What’s your name and where are you from?
Hi, I’m Julie Miller I’m initially from Allentown, Pennsylvania and now I live in Brooklyn. I went to Pratt undergrad and at that time I had no idea what I wanted to do. I was always writing as a kid and teenager, but I had no idea how to pursue that as a career. Plus, I was super depressed in high school, I didn’t really see a lot of possibilities for me at that time. I didn’t leave my house. It was very bad. I missed 96 days of my senior year of high school. But when I did go to school, I brought a video camera so I was always documenting things. My dad is a professor and he said “I think you just need to go to art school.” I didn’t even want to go to college. If my dad wasn’t my dad, it could have been truly bleak. He told me about this new program at Pratt for TV and Film writing. So I applied and got in and my world opened up. I started getting into comedy, interning at SNL and Comedy Central, and NBC and I got super into television writing and production.
What was the next big step after that?
Right after college I got a job as an assistant to the president of SPIKE TV and while the programming wasn’t exactly what I was into, at that time the UFC was on SPIKE, it was a very good job in the sense that I got to see how a television network worked. I quickly learned that you don’t get to write much on the network side so after some time I left and started writing and producing some of my own stuff and freelancing and doing a bunch of odd jobs to supplement my income.
So what are you working on here at SPACE?
It’s funny because I’m actually writing about a period right after that SPIKE job where I was willing to take any odd job that allowed me the flexibility and time to write and make my own stuff. So one of the jobs that I had was taking care of this Holocaust survivor. I told people I was looking for part-time work and a friend was like “I know this woman who hates her dad so she’s moving to New Mexico but she needs someone to come by every weekday morning from 9 to 12 to make sure he gets out of bed, make sure there is food in the fridge, and make sure he takes his meds. That’s the whole job. You interested?” It was bizarre because I had no training in this type of work but I said yes. I didn’t know he was a survivor or that he was incredibly depressed or that he smoked a ton of weed everyday. So to answer your question about what I’m working on now; I’m writing about that time and that time and our relationship.
What is that process like?
I had pretty extensive notes, I have recordings, I’d do interviews with him. He’s a very big character. Every second of every day was insane so I was always writing about it in real time but there was a huge blind spot for me at the time. I think I was too close to the truth. So that was 2009 and I haven’t touched the script since since 2010 but am revisiting it up here.
Where have you been writing?
Mostly in my room or out on the porch. I like privacy when writing. If someone is sitting right there and they sneeze, I'll just be thinking about their sneeze and wonder, “are they sick?” so I prefer to be alone.
I totally get that. I’ve discovered that I need to believe that no one I know knows where I am for me to write.
Oh my god that’s a great way to put it. I totally relate to that, I’ve just never put it into those words, I’m going to use that. Next time someone asks me I’m going to say Grant said that and that’s how I feel.
What’s been the most beneficial part of being here at SPACE?
It’s been lovely to have the room be alone while still being surrounded by other creative minds.
If you were reincarnated as a farm animal which animal would you be and why?
Oh my gosh, I’m going to think hard about this one. I think I would be… a farm cat. Because: freedom.
Interview by Grant Conversano