Already skilled at capturing a couple’s voice and experience in her wedding films, with Muse Nikki Miller was able to deepen her process and produce an award-winning, lasting story. In a 60 second film.
When Nikki Miller found out she was pregnant during her senior year of film school she thought she wouldn’t be able to graduate or to go on to make the documentaries she dreamed of making. As a young mother she knew her hours would be limited, that her time would no longer be just hers.
The dream of traveling the world to tell people’s stories would have to wait.
Nikki spent four years away from filming - four years full of nurturing her daughter and being a 24-hour mom - when she started noticing the rise in wedding films on YouTube and Vimeo.
“I could do this,” she thought. “I can totally do this. Shit, I can do this better.”
With the flexibility to create her own hours and her love for documentary Nikki knew she had found a way to reintroduce her art to her life. She started her own business, Mae. B Films, and totally did wedding films better.
“Wedding videographers were all sort of doing the same thing,” she said. “As a wedding filmmaker, I never want to feel like I'm giving people a template. I know the couple is so much more than that day...it's not just a wedding story.”
In her wedding films, before Nikki agrees to film a couple she makes sure they understand she isn’t looking to just work with them, but to get to know them.
And it’s working.
Mae B. Films has been featured in 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty, Smashing the Glass, The Every Girl, and other bridal publications. When she signed up for Muse she found a vocabulary and a process for the type of storytelling she knew she wanted to do but was unsure how to develop all on her own.
“Now everything has a place and a purpose. I can hear the story come out–the interview questions and all the focus on how to give a good interview, I hear a story now,” she said.
Nikki heard a story in the challenge – to shoot a 60 second film about one of 30 entrepreneurs – presented by the 2015 Wix Filmmaker Competition #SelfMade.
It maybe wasn’t a story with an ending she was thrilled with – “there’s no way I can with this, these are real New York filmmakers,” she thought – but one that she knew would teach her something and allow her to flex her storytelling muscles in another way.
She was beyond nervous; so nervous that she didn’t even tell anyone she’d entered. “I was like, I'm not telling my family, I'm not telling my friends, I'm just going to do this and if nothing comes of it, I'll know that I lost but I tried,” she said.
Nikki’s film, #SelfMade The Mobile Vintage Shop, took second prize and won her $5,000.
When the winners were announced Nikki was floored, but she knew why her story had worked: “I knew where to put place, where to put everything, and I knew how to build it in 60 seconds. I won because of Muse,” she said.
In addition to running Mae B. Films Nikki now challenges herself to make a 60-second documentary about an astounding woman in her community each month.
Her dream to make documentaries about the lives of different, amazing people didn’t have to wait nearly as long as she’d thought.