1. Who are you, and what do you do?
My name is Michelle Leigh – what I do is a bit….expansive. I have been a Registered Nurse for 17 years, I am a single mom and have run a children’s theatre in my community since 2005. In 2013 I became the unintentional screenwriter. The story of what is now my film, “More than only,” became that story that would not leave me alone until I completed writing it – it was a story that I knew was a movie script from the first words.
2. #CreateYourOwnWork: what does that mean for you?
I think our lives in general are about “creating our own work” – we all must find what defines us and what makes us fulfilled and satisfied. When given the opportunity to create something, such as my film, it is a moment that could be a fork in the road – we can decide to follow that thought or ambition and see it through or we choose to walk the opposite direction. Either choice is valid for our own reasons. But for me, this challenge is one I will be forever grateful that I got to walk a journey of both figuratively and literally at times; molding, sculpting, painting, fostering and producing something that is borne from my will to create something I had not before dared to dream possible.
3. What have you gained by creating your own work; on the flip side, what challenges have you faced?
I would never have dreamed that I would write, produce and direct a feature film. It was absolutely nowhere on my concious list of to-do’s. Taking on the not inclusive list of challenges leading costumes, art department, music supervisor, props & location scout. The entire journey thus far has taken four years – it is to date the most unexpected and proud achievements filled with pure determination to see it through to the finish line.
There is always so much to learn and understand about new processes – much you learn as you go – other things if you are given strong and knowledgeable guides (which I found in my DOP, Darren Hartman, https://www.asynfilm.com/ ) who spent much time helping me with the guidance of his experiences and history.
4. What do you think is the most important skill for a creator building his/her career from scratch?
Fearlessness. There is no room to allow fear to drive or hamper decisions. There are TRULY no ideas not worth exploring. Once the choice is made to move forward – do it with full commitment. To not do so, or to be afraid is to deny the enjoyment of the journey itself. Each step, each success (or misstep) has something to teach and propel the project along – embrace it all, learn from it and live in the moments.
5. Which project of yours are you proudest of?
More Than Only is my first film – When I look back on the journey that has brought the film this far I can hardly believe that it isn’t a dream. It is out of sheer tenacity that I secured 14 locations, 42 talented actors, 75 extras, achieved the music rights (anyone who has traversed these grounds – bless you!), found a phenomenal DOP who hired a terrific crew. I will always look back on this film – whether I get to do another again or not, and always know I achieved something very rare and special that will hopefully long outlive me and mean something for the genre I have intended this story.
Seed&Spark Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHL6svhknpI
Update videos and closer up with the cast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93Z2NoTrSEI