I’ve spent the past few days with Logan and Noah Miller who wrote, directed and starred in ”Touching Home” opening tonight. I immediately felt comfortable with them since I have three brothers. But you will too if you catch them at the post film Q&As after the Fri & Sat shows. The Millers are sweet, kind, considerate, creative, uber smart, down to earth, engaging, entertaining — and it’s no surprise that they both have girlfriends. Their infectious enthusiasm and amazing tenacity also comes through in their book, “Either You’re In or In the Way.” Buy it at TT Fri or Sat and they will gladly sign it.
TT staff member and music/film writer Gina Moccio met the Bros and wrote this article. It’s a great snapshot. Enjoy!
“What You Don’t Know, You’ll Figure Out”
Logan and Noah Miller: the forces behind Touching Home
By Gina Moccio
When Logan and Noah Millers’ dream of becoming professional baseball players stopped short, they decided to become involved with film. They found out they were excellent writers and put their ideas into screenplays. Touching Home had been around for a while, and all their friends and family knew the film existed on paper. Though, when the boys’ father passed away alone and in jail, it sent them into a frenzy of guilt and grief. They made a vow to tell their father’s story; Touching Home would be a reality in one year. Armed with seventeen credit cards, a grant from the Panavision New Filmmaker Program, a contract in the form of a handshake from Ed Harris, and enough passion and determination to turn the Earth upside down, the Millers were able to make it happen.
With no physical experience in the filmmaking world and an operation of this size to pull off between themselves, people wonder how they did it. Just how were they able to tackle their doubt? The negativity of others? The answer is that the feeling never went away. “We felt terribly inadequate,” said Noah. Though he didn’t agree with the use of the word naive because it’s often used to limit someone’s thinking; he knew they needed to learn as quickly as possible. “And we knew we were starting with a considerable deficiency.”
He told a story about George Lucas, the Stars Wars tycoon. Apparently, Lucas’ crew didn’t believe in the first film and would walk off set as soon as their time was up whether they were in the middle of a scene or not. Lucas actually checked himself into the hospital during the editing process because he thought he was having a heart attack. He thought he had made a bomb. A bomb that as of 2008, ended up becoming the third-highest-grossing film series in the world. Logan said they thought about that when they were reflecting and writing their book, Either You’re In or You’re In the Way. He understood they’d always be underprepared for the next step, but it was just a part of jumping in. “I think it’s good to be honest and outrageously optimistic,” said Noah. “You have to be honest with where you’re at and then shoot for Andromeda.”
Having each other to share the responsibilities with certainly helped. When one Bro was down, the other Bro would build him back up. “It’s a blessing for sure,” said Logan. “But sometimes we argue and work against each other.” Since both brothers acted in the film, they played both a character and the director. “It’s tough for me to take direction from him,” said Noah. “I trust what he says, but he’s always telling me stuff during the day; he directs me all the time in life. We butt heads on everything, but we eventually come to an agreement. No one acts unilaterally.”
Logan and Noah’s film education consisted of pouring themselves into books on directing, producing, and other major bones of the film body. Putting together Touching Home with the help of several loyal friends and crew members they had gathered was the ultimate filmmaking crash course. Usually this is the part where, “they could write a book about what they learned” would come in, except they already did. But the most standout lesson was, “what you don’t know, you’ll figure out,” said Logan. “So many times you don’t start something because you don’t feel that you have the requisite knowledge– whatever that is.” Noah added, “Hire really good people. Explain to them what you want and let their creative minds take over. They’ll bring you things that you never even thought of.”
The Millers’ favorite part of creating Touching Home was the sound mixing at Skywalker Ranch. Finally they were able to slow down and let time be one of the decision makers. Logan enjoyed the methodical aspect and the time to reflect on what they had done. “Or hadn’t,” added Noah with a laugh. “We now had a movie that worked.”
Reality is a gray zone when you’re talking about the pursuit of dreams. It’s also a matter of perspective. Though, if there’s anything a person should do with their dreams, it’s “go after it. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it,” said Logan. Feeling insecure and uneasy is just a part of the process, he explained. “Nobody is any smarter than you are and nobody knows you better than you do.. What do you think Bro?” “I agree. I concur,” said Noah with a laugh.