916. A Day in the Life: What's It Really Like to Be a Film Producer and Director?
“I think it’s great to get inspiration from other people, but it’s important to have a unique voice, too. First of all, listening to your client, whoever you’re working with, and trying to give them what they’re looking for: having them trust you as the filmmaker or visionary to come up with an idea that’s going to achieve the goals of the project. I’m trying to tell human stories, something that’s more cinematic and compelling, and trying to stand out by having your own fresh voice, and also utilizing the technology; standing out above just being technically good, but having that human, emotional element.”
Micah Knapp, at age 8, saved up $500 and bought his first video camera, making home movies with his brothers. This evolved over time into a company that produced commercials, music videos, and documentaries, expanding into the Seattle film market. Micah has worked as a Producer and Director on commercials, Indie films, MTV’s The Real World, IMAX documentaries, and more. His latest work is his first directorial feature, called “11:11”, currently in Post-Production. Micah has won awards for his films around the globe, with films in festivals playing at South By Southwest, Seattle International Film Festival, Oaxaca FilmFest, and more.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“My brothers and I were always into doing magic tricks–sleight of hand, the illusion of it. I felt like movies were kind of like expansive magic tricks. I watched Steven Spielberg’s movie, Jurassic Park, in 1993 when I was 8 years old and was totally captivated by it. Most kids love dinosaurs, so to see them depicted on the big screen that way, so real you could almost touch them, and so frightening I thought to myself–how do they do that?! I went to the library and read everything I could about Spielberg, his background, how he got into the movies in the first place and said to myself–I want to do that! I want to be a moviemaker.”
The Most Powerful Lessons and Experiences?
1. “After seeing Jurassic Park, I began saving up money and when I had $500 I bought my first video camera, which my dad helped me research and find. My two brothers got involved with me in learning how the camera worked–how to go from a wide shot to a medium shot to a close up. We had to edit in-camera. So if we had to go back and get a shot, we had to go back and rewind the tape to the exact moment. It taught us a lot about what kind of coverage to get and things like that.”
2. “While I was still in grammar school I remember making a short video, an anti-drug video for my classmates. My teachers took the video and shared it not only with the entire school, but with the mayor, the police force and other leaders. It felt good to get that feedback even at that young age.”
3. “After high school I debated whether to go to film school or not. I looked at the careers of the film makers I admired: Spielberg, Tarantino and several others–none of them went to film school. They each said go out there and create stuff. Find your voice, your vision and craft it. So while I think that film school is great for some people, for others like me, it was not.”
4. My first big break happened right after high school when I got an offer from a friend of my dad to move up to Alaska and film a documentary. My brother Jake and I both moved up there and worked with this fellow who was shooting footage of the beauty of Alaska–its wildlife and natural surroundings as well as the people and personalities that lived up there. The tone of the film was reflective and introspective, which kindled my interest in the whole genre of documentaries going forward.yinformation provided bMicah-Knapp
5.? Another important turning point was working with Microsoft, in Seattle, on their “life series” videos, the more human side of the company–who they hire and why. We did mini-documentaries on Black history month, LGBTQ+ stories and many more. This work led to work on IMAX documentaries as well as MTV’s reality series, “The Real World.”
6. Next up I worked on many documentaries as well as a few music videos. There are a lot of musicians and artists in the Seattle area, so that was a fun time. We did a fascinating documentary on STEM cell research because there is a real innovative doctor in the area doing work in that area to help people with serious back issues.
7. A couple of years ago I began work on my first feature film production. It took a while to actually figure out the concept, plan it and to get the funds. It’s a passion project, a story about family relationships, religion and the overcoming and resolving of past issues. It’s called “11:11.” It’s being edited right now and then we have to do the score. I have a couple of distributors who are interested in the film already. We were hoping to premier it at the Seattle International Film Festival, but now with Covid it will probably be spring before it is out.
Connecting With Micah Knapp
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Careers: Film Maker, Film Producer and Director