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Fray Day 8
October - December, 2004
The fray organization is devoted to the art of the personal story. We hold events where real people tell true stories in real time. And you're invited. Previously
Fray Cafe Austin 4
14 March 2004
Austin, TX
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Fray Day 8 LA: Mike Bonifer Featured
Posted by Anderson on Wednesday 29 September 04 @ 4:02PM

Mike Bonifer is a storyteller. Sometimes he tells stories on behalf of clients ranging from major media companies to political candidates; sometimes he tells them for himself, sharing with audiences his own unique view of the world.

The stories he tells are lively, entertaining, deeply rooted in myth, and, more often than not, champion life’s underdogs and unsung heroes.

After growing up on a farm/theme park (yes, that’s right) in Indiana, Mike attended the University of Notre Dame. Upon graduating from Notre Dame, he enlisted in the corporate army as a cake mix and peanut butter salesman for Procter & Gamble. It didn’t take him long to realize his calling was elsewhere, and soon he began his journey as a storyteller, writing for local newspapers in the Midwest, and co-authoring (with L. G. Weaver) “Out of Bounds,” a humorous history of Notre Dame football, which was a Sports Illustrated Book Club selection.

Upon moving to Los Angeles, he became a senior staff publicist for Walt Disney Pictures, where, among his many assignments, he managed publicity for “Tron” the first feature film to make extensive use of computer-generated imagery.

He then formed Mica Productions to produce marketing media and original programming for Disney Studios and The Disney Channel. Mica’s documentary series “The Disney Family Album,” was twice nominated for a Cable ACE award for Best Informational Series. Mica’s clients included The Walt Disney Studios, The Disney Channel, Sea World, Columbia Pictures, MGM Studios, LMNO Productions and Epic Productions. During this time, Mike wrote two “making of” books, “The Art of Tron,” and “The Making of Dick Tracy.”

In 1994, he co-wrote and directed the feature film, “The Lipstick Camera” for Triboro Entertainment. Also in 1994, he produced the “Toy Story” web site for Disney and subsequently formed a small internet company which produced Disney’s movie web sites for two years, including Disney’s first live webcast for the premiere of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” from the Superdome in New Orleans. He then joined Boxtop Interactive in Los Angeles as Creative Director. Boxtop merged with iXL, Inc., where Bonifer became Senior Vice President, Creative. At iXL, his clients included Mountain Dew, Merrill Lynch, Franklin Covey, Hot Topic and Frito-Lay, among others. While at iXL, he produced (with Moon Zappa) a year-long webisodic series called “Icheewawa” that was sponsored by Doritos.

During his tenure as an internet executive, Bonifer became an authority the uses of storytelling for media design, the production of multi-channel narratives, and in brand management. In 2001, he became Vice President of Creative for Vidyah, a video streaming company. Later in 2001, his original feature film script, “Band Camp” was purchased by Universal Pictures and producer Larry Gordon, prompting him to leave the post-bubble internet behind and resume his nascent entertainment career.

He has recently completed two more original feature film scripts, “The Legend of Cowboy Bob” about his father, a Midwestern farmer who dreamed he was a cowboy; and “Radio Girls.” about two young girls whose father was the controversial 1930s radio star, Phillips Lord. He also recently completed a script for a television pilot entitled “The Privateer” about the life of a young professional motocross racer. In 2004, he wrote and directed “Dirt,” a DVD series which chronicles the 2004 Supercross season. He is currently in post-production on a documentary called “Finding Bill Murray” about his quest to get Bill Murray to star as the title character in “The Legend of Cowboy Bob.” He is developing a series of children’s films in collaboration with Highlights Magazine, and a reality series entitled “Capitals of the World” – a comic’s tour of cities and towns in the U.S. which have named themselves the World Capitals of Something-or-Other.

Mike writes a weekly column, “Parts of the Buffalo,” for a local community newspaper, and he can get around to it, he is writing a book about his experiences inside the dotcom bubble. He has two sons, Adam, 19 and Alex, 16, of whom he is very proud.

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