Three-time Academy Award winning Sound Re-recording Mixer Mike Minkler was recently appointed the new Chief Creative Officer and Managing Director of Moving Pictures Media Group (MPMG). With that new title, Mike now overseas some of Hollywood’s newest and most exciting independent titles, making him a pretty big deal in the entertainment industry!
The Levity Ball sat down with Mike in Los Angeles to discuss his new role at MPMG, his over 250 motion pictures he has worked on, his collaborations with Quentin Tarantino, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, and George Lucas, and everything Hollywood…
You have accomplished so much in your career and are truly iconic in the cinema audio industry… what would you say tops the list overall of your achievements to date?
Well of course the Oscars for BLACKHAWK DOWN, CHICAGO and DREAMGIRLS. Three BAFTAS, three Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award, an Emmy, two Satellite Awards and an MPSE Golden Reel. But I am equally proud to have been such a part of movie history with my work on other films, and being an innovator of new technologies. STAR WARS is the film that really challenged me and I believed then as I do now, that it defined me. It defined my work ethic, the level of creativity that I would always aspire to, and the willingness to break the rules. By that I mean, do the unexpected and push the conventional wisdom. Make history every time out.
Why are you so excited about this next chapter in your career of becoming the new CCO of MPMG?
MPMG is a company that is about to make a shift and I am proud to help steer the company in this new exciting direction. We are thinking about the new international filmmaking landscape and are positioned to immediately deliver a wide variety of projects through our Platinum Universe Partnership.
What changes or visions do you hope to bring to the current team at MPMG?
The MPMG team is growing and we will continue to grow with eyes wide open and determination to make quality films with quality partnerships.
What current title(s) with MPMG are you excited for people to see?
I am excited about a few titles of ours. One is 100 Days of Death, an apocalyptic zombie thriller with a twist to the traditional genre. It takes place from the prospective of a man as he describes the apocalypse as written in his found journal; The Hoodlum Preacher, which is based on the true story of a preacher who goes from the pulpit to prison and back. It documents the trials and tribulations of a man growing up in the hood, and how Reverend Barr ultimately finds his true purpose in life; and Mad Mex, a comedy/drama based on Juan Garcia, who was a mix martial artist of the Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris era who was infamous in the 70’s, but inexplicably disappeared. In addition to these titles, there are also over 1300 reasons to be excited about and to do business with MPMG, as we shall see in the upcoming months.
You’ve worked with all the big directors, is there someone you haven’t worked with yet that you’d like to?
Oh yes! Robert Zemeckis, JJ Abrams, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson, David Fincher, and Jiang Wen (again).
Who was your role model growing up and why?
Although not my first film experience, my earliest “love affair” with movies began with the works of David Lean and his huge canvas of filmmaking. But also, I have always gravitated towards the rebels and risk takers. And I work for one of the greatest of all time, Quentin Tarantino. So I am living out my filmmaking dream.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
It came from James William Guercio, the Record/Film producer and founder of the legendary rock group CHICAGO. “Never be afraid to ask a stupid question. You will either be given useful knowledge or you will find out that the person giving it to you is full of shit.”… “The only way to learn is to make every mistake there is, but just once.”
What is your advice to others looking at getting into the entertainment industry?
Entertainment is as essential as air. But “entertainment” and “industry” have a fickle coexistence. The Industry is constantly changing in today’s world, and is hard to define. It’s a tough way to make a living but highly rewarding when you can plant your footprint so just keep trying. Luck is involved as far as “being at the right place at the right time” but nothing beats out hard work.
Oh my gosh… Our political system! Our educational system! Our legal system!… Oh you said one…. OK, TOLERANCE.
And final question: What would you like to be remembered for?
Being the best in my generation. I think that those before me would appreciate what I have brought to the craft. I think that those whom I have worked alongside will remember me for striving for excellence and innovation, perhaps pushing a bit too hard along the way. I may not be remembered as being the best of all time, but I hope that I influenced others who may achieve that sort of recognition.