By Michael Wiese
Book Review by Ann Baldwin
Michael Wiese is a producer, director, author, and publisher with over 35 years of experience in film, television, pay TV, and home video. After producing the highly popular Hardware Wars (a Star Wars parody), Michael was an entertainment executive with Showtime and later Vice President of Vestron Video where he developed, produced, and/or acquired over 300 programs which earned over $100 million wholesale revenues. He was responsible for creating video lines for National Geographic, Smithsonian, NOVA, Audubon, and PBS. He has presented filmmaking seminars for Kodak (at the Cannes Film Festival), The AFI, The International Film & TV workshops and many others throughout the world. Michaels films include Dolphin Adventures, The Beach Boys: An American Band, Diet for a New America, The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas: A Pilgrimage to Oracle Lake (Tibet), The Shaman and Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms (Peru), and Talking with Spirits: Journeys into Balinese Spirit World (Bali). He has written eight film books to include Film & Video Budgets and The Independent Film & Videomaker’s Guide. Today, he oversees Michael Wiese Productions (MWP) which publishes a line of over 150 professional filmmaking books that are used in the major motion picture studios and in over 700 film courses throughout the world; along with, his newest imprint, Divine Arts Media. In Michael’s new book, Onward & Upward: Reflections of a Joyful Life (Michael Wiese Productions 2013), he takes you on an incredible journey and adventurous ride through the 65 years of his life as a filmmaker and spiritual seeker.
From his hometown of Champaign, Illinois to San Francisco, Japan, Los Angeles, Bali, India, Africa, Peru, Bahamas, New York, and Europe, Michael weaves hundreds of short stories from his life-travels inward and abroad into one of the most colorful tapestries of the human experience. His filmmaking and spiritual quest is told with candor, humor, passion, and enlightenment.
The people he met, worked with, and/or became friends with came from interesting and diverse backgrounds such as inventor Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller, actress Shirley MacLaine, est founder Werner Erhard, the late film critic Roger Ebert, Peruvian curandero Don Jose Campos, musicians from The Beach Boys, the late Bali Spiritual Master Dewa Nyoman Batuan, comedians Whoopi Goldberg, Robin Williams, and Billy Crystal, mythologist Joseph Campbell, attorney Melvin Belli, and holistic physician Deepak Chopra to name a few.
His curious, brave, creative, and humorous soul, lead him to try a vast array of new experiences and experiments such as trying ayahuasca with a shaman in Peru, swimming with wild dolphins in the Bahamas, playing in a rock band, hitchhiking through Kenya, pitching one of his films to Francis Ford Coppola by having it snuck into his home and placed on his bed, a brief swim in the Ganges river in India, and climbing high into the Himalayas in Tibet to film The Sacred Sites of the Dalai Lamas.
Onward & Upward is, by far, one of the most intriguing stories I’ve read; I couldn’t put it down and highly recommend it.
To connect with Michael Wiese you can visit his website at http://www.mwp.com/ and purchase a copy of Onward & Upward at Amazon and MWP.