Michael Jones was born in San Antonio and graduated from New York University Tisch School of the Arts, studying film. In New York, he was the former managing editor of Filmmaker Magazine and later became the executive editor of indieWIRE. His first screenplay, EvenHand, was produced in 2001 and screened at the AFI Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, and South by Southwest. Jones did an uncredited rewrite of City of Ghosts, directed by Matt Dillon, and has since written scripts for Columbia Pictures, United Artists, HBO, Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Fox Searchlight, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
After leaving Filmmaker Magazine he was later chosen as one of the magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film. During the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, Jones became the managing editor of film festivals for Variety and later promoted to the independent film beats. At Variety he also maintained blog called The Circuit and served as a festival correspondent for Sunday Morning Shootout on AMC TV. In 2011, his script In the Event of a Moon Disaster was featured on The Black List and optioned by FilmNation Entertainment. In 2013–2014, Jones wrote the English adaptations of Studio Ghibli films The Wind Rises and The Tale of Princess Kaguya, as well as a feature adaptation of Sesame Street.