“Remember To Breathe In The Dark” is an inspirational new short movie by filmmaker Myles Grier who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the piece. The movie, inspired by events in Myles’ life, is being distributed via Grier’s new YouTube channel entitled MylesGrierTV.
Myles recently discussed this project via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get into the film industry and what came first—a desire to act, write, direct, or produce?
Myles Grier (MG): It’s funny – I originally wanted to be a singer when I was ten years old. I’ve always loved the power of music. I remember in 2001, during long drives home, my father would ask my older brother and I if we knew what we wanted to be when we grew up, and we would discuss those aspirations. My father was a true example of how a man cares for his family, and he was also one of the greatest Real Estate agents turned brokers in the state of Georgia. An extremely self-motivated man, so when he informed me about an audition opportunity for a boy group called N-Toon, which was led by the R&B singer, Llyod, pre-solo career – I was excited. My father bought me a tape recorder to practice speaking and singing, and that’s when I realized it – I wasn’t fond of my own voice (haha) I’m didn’t feel I was meant to be a singer. I thought, how can anyone else enjoy my voice if I didn’t like it myself?
So, with that negative voice in my head, It led me down another path, putting all the hyper energy I had as a child into my middle school’s Drama Club. I fell in love with the craft of acting, with playing pretend through theatre. I would watch back the tapings of school plays, hoping to become better and more personally, improve my voice and diction. By the age of 13 in 2003, my father encouraged me to take on-camera classes outside of educational theatre, and that’s where I was discovered in a class by one of Atlanta’s long-time, great, talent agents, Joy Pervis when she came to give the class advice on the industry. Thus, I started my tv/film journey as an actor. I did a few commercials in Atlanta, GA, between 2003-2007. But it wasn’t until 2013 after relocating to Los Angeles, CA, in 2012 that I booked my very first television role on Freeform fka ABC Family’s “The Fosters,” which led to more guest appearances after.
MM: What real-life experiences inspired your film?
MG: I found the story of “Remember To Breathe In The Dark” by taking two of the most vulnerable areas of my life – parental death and stuttering. The reason I mentioned my father and my speech impediments when I spoke about how I started in this industry, was to give some emotional reference to the impact my father had on my forward-thinking as a pre-teen, encouraging me to find my passion, and helping me through the challenges against the speech impediments we both shared.
After my father’s untimely death in 2017, I didn’t have a process or actually know how to express that emotion, the painful, surreal feeling of losing a parent. My father was such a strong person and would always uplift other spirits at family funerals, no matter how he felt. That was my example of how to handle death – to have this strong, uplifting exterior, but I didn’t know how to express the emotions inside. So for me, my film was a necessity because it became my own therapeutic process, a creative way to express those internal feelings.
MM: How did you get this movie project off the ground, and how has YouTube helped you promote it?
MG: I wrote the project late December 2019 while on holiday hiatus, and I shared the script with my Director of Photography for the project, Mark Haynes, who I had previously worked with on an American Film Institute (AFI) project, but only as an actor. We stayed in touch, looking for opportunities to work together since I appreciated his love for his craft in cinematography. After he agreed to work on my movie, we set the date, and I did everything I needed to, to make sure we had a crew to support us and food to get them through the day. And as Director, I had walkthroughs on location with Mark, with his camera (RED Dragon) to discuss the shot list, creative ideas, and any other concerns. Many people don’t know, since 2010, in between acting gigs, I worked in various areas of TV/Film pre-production, production, and post-production. I have experience as a Casting Associate, assisting Partners at Talent Agencies, I spent four years at NBCUniversal on the crew of an Emmy-winning series, as well as time at Nickelodeon, and Twentieth Century FOX. Before I started creating content, it was extremely helpful to learn more about the business of entertainment, which I was fortunate to do while assisting Academy Award-winning producer, Lee Daniels. So currently, as the Executive Creative Director / Producer for the production house, The Artistic Standard, founded by award-winning filmmaker, Geno Brooks, I’ve been able to execute what I’ve learned over the last nine years in production, plus tapping into my visual arts background. So, at this point in my life, It’s become practical to use my resources and training to get any project off the ground. YouTube has been great in providing their AVOD platform for creators to distribute their videos and creative works. I just started my own channel, MylesGrierTV, with ‘Remember To Breathe In The Dark’ being the first project for the channel.
MM: What have initial viewer responses been like?
MG: People have been responding really well to it! I’ve gotten many personal, positive messages from working filmmakers, family and friends along with general comments expressing how they related to it after losing a parent, how beautiful the piece was, how inspiring the movie was for those who stutter, lovely compliments on my performance and many more reactions. I’m really grateful for the positive response because it’s such a vulnerable project. I dedicated it to my father, to those who have lost a parent or loved one, and those who have any speech impediments.
MM: What other films have you made, and what topics might you cover in the future?
MG: This is my first movie as a writer, director, and producer, but I’m currently in development of my next project. I’m leaning into more vulnerable stories, letting my life experiences inspire me creatively. So, the topics will range in universal topics and various genres, including thrillers, mysteries, dramas, comedy, romance, and inspirational.
MM: How do you want your career to evolve over the coming years, and what’s coming up next for you?
MG: I’ve positioned myself as an actor, producer, and studio executive. So now, it’s all about doing the real work to make sure that I’m continuing to be intentional and efficient in those areas of my career with people who are like-minded and forward-thinking. As an actor and content creator, I have a list of ideas and short films I’m developing. Currently, I’m working on a special podcast as a creative outlet for myself as I focus on self-care and growth, hoping to inspire others and remind them that they aren’t alone in their journey of self-development. As a studio executive/producer, The Artistic Standard has at least seven projects in development and a few being pitched right now to partner with other distributors or production companies to get financing, and placed digitally or on television, depending on the tier of the project. We recently established a partnership with iONE Digital, to license some of our popular, digital series, and exclusively release a new anthology, improv-formated series, ‘You, Me, Us…’ Co-Executive Produced by me. Also, as a producer, I’m co-producing my first Indie, feature film, The Yellow Vines, a vulnerable story with a powerful message. It’s the writing/directing debut for the phenomenal actress, Madisen Beaty (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, The Master), co-producing with another extraordinary talent, Bianca A. Santos (Ouija, The Duff, Priceless). We are fortunate to have the support of Kodak, who is very passionate about supporting current/upcoming filmmakers keeping the film medium alive. ‘The Yellow Vines’ will be shot on Kodak Super 16mm Film, and we are currently in the financing/pitch stages.