Q: What kind of background does Michael Moore have? Did he do anything before his documentaries?

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Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Michael Moore was, perhaps not surprisingly, an angry young print journalist before finding his muse in the video medium. And also not surprisingly, considering how often it comes up in his films, his early work was very focused on the politics and economy of his hometown of Flint, Mich.

Stories of his youth say that he was a rabble rouser from the start. For example, he was an Eagle Scout in his teens, and for his scout project he made a slideshow about pollution in his town. A couple of years later, he ran for his local school board on a platform of deposing his school's principal and vice-principal.

At 22, he made his entry into the print journalism game by founding the alternative weekly newspaper The Flint Voice. Around this time he was also freelancing for National Public Radio -- his first taste of multimedia.

His biggest journalism credit was his brief stint as editor of the respected, left-leaning investigative-journalism magazine Mother Jones. That stint ended badly, though -- he was fired after just four months on the job, either because of poor performance or because he clashed with the publishers on a political question, depending on whose side you believe in the wrongful-dismissal suit he brought against the magazine (which was settled out of court).

Soon after that, he burst onto the film scene with his 1989 documentary "Roger & Me." It was a huge hit, at one point becoming the highest-grossing American documentary of all time. It also earned loads of awards, and not only documentary ones -- it was named best film at the Toronto, Vancouver and Chicago film festivals. 

With that sort of success, Moore never looked back, and he's been churning out his particular brand of comedy-doc ever since.


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