Michael Spiller began his career as a director and cinematographer after meeting fledgling indie director Hal Hartley in college. Spiller then served as the director of photography on Hartley's most critically and commercially successful movies, including "The Unbelievable Truth" (1989), "Trust" (1990) and "Amateur" (1994). Spiller's New York background made him a natural choice to work as a cinematographer on HBO's paean to Manhattan "Sex and the City" 1998-2004), it was on this series that he began his directing career. Spiller carved out a career directing some of his era's most popular sitcoms, including "Scrubs" (NBC 2001-08, ABC 2009-10), "The Mindy Project" (Fox/Hulu 2012-17), and "Modern Family" (ABC 2010- ), for which he won both a Primetime Emmy and a Director's Guild award for Outstanding Directing.
Born in New Jersey and raised in Brooklyn, Michael attended The State University of New York at Purchase, where he met his future long-term collaborator, director Hal Hartley. It was the beginning of a fruitful partnership, with Spiller serving as director of photography on all of Hartley's movies from the director's very first short film "Kid" in 1984 right up until 2001's "No Such Thing." In between, the pair collaborated on a series of critically-adored movies that would help define American independent cinema in the 1990s.
Spiller began his directing career during the second season of "Sex and the City" in 1999. His flair for comedy was quickly recognized, and after four years as the show's cinematographer and seven episodes as a director, Spiller moved to Los Angeles to pursue his new career. He moved into directing half-hour sitcoms just as the form was undergoing a stylistic re-invention that included more single-camera shows in which the director's choices became a key storytelling device. Perfectly placed to capture this new style, Spiller directed 20 episodes of innovative medical sitcom "Scrubs" before becoming one of the key directors on the immensely popular mockumentary sitcom "Modern Family." Continually in demand, Spiller directed multiple episodes of some of the era's most innovative sitcoms, including "New Girl" (Fox 2011- ), "Cougar Town" (ABC, 2009-12; TBS, 2013-15), and "Don't Trust The B---- in Apartment 23" (ABC 2012-13).
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Film Production - Main (Special)
Photographed his first film, Hal Hartley's short "Kid".
First directorial credit on "Sex and the City"
Nominated for the 2011 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series ("Modern Family")