Lee David Zlotoff is an award winning writer, producer and director of film and television with well over a hundred production credits to his name. Most notably among them, Lee was the writer and creator of the iconic and international hit TV series, "MacGyver," which has since joined the dictionary and become a global meme for resourcefulness and ingenuity. Lee was also the writer/director of the independent feature film, "The Spitfire Grill," which won the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and has gone on to become a highly successful musical.
In keeping with the spirit of effective problem solving, most recently Lee has gone public with The MacGyver Method: Breakthroughs On Demand, a unique creative process that allows anyone to tap into the vast resources of their subconscious to develop creative solutions to virtually any problem. Lee has advised several organizations and companies, including Harvard University and Zappos, teaching their teams how to implement this method and optimize innovation. Currently, The University of Michigan is conducting research on The MacGyver Method to evaluate its efficacy among college students.
Lee began applying the steps of The MacGyver Method long before he ever coined the term. He was working in a demanding and high-stress environment in which he was responsible for constant deliverables. Lee found that his best ideas came when he was outside of the office because the conscious mind is not the best part of the brain with which to solve problems, but that such work was ideally suited to the subconscious. Knowing this, Lee sought tasks to occupy his conscious mind as a means to allow his subconscious to thrive at peak levels. He began to think about tasks that were repetitive, familiar and engaging in order to unlock new ideas and successful creative approaches. And it was while he was writing the pilot to MacGyver that he refined and perfected this counter-intuitive but effective process into the simple method it is today.
Realizing the MacGyver character's unique potential to affect positive global change, Lee has also established The MacGyver Foundation, a nonprofit charity that supports individuals and organizations that best embody the core values of MacGyver: non-violent conflict resolution, resourcefulness and creativity with regard to issues of sustainability, and approaching even the seemingly most intractable of problems with a sense of humility and humor. Lee teaches the MacGyver method as a way to approach the world's toughest problems—providing safe water, food, waste management, and the effects of climate change—highlighting, more than ever, the need for global citizenship. Lee says, "We fight too many useless battles—there is a way to apply these principles to each and every one of these critical issues. There is a way to do more with less."
As a result of unceasing popular demand since his character's creation in 1985, Lee is now bringing MacGyver back in a range of formats, most recently as a sold-out comic book series co-written by New York Times best-selling author, Tony Lee. In September 2013, the comic book series was adapted into a graphic novel published by Image Comics. Finally, a MacGyver feature film is in the works as well as apps, games, new MacGyver fiction, and educational curriculums based on the character.
In addition, Lee has been a regular contributor to MAKE, the wildly popular DIY magazine writing both features and the Makeshift column in which readers were challenged to "MacGyver" their way through a given scenario with limited options and resources. Lee has also taught writing for screen and TV at the prestigious USC School of Cinema Arts and Columbia College of Chicago among others, and regularly gives talks on the keys to making it in the entertainment business to film schools and universities across the country.
Born and raised in New York City, Lee attended Brooklyn Technical High School before attending St. John's College in Annapolis, MD. Best known as "The Great Books" school because its curriculum consists exclusively of reading and discussing the great books of the western culture, Lee graduated Cum Laude from St. John's where he has since served for more than a decade on the Board of Visitors and Governors and now serves on The Presidents' Council.
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