“A Day In The Life” with TV series writer and director, Michael Hanley

Michael Hanley is an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre’s Writers Lab. Although sometimes his husband would disagree, Michael is a man of few words off the page. Pen to paper, however, he draws from life experiences to generate his work, gravitating readers by recreating events of the past that evoke a barrage of nostalgic feelings. When his headspace allows him to be in the present, Michael enjoys spending time with his husband. The two of them can often be seen roaming around the west end of Toronto in pursuit of a new local restaurant or watering hole. And, in true writer’s form, he loves time spent alone with his thoughts.

It is impressive, the degree of devotion that Michael has demonstrated in both his career and his marriage. He is a subtle man yet capturing, compassionate and firm. He’s dedicated beyond words and works his butt off. And patience- well he’s got that for days (he had to, marrying me). When I was volun-told to write this profile, I found it difficult to summate Michael in a short way. Then I figured that these are the most recent words I’ve gotten in edgewise, so have at it!

Written by Adam (The Husband. Patience-tester. Non-writer).

My mornings sometimes start with a run along the West Toronto Railpath.
Most of my day is spent writing. Usually on our balcony.
My partner, Adam, took a photo of me taking a photo for this article…
Michael Hanley
This is Adam and I at a wedding… clearly, before we hit the bar.
When I’m not writing alone, I’ll be in a writer’s room – glamourous, right?
Michael Hanley
Or I’ll be on set listening to actors make my bad writing sound good. (photo pre-Covid)
Michael Hanley
Occasionally, when I’m not writing, I direct films. (photo pre-Covid)
Michael Hanley
Or trying to relax… which I’m not really good at.

What hood are you in?

I live in Bloordale. It’s a wonderful area filled with character that will eventually be overrun by condos…

What do you do?

I mostly write for tv series. I do occasionally direct films, although they tend to cost me more money than they make.

What are you currently working on?

I’m primarily working on my own stuff right now. I have a series that’s in development with the lovely people over at eOne. I’m also developing a show called ‘Post-Modern Family’ with Harlow Creative — sort of a super-queer version of Succession. And I’m part of the initial cohort of the WarnerMedia Access x Canadian Academy Writers Program – where I’m developing a series concept that will hopefully gain me more exposure in the US market.

Where can we find your work?

In terms of produced work, I co-wrote an episode for the most recent season of The Next Step with the hilarious Jan Caruana that’s available on CBC Gem. I also wrote for The Snoopy Show which is on Apple TV+. Most recently, I was part of the writing team on season two of ‘The
Hardy Boys’, but that won’t be available to watch until 2022.

I have a short film that I wrote and directed called ‘You Will Still Be Here Tomorrow’. Depending on when you’re reading this, it may be available to stream since it’s still being shown at various online film festivals. It will be released nationally in December on a Canadian network… but I’m not sure how much I can talk about that. So if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure I’ll let you know!