A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Mike Stanley was raised by his mom in Martinsville, Virginia. An avid reader by age 6 and a natural mimic, he was encouraged to take a drama class his junior year in high school, leading to numerous Outstanding Actor nods at the district, regional, and Commonwealth levels. Later pursuing an acting career in the theatre, Mike interned at the world-famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, where one summer he discovered the company's basement library and read every play he could get his hands on. But Mike departed Barter later that same summer, unchallenged and unmotivated, until he joined a college friend and colleague's theatre. There he performed in both children's and main stage productions, developing the company's seasons. Continuing to read plays nonstop, Mike committed to the Three and Five Act structure of storytelling, and began writing his own scripts.
Commercial acting work and minor indie film roles (such as Box of Moon Light (1996) with John Turturro , Sam Rockwell, and Dermot Mulroney; Above Suspicion (2000) with Scott Bakula and Annabella Sciorra ) led Mike to Los Angeles. Mike went from actor to writer in L.A. in just 5 years, the commercial strike of 2001 and the rise of reality television fueling his evolution. He went on to write and produce his own material, most notably the "Within trilogy" with collaborators Ross Seymour and Duke Kahana. (The film Within: Terror Resides... (2011) (V), shot in 2005, still seeks distribution as of 2011.)
Seeing more and more runaway productions going to Canada, and having little taste for reality television after working briefly as a contributing writer and improv actor for several failed reality projects, Mike decided to move to Knoxville, Tennessee, for a steady paycheck working in production for a major home shopping channel. Living here Mike met his current filmmaking partner Kelly Burke through an L.A. roommate, and ultimately Skyshot Films was born. Skyshot has now produced a plethora of regional multiple award winners including The Suffering (2009) , Plain Jane (2010) and Lenny Leibowitz (2010) . A feature and more shorts are in the pipeline for 2013 and beyond.