Claude Miles is a Lexington, KY based filmmaker who has worked in various capacities on several independent films as well as some fan productions. He also inherited Kentucky's longest-running science fiction convention. His film work includes Saucer Sexodus, Major Power and the Robot From Saturn, and Cornball Classics. I've been keeping an eye on him for years, and I've noticed that he is getting progressively busier. So I had to have a chat with him.
LIAM K: You work on films in various capacities. Was that the plan all along, or did you find yourself getting involved on different levels along the way?
CLAUDE MILES: Inevitably Independent Film requires that you wear a lot of hats. For example, as an actor I have always done my own stunts. My plan has always been to act, but I try and throw in to help in other ways if I can. Getting low budget projects finished and polished takes the full effort of everyone involved.
LK: How did you get started? Your imdb page sounds like you really got going a year or so ago, but you've got several projects in various stages of development.
CM: I went to WKU (Western Kentucky University) for my Bachelor's Degree, and that is where my training actually comes from. At the time I was in college, they taught you how to work in the Biz, and the first step was "Move to NY or CA". Today, things are not so cut and dry; with Independent Films and local production companies, it is entirely possible to get and remain busy wherever you are. My IMDB Presence began in 2008 and can be tracked from there. That is when I was laid off from a "day job" and began seeking employment of any and all types I was remotely qualified for. It just happens that the only work I could get was acting.
LK: Is this a full time thing for you? Do you have an unrelated day job?
CM: No, this is full time.
LK: Your work has recurring themes of horror, B-movie, and science fiction elements. Are there any genres you're itching to explore that you haven't gotten to yet?
CM: Primarily this is due to the nature of what is being made in KY. I enjoy working in anything that requires "stretching" as an actor. Drama and Science Fiction would be my favorite genres, but again you have to do the work that is there.
LK: Tell me about Star Trek: Alpha Strike.
CM: A Goat Boy Films produced fan film--this one was fun to work on simply because... Hey, it's Star Trek! It was almost as fun as the Doctor Who/Terminator crossover fan film I got to be in... as the Doctor! Can't wait to see that one myself!
LK: Are there any particularly interesting or weird stories that have occurred during your productions?
CM: I am sure there are but I am drawing a blank on colorful anecdotes right now... I can unequivocally state that John Malkovitch has excellent grammar...
Me: "How's Kentucky treating you?"
JM: "Very well."
Note the use of well instead of good. This pleased me greatly.
LK: Do you have any heroes that you channel?
CM: I try and learn from anywhere I can. Every set has a new lesson to teach. Every performance I see or am a part of adds to my wealth of knowledge. Every heartache, moment of joy, every emotion--all contribute to who I am as a person and who I am as an actor. I would not point to any single Hero but instead to all of the greats that come to mind when you think of realistic and believable performances.
LK: What are you working on right now?
CM: The nature of the game means you inevitably end up with several things going at once... All the while looking for your next projects. In the immediate future I have some more scenes to shoot for the upcoming ZP International film Bunker of Blood. I get to play a character that goes blind in an already chaotic environment, so it offers a lot of "room" as an actor to shine. I just finished shooting cameos in Comic Book World: The Movie, Hell House, and Swordbearer. I have a Western that I wrote and directed (that) I will be shooting an additional scene for and then buckle back down to editing. I will be appearing as a Kentucky Personality at the upcoming Darkwoods Con the first of October where they will be screening some productions I have been involved with including Mountain Mafia and Steampunk. I have some commercial work scheduled for mid-October and various other shooting on several projects through the end of the year. Then it is back to Los Angeles for Pilot Season in January. Later in 2011, I have committed to work on a few other projects including a drama called Color of Sky in June 2011.
LK: You also run ConCave now as well. I haven't been to it for years. Has it changed over time? How would you describe the personality of that particular convention?
CM: Concave is KY's longest running science fiction convention. It is also a relax-a-con, meaning it has never had celebrities or panels. Just Consuites and good times. It began in BG (Bowling Green, KY) in 1979 then went to Cave City to the Park Mammoth Inn until 1999 when it moved to Horse Cave for the next decade. 2010 saw it return to BG. The primary changes over the years have been related to growth. For the last 15 years or so the Convention had a Lottery you had to participate in to get a room in the "Main" hotel. This was a self-imposed constrictive measure to keep the Convention small. We have now shed this behemoth of a system and opted to go with a larger venue. So far we have managed to retain the "Identity" of the Con despite the growth.
LK: Do you have a favourite monster?
CM: Not really, but I am fond of the ones that live within me that I get to release on film from time to time.
LK: Do you have plans to get involved in any other media like comics or prose?
CM: I enjoy writing and have been known to dabble in everything from comics to music. I enjoy the act of creating in every way. Whether that is creating a believable performance on screen or recording a naughty Christmas Album I tend to find myself employed in fields that allow for creative expression.