In our latest Minds Behind the Magic series, Lynette Chong uncovers more about Leigh Miller and his move from video games to film.
Introducing Leigh Miller, filmmaker.
*Lynette: Leigh – you started out as a self-taught artist in the video games industry. What made you decide to make filmmaking your passion and your life?
*Leigh: Without really knowing why at the time, I’d always held film as the highest standard in creative endeavours. Working in video games was a lot of fun but I wanted to create my own stories, or be the main driving force behind the stories being told, rather than simply just being involved. Of course at the time I just thought people who made movies were cool and it looked like a fun thing to do.
There’s also a lot of sitting behind a desk 9-5 office work with video games, very creative people doing amazing things, but I needed to get away from the desk and office environment, directing gets you up and about a lot, it’s a good mix. You sit at home or in an office and write and research, then you go and meet people, actors and crew and see locations, go on set, it’s a great mix.
*Lynette: Having worked on films as a professional director as well as a freelancer on passion projects, what do you think makes a great film from your perspective? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
*Leigh: I have a different perspective on films now, I still enjoy great films and love to be entertained and have a laugh, but the craft of filmmaking is the most important and interesting thing for me.
A film is different disciplines coming together to create something more, there’s no one thing that should stand out as being the main focus for me, all aspects of filmmaking, writhing, acting, music etc are all of equal importance. In saying that, it all begins with a script, that’s the first step, and sometimes the most difficult. So you want to get that right.
*Lynette: Trailer Music II is very unlike the rest of your work. Why have you decided to embark on this new journey and venture into this new collaboration?
*L: A new challenge is always interesting and getting the opportunity to direct something that’s a part of a bigger piece created by other filmmakers, and then have that screened in front of people is exciting. Writing specifically to fit a score was also intriguing, and an interesting process.
*Lynette: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life creating film?
*L: Get on set a lot in the beginning, meet people, have fun. You can go to film school, but you don't have to, it might help, but it also might not at all, at the very least you’ll meet people. There’s no one way to do, and I’m still figuring it out, ask me again in 10 years.
I will say once you’ve figured out what it is you want to do specifically within film, be it directing, or shooting or whatever, go after that. It’s quite easy to get type cast, so to speak, in rolls you fell into because you were handy at them. Although getting the experience at first is imperative, eventually you will need to say no to the roles you don’t want, so you can be get the ones you do. If you don’t see yourself as what you want to be no one else will, and they won’t think of you when it comes time. I think this maybe more true of writers and directors than other roles.
Catch more of Leigh at Melbourne Music Week!
Trailer Music II - 12 & 13 Nov 2016, 8pm.