In The Spotlight With: Mike Thompson

Thursday 31 October 2019

Kicking off the first of our brand new interview series: In The Spotlight - where we showcase once a month one of our many talented readers of Into The Script - Director Mike Thompson! 

We are so happy to welcome Mike as this month's Spotlight Guest,  and to hear his top tips and advice. 

What inspired you to start working in the film industry? 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

 Honestly, I think it was just falling in love with movies when I was a kid. 

My parents were big into movies and since I grew up in a small town with not much to do, it was just an easy decision to go to the movies or at least hit up the video store. I wasn’t particularly sheltered from anything so I just watched a ton of different movies in all different genres. I did have a relatively late start though, mostly because I always thought the idea of working in this industry just seemed too big, that you had to move to LA and all of that stuff to have a career. 

It really wasn’t until I started working at this ad firm as an art director that I could use what seemed like years of useless film knowledge and apply it to the commercial and branding projects I was working on. It was all kind of downhill after that, I just kept trying new things on every project and grew as a filmmaker. 

Hopefully, it stays that way. 

Tell us about a project you’re currently working on! 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

Right now, I’m in post on my latest short film titled Blackbird, which we shot early this 
year. The way I’ve been explaining it to people is by calling it a sci-fi love story if that makes any sense? 

It’s about a couple debating the idea of uploading the wife’s consciousness to an AI after she’s impaired in a serious car accident. It’s been an interesting process, using green screen and vfx and actually having a crew for a change.

I’m excited though, the edit is coming together so well and the script has been advancing through the rounds at Screencraft’s short film script competition, so fingers crossed that momentum keeps up. 

Other than that, I’m always working on new commercial projects and music videos. 

What 3 things spark your creativity the most? 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

Ummm coffee, reading, and music. 

Coffee is an obvious one, I’m not exactly a morning person, but, It kind of varies between the last two, but, I love getting inspiration from real life stories or articles and then once I start writing something I really enjoy throwing on film scores that match the tone of what I’m writing. It’s weird, but I feel like it helps me with pacing and tone. 

If you could choose anyone, who would you most love to work with one day? 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

It just depends on the role I guess? 

I’d love to work with Ridley Scott somehow, maybe in a producer/director context? A lot of the first films I saw when I was a kid were his and I just admire him so much. 

The guy is always working! 

As far as actors go, Jake Gyllenhaal is always putting out amazing work. Oh, and Roger Deakins somehow, I can stare at all of his films like paintings, just gorgeous work. 

Do you have a genre you’re most passionate about or do you like to do a bit of everything? 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

I like a little bit of everything for sure. 

That’s actually why I worked so hard to make sure all of my early music videos were so different. I wanted to show that I had range and could handle as many genres and styles as possible. 

Horror, thriller, western, whatever, I’m game.

What films have been the most influential to you and why? 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

Blade Runner - The first movie that made me want to explore what a director was. 

Tokyo Story - The first movie that showed me that camera angles and movement are nothing without a great story. 

The Shining - The first horror movie I remember truly scaring me while I was watching it and then lingering in my mind for weeks after. 

Is there any advice you would like to give to people who want to start working in the industry but are being held back by something? 

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

I’d just say to very heavily examine what is holding them back. I think a lot of times we as 
artists get fixated on one project and see limitations in it and then spend way too much time figuring that out instead of making something else and coming back to it. 

I wrote a short and kept looking and looking for this location that just never materialized and ended up just being stuck for months because I was so attached to this project instead of looking around at different ideas that I could execute and get made at that time. 

It’s like that with screenwriting too, ya know? 

You get attached to pitching certain projects just because they’re finished or the closest thing to being done and then you’ll sit through tons of ‘No’s’ instead of spending time writing more work that get a different response. 

Assuming you had to give an Oscar acceptance speech in 5 minutes, who are the people you would thank right now?

Photo Credit to Mike Thompson

My wife, Morgan, my co-writer/DP partner Tommy Johns, and the cast and crew of the 

project, it takes a village ya know?

If you would like to find out more about Mike and his projects, you can follow him on Instagram here!

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