Waxman was raised in Brooklyn, New York and is a graduate of Brooklyn College
He began his career as an assistant director in film, working on the short Julie's Story in 1984. He worked as an assistant director for the feature Manhunter in 1986. Waxman met his wife Linda on set of the film Manhunter. They married in 1988. Manhunter was directed by Michael Mann and marks the beginning of a long collaboration between Mann and Waxman. He worked with Mann as an assistant director for the first season of the television series Crime Story in the 1986 to 1987 season. He returned to the series for the second and final season.
Waxman then returned to film as an assistant director working on When Harry Met Sally... and Mann's second feature L.A. Takedown in 1989. He worked as an assistant director on Drop Dead Fred (1991), Last of the Mohicans (1992, directed by Mann), Highway to Hell (1992), Rudy (1993), Monkey Trouble (1994), and Heat (1995, directed by Mann). He was a producer and assistant director for the films A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994), Celtic Pride (1996), and Metro (1997). He reunited with Mann as an assistant director for The Insider (1999) and Ali (2001). He was an assistant director for Mann's television series Robbery Homicide Division in 2002. He joined Mann as an assistant director for the films Collateral (2004). He won the American Film Institute (AFI) Movie of the Year Award for Collateral, sharing the award with Mann and Julie Richardson. He also worked as an assistant director on the action film Transporter 2. He was an assistant director for Mann's feature remake of Miami Vice in 2006. He worked as Mann's assistant director again on Public Enemies (2009).
In the 2006 to 2007 television season, Waxman became an assistant director for the television series Friday Nights Lights. He made his episode directing debut on the series in 2008. He became a co-producer for the third season. He was promoted to producer for the fourth season. The producers won the AFI TV award for Programme of the Year for the fourth season. He remained a producer and director for the fifth and final season. He directed eleven episodes in total including the series finale "Always" in 2011. He was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Drama Series in 2011 as one of fifth season producers. He was also nominated for the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for his work on "Always". He also directed episodes of Trauma, Parenthood, The Event, and Breakout Kings while working on Friday Night Lights.
In the 2011 to 2012 television season he joined the crew of Once Upon a Time as an episode director, helming "Desperate Souls". He also directed episodes of Touch, Prime Suspect USA, Awake, and Grimm.
|Once Upon a Time: Season One|
|"Pilot":||"The Thing You Love Most":||"Snow Falls":||"The Price of Gold":||"That Still Small Voice":||"The Shepherd":||"The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter":||"Desperate Souls":||"True North":||"7:15 A.M.":||"Fruit of the Poisonous Tree":|
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|"Skin Deep":||"What Happened to Frederick":||"Dreamy":||"Red-Handed":||"Heart of Darkness":||"Hat Trick":||"The Stable Boy":||"The Return":||"The Stranger":||"An Apple Red as Blood":||"A Land Without Magic":|
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- Michael Waxman on Wikipedia