A genesis of filmmaking: Southeast Alumnus Larry Miller
‘A genesis of filmmaking.’
That’s how Southeast Alum Larry Eugene Miller II described the current stage of what he hopes will be a long and successful career.
Miller has yet to break into the film industry but refuses the title of “starving artist.”
“I’ve considered moving out to L.A. and trying to get my foot in the door that way, but if you rush that stuff, you’re destined to fail,” Miller said. “I’d rather work hard to fund my projects, then end up out there, already established.”
Currently working full time at Pi Pizza on Washington Boulevard in St. Louis, Miller is simultaneously involved with a number of entrepreneurial endeavors including a film company called “Restless Indigo Films,” a music label under the same name and a soon-to-launch clothing brand called “Crew Major Clothing.”
Having moved back home to St. Louis after finishing his degree, he said his current inspiration lies with the city.
“I want to use St. Louis as the backdrop and starting point, and build around that,” he said. “Local settings, local actors; have a free showing at the Tivoli or one of the other indie theaters. People appreciate that.”
While at Southeast, Miller and his team took first place in the 2016 Faultline Film Festival for “Best Other,” (a category that lends itself to non-specific genres) for “Charlie’s Matrix,” a still in-progress, full-length production about family, guilt and mental health.
“Faultline [Film Festival] is really beneficial for us as student filmmakers,” Miller said. “SEMO is a small school; we’re not in New York or L.A., so having that process gives a real-life sense of what we’re going to be doing. It’s career prep, and the whole community gets involved.”
He said his education in film at Southeast made him realize the school does not make the filmmaker, rather it’s student’s hard work and experience gained. As for the Mass Communications: TV/Film Department, he said professors James Dufek and Fred Jones are hidden gems.
“They really know what they are talking about,” he said. “They are super real with you. They are going to tell you how it is. I think any student will tell you about how confident they made us moving forward. I feel like we really got our money’s worth. And it’s the freedom they gave us too.”
Miller was director for “Charlie’s Matrix,” and said being behind the camera is where he thrives, but he also likes to have his hands in all parts of the production process. As for writing for the screen, Miller said, his process is strenuous.
“I like the idea of spending weeks or months pulling an idea out of your own head,” he said.
In terms of genre, Miller operates in the realm of fictional realism, but also has a passion for horror films. He said consuming massive amounts of horror movies his freshman year at Southeast solidified his desire to pursue a career in film.
Miller’s current mentality on creating art resolves around his pseudonym, “Spliff Mansa,” which he described to mean a master of duality, in terms of perspective, balance and understanding.
“I try to look at everything from both sides; everything that’s real is in the middle,” Miller said.
For current film students, Miller said he would encourage them to stay behind the camera and keep pushing toward personal goals. And as for the outlook of his career in film, he said, “Keep on the lookout and give me a couple years.”