Michael Bay freezes, walks off stage after painfully botched Samsung TV presentation (with video)

“During Samsung’s CES press event today, the company brought out super-action director Michael Bay to discuss the company’s new curved HDTVs,” Joshua Topolsky reports for The Verge.

“Unfortunately for Bay, Samsung appeared to have issues with the teleprompters being used to cue onstage presenters,” Topolsky reports. “Then Michael Bay had a mini-meltdown.”

Read more in the full article here.

Stephanie Smith reports for The New York Post, “‘Transformers’ director Bay was to appear with Samsung America exec [Joe Stinziano] cato promote the company’s new 150 inch curved televisions during the expo.”

“But when Bay took the stage to speak, the teleprompter malfunctioned. ‘The type is all off, sorry, but I’ll just wing this,’ Bay said as he tried to recover. ‘ wing it right now,'” Smith reports. “After Stinziano tried to encourage some ad-lib conversation, Bay gave up in a huff and sprinted off stage. The Twitterverse quickly blew up with commentary on Bay’s epic walk off.”

Read more in the full article here.

Michael Bay has since posted the following via his website:

Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES – I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down – then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.Michael Bay, January 6, 2014

MacDailyNews Take: Finally, Michael Bay does something entertaining!

Clearly nervous from the get go, when the prompter went, so did Bay’s train of thought. Stinziano certainly could’ve/should’ve helped him more, but he let Bay freeze up, hung him out to dry, and that’s that. Anyone who’s ever been onstage and been uncomfortable can understand what happened to Bay and commiserate. It’s not easy. It’s almost impossible if you’re not well prepared and the prompter gets lost – it can all go sideways in an instant.

The awkwardness captured in this video is the very definition of cringe-worthy.

These were real nerves. Bay is a guy who’s more used to being behind the camera than in front of it on a pretty big stage. Lots of iPhones were being held up (and even more as the meltdown proceeded). We do not believe that any of this was intended — Bay likely can’t act any better than he can direct and Samsung “marketing” is way too stupid to plan something smart like that — but the end result of Bay’s brain freeze is MUCH more attention to Samsung’s big curved TV (even if it is only as a background decoration) than a flawless presentation would’ve drawn, by a mile.

Another reason why we believe that this is not a contrived performance is because nothing about Samsung’s TV is mentioned. If this really were a viral marketing attempt, there would have been at least one spec or feature dropped into the “nervous meltdown” contrivance; the temptation would have been too great for marketing people to pass up.

(Plus, if Bay was acting, he’s a genius who puts Olivier and Streep combined to shame. He should quit directing immediately and hop out front of the camera pronto.)

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


    1. Awkward to funny would have been if Michael Bay pulled out his Apple iPhone or iOS device to read his lines from that were sent to him earlier in the day. That would have been great!

      Remember when Steve Balmer was demoing a new Windows OS and it was on a MacBook using VMWare or Parallel. He had know idea he was pitching a Microsoft product on an Apple OSX computer.

      1. Yeah, clearly Mr. Bay was not prepared for anything other than a rote recital of teleprompter text. Being in front of the camera and a live audience is much tougher than being behind the camera. Perhaps this is a growth experience that will give him more empathy for his actors/actresses during a shoot.

        Some people are naturally suited for live presentations. Most are not. Speaking as one who had great difficulty learning to be more comfortable and natural when giving briefings, I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Bay.

      2. James Cameron and most other directors would have not have any trouble “winging it.” At that point you are given free reign to have fun with it and have it more off the cuff. He must have been partying late the night before just to go blank like that or is not as smart a guy as he would have us believe.

  1. That was painful to watch. I do feel for the guy.

    But . . . the dribble that was his speech before the teleprompter went bad was just as bad. Perhaps the malfunctioning teleprompter did us all a favor.

    1. Having been behind the scenes for some trade shows where execs of several companies go up to speak of our successes and benefits to them, it’s very possible the speech was written for Bay by Samsung, and he read through it properly and signed off on it, but did not memorize it. Normally that’s not an issue; that’s what teleprompters are for, after all.

      1. I get that he wouldn’t have memorized it, but I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t have rehearsed this. He should’ve known roughly what was going to happen.

  2. Ummm not convinced. Samsung marketing is all about “going viral” even at ridiculous financial and brand cost for all involved. They probably rehearsed this very well.

    Either way I can hear the champagne corks popping at the Cheil HQ.

  3. Another win for Steve Jobs.
    Nobody can dream about Steve and nobody can present like him.

    Michael, if you only practiced and really knew about the product you are endorsing.

  4. Reminds me when Steve Jobs was giving a keynote a several years back. Technical issue happened with the presentation and he turn it into a opportunity to share a story of him and Woz back in the day. No one has that type of class anymore.

  5. I’m sorry but even if the teleprompter screwed up (why did he even need a teleprompter to describe his film making method in the first place) he should have been able to handle it better than this.

    A director is not a passive participant in the people process of making a movie. He has to deal with individuals and groups.

    He is not a shy artist that painted the greatest masterpiece in his studio and introduced it on stage. I don’t see being uncomfortable with speaking in front of people as an excuse for not being able to ad-lib.

      1. No doubt. LOL.

        It just seems like unless you are a Woody Allen (type person), as a director you would be confident and good on your feet.

        I get the idea that his heart wasn’t in it and that is why he failed to perform. He didn’t believe. He wasn’t passionate about it at all.

  6. I feel for Bay. He was clearly extremely nervous, but also unprepared. Most of the blame for the latter goes to the Samsung PR team, who apparently eschewed appropriate practice time for a teleprompter.

    BTW, nervousness in this situation is not the same as being shy – stagefright can affect even people that have plenty of experience in front of others.

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