up to work on time, being dressed right and always doing your best no matter what. “Never say ‘you don’t know’, say, ‘I’ll find out!’” ~ Jim Michaels
He learned early on how critical it is to work harder than anyone else around you and that you will be rewarded later.
Jim’s first real big break as a producer came from Robert Singer, whom he has now produced many TV series with including SUPERNATURAL, Midnight Caller, Reasonable Doubts, Charlie Grace, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and Turks.
Jim also managed to work in a 4 year run with Chris Rock and Ali LeRoi on the TV series Everybody Hates Chris – which garnered a Golden Globe nomination for him and the producing team there as well as a NAACP Image award for Best Comedy Series.
Jim is definitely a self-driven man who knew from a very young age that he wanted to be successful and always believed in himself. The fear of being old and broke is very real and that drive is still in him today. He believes that you should live your dreams and always DREAM BIG!
Throughout his career Jim has filmed in nine different U.S. States, did two tours in Toronto and is currently on a six year run in Vancouver with SUPERNATURAL with another year already on the way.
Although home is in L.A., Jim loves to travel and has been to 21 different countries with tropical destinations rating high on his list for most desirable locales, as he loves the warm weather. Bali and Africa are two places he definitely desires to explore next.
WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Jared Padalecki, Jim Michaels, Jensen Ackles on set of SUPERNATURAL ~ Jim is holding the shows 2012 People’s Choice Awards for Favourite Drama and Favourite Fan Following / Photo Credit: Tara Larsen “JIM MICHAELS ~ LIVING HIS DREAM”
Jim and Jared Padalecki were having lunch in Vancouver and watching the NFL playoffs when they got the news via TWITTER that SUPERNATURAL had been renewed for their 11th season. This was the earliest renewal they had ever received.
WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: SUPERNATURAL 200th Episode Party ~ Jensen Ackles, Jim Michaels, Jared Padalecki / Photo Credit: Todd Aronauer “JIM MICHAELS ~ LIVING HIS DREAM”
Warner Bros. also threw an AMAZING 200th Episode Party in October 2014 to congratulate all the cast, crew and staff of SUPERNATURAL for such a successful run.
Finding a balance between work and play can be challenging in many careers.
However, Jim gave me a LITTLE sneak peek into his life in Vancouver saying that although he has an excellent relationship with his staff and crew, he makes a point of having a social life and network away from work stating that “if you don’t you end up talking about and living work (the show) 24/7.”
Through a mutual friend, Jim met Vernard Goud of LuvnGrace and fell into Vancouver’s Fashion/Modeling/Art/Photography/Music Industry and has since met a wonderful group of people. He truly believes that from a creative and social standpoint it is important to have many outside influences, and experience other aspects of a community beyond the Hollywood community within a city where you are located for work.
What is very important to note is that this man who used to work 80 hours a week, has dialed it back to about 50 hours realizing that you “Have to live life along the way!”
Jim always finds time to support causes that he believes in, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, founded by Morris Dees, who designed a program of Teaching Tolerance of others ~ be it race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity etc.
Jim supports Cystic Fibrosis, as he lost a sister at a very young age to this tragic disease. He also supports organizations like AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), equal pay for women, and the teaching of historical events and the owning up to historical mistakes so that they won’t be repeated.
Jim felt so passionate about one particular U.S. historical event that he became involved in the making of a Documentary via a Kick Starter Campaign where they pledged to raise $75,000 and surpassed their goal by raising over $108,000.
“Remember The Sultana Documentary” is “The Greatest U.S. Maritime disaster you’ve never heard of.” ~ website
The Sultana, a Mississippi Steamboat, that exploded on April 27, 1865, killing over 1,800 recently released Union POW soldiers received virtually no press as it was overshadowed by the news of the day that the American Civil War just ended and that President Abraham Lincoln had just been assassinated.
Jim, along with Mark Marshall (Producer), Sean Astin (Executive Producer), Matthew Egan (Executive Producer), Mike Marshall (Producer), Leah Cevoli (Co-Producer), Jeff Hoopingarner (Director & Editor), and Mark Alan Ray (Researcher) all truly believe that this story needed to be told, as far too many lives were lost in one incident on U.S. soil to have it rarely, if ever, get acknowledged in American History.
The movie will be premiered April 27th, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee on the 150th Anniversary of the sinking of the ship.
When I asked Jim if there was one person who he would like to spend the day with and why, his answer didn’t surprise me after learning how passionate he is against hate crimes, and how strongly he feels about today’s generation learning from history in order to not repeat past mistakes.
He replied “Thomas Jefferson” because he is an American Founding Father, and one of the principal authors of the Declaration of Independence (1776).
Jim said he would update him as to where the United States is today and ask him “Was this your intention? What are we doing wrong? And how would he fix it?” Jim feels that people are always trying to interpret what he said and wrote. He wants Thomas Jefferson himself to set the record straight and then Jim would publish it.
If I were to describe Jim to a potential client I would use the exact quote that he used to describe George Clooney, a man whom Jim one day hopes to work with on a movie.
He said that he has a “great sense and taste in scripts that he respects and a playful side to him while taking care of business.” ~ Jim Michaels
“If everything could ever feel this real forever, If anything could ever be this good again…” ~ EVERLONG (Foo Fighters) this line is from one of Jim’s favourite bands and couldn’t be more true to how he lives his life.
He is always striving for goals as they are constantly changing, but he never loses sight of the fact that “one phone call can change your life in both directions…your career can be over in one phone call, you can have a career in one phone call…and you always have to have an exit strategy and plan for the future and your retirement.” ~ Jim Michaels
WWW.METROLIVINGZINE.COM NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Brian Olea and Jim Michaels having FUN at a concert! / Photo Credit: Sean Clarke “JIM MICHAELS ~ LIVING HIS DREAM”
Both professionally and personally on Jim’s BUCKET LIST he would love to create his own TV series have it run for 5 or 6 years then retire at a young age, travel the world, and enjoy life with family and friends.
Jim has met and worked with some phenomenal people throughout his expansive career in the Entertainment Industry. He has had incredible opportunities to travel the world and make indelible changes in peoples lives that he has touched. Despite reaching a level of success that many only dream of…Jim’s personal goals are still not complete and he is constantly striving to fulfill his dreams believing that one should always live their dreams not someone else’s.
“I want to leave the planet in better shape than when I arrived.” ~ Jim Michaels
This true gentleman, with a generous heart, passionate soul and an abounding energy and zest for life, is without a doubt on the right path to making all of his dreams come true.
Jim Michaels ~ TWITTER@THEJIMMICHAELS
Shannon Little ~ MLZ 2015
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