A Dollar & A Dream: Video Director Mills Miller Talks About His Blooming Career

Behind every man is a story. Thus is the case for video-director/producer and founder of Mills Miller Media, LLC, Mills Miller.

Hailing from New York City — Uptown and The Bronx, specifically — Miller has managed to build his interactive media service from the ground up. Equipped with a vision and a dream, not to mention the company’s savvy business motto: “best quality for the best price,” Mills Miller Media has produced a number of music videos like Fabolous’ “Body Ya,” Fred Da Godson’s “I Am,” and a couple of Bun B’s clips, among a slew of others. Most recently, he was fortunate enough to direct Jadakiss’ “Toast To That” video.

Taking a break from his busy schedule, Miller spoke to XXLMag.com about how he got his start, his aspirations and his experiences crafting visuals for some of hip-hop’s brightest stars. Lights, Camera, Action.—Ralph Bristout

XXL: Tell me a little about Mills Miller Media, how did it come about?

Mills Miller: It’s actually my name but, when I originated the company I wanted [the] name to reasonate and kind of be something easy for people to catch on to. Once I started with the Mills Miller, it started to roll out of people’s tongues easy. When I started the business and was filing the paperwork, the person who I was filing the paperwork with said that name was catchy and this was before I did any video so, that’s how the name Mills originated.

How long have you been filming?

I graduated college in 2008, so two years and a half.

That’s a pretty short time based on your catalog and all.

I guess I’m blessed and I just haven’t really realized how hard I’ve been going, man. I try to shoot everything that I could shoot and everything I try to shoot I always try to make sure that it is at the highest quality.

Sort of like the group’s motto, “Best Quality for the Best Price.”

Right, absolutely. There’s a lot of videos out there, and I’m not saying nothing bad about anybody because I get inspired by looking at other people’s stuff but, I always wanted to be on that level where I didn’t want to be [compared to] just like any other internet video. When I shoot videos for artists, I always make it something more than what it is because [it's] an opportunity.

How did you hook up with Fred Da Godson?

Me and Fred, its really a funny story. I knew [him] personally when I got out of college, he was doing his music thing. He wasn’t buzzing the way he is now and even myself, we were still grinding. I had did a couple videos that were hot but, at the time I was telling Fred, “I need to work with you.” Things happen for a reason and we just never got to work together until about a year ago. We did “I Am” and that sparked interest from the manager he’s being currently managed by now, Shawn Prez, who [also] manages Diddy. For that video, Shawn told me “That was the video that made me take notice of Fred.” So, when he said that it made me really believe that I must be doing something right. Me and Fred are friends and been friends since before we started working which is a blessing and we just been working.

So the “I Am” video was when you first truly realized filming was something for you?

To take you all the way back, I actually was an intern. I worked on a short film, working free all day from the sun-up to the sundown. [Since] I was doing it all for free and wasn’t complaining, I realized that I could do this for the rest of my life. But, as far as directing videos and producing, it definitely came around when I directed a video for an artist named, Nova [for a song] called “I Hate My Job.” I had just graduated and was still doing videos but was yearning for reaching the next level and network situation. [Trying to figure] how as a director, can I expand. But, it turned out to get him all this exposure including a MySpace featured video, 100,000 hits, and comments. The thing that really made me say that I could do it was because the artist wasn’t really known like that. It would be different if I had did something for someone that was known. I did something that was good and people liked, and that was definitely when I said I should continue with it.

What’s one of the things that you try to emphasize in your videos?

I love females and I’m not gonna lie and say that there’s no females in my videos but, I try to use them in a way that [they'll be presented] beautifully or a way that can be not just shaking your ass or mysogynistic, you know what I’m saying? Trust me, I love women, man, and I’ve done my share of strip videos but, sometimes it just calls for that. I’m supposed to do a video for Shawty Lo featuring Twista, it’s called “Pocahontas” and it’s a strip club video but, for the concept I took “The Player’s Club.” Your gonna see ass and strippers and shit but, there’s a concept behind it. That’s the way I try to think about things and go forward with it.

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  • lesotho

    Inspired by the hustle and the video work. I’m also a video director and its always great reading about people who are passionate and creative. Thanks

  • ROBERT D SCOTT

    yo bro keep doing your thing!!!

  • ItsBrittanyB*tch

    I too am a video producer/director/editor and I enjoy his videos as well. I like a more cinematic video. His quality is excellent and I enjoy his work. Being a female I too try to use women in my videos in a much more tasteful way which is a benefit for me because more women show up to my casting calls.

  • Onmygirl’sside4lyfe

    IAN,
    Just remember who bought you that camera you filming with. NEVER forget where you came from, and who was there when you didn’t have Shit.
    Peace.

  • http://twitter.com/KingOrigin LJE Model Agency

    Proud of Mills. He was the first MAJOR video director my company EVER worked with. Dude was cool then and is cool now. He and his team most def deserve the full spotlight and all the success that comes with it. SHOOT TO LIVE!