When shooting a movie, every faculty is humming at its highest frequency. You don’t sleep. It’s intoxicating. You’re operating on the edge of delirium and grandiose promises of immortality. You think that if you do everything right the gift of the gods is attainable. And then it ends. And there you are each morning. Alone again.
We were left with an emotional hangover after we finished directing “Touching Home,” a movie about us and our father. Less than a year earlier our father had passed away in jail. On that day, we had made a vow to him that we would make our movie — and we had just realized that commitment. We were supposed to be happy now. But we were miserable. For the last 350 days all our thoughts had been on the mission, the team of people we were working with. Now our thoughts were focused inward and it was a tough place to be.
But the torment wasn’t enough . . .
So we decided to dive into another long-shot mission: Write a book about our movie making hell-ride.
Where would we find the time? After all, we were still making the movie — post-production, editing. We searched for days. And then found it in the sleeping patterns of our editor, Academy Award nominee Robert Dalva.
You see, Robert is a night man. Not a party man, just a guy that goes to bed late. We are morning men — we go to bed early and rise early, like man before electricity. Robert showed up at our house each day at 11am, where we were cutting picture downstairs. This gave us several hours to write each morning before he showed up.
And we write with four hands, which sometimes takes twice as long.
One man types while the other writes freehand. Then we blend it. We only have one computer so space and time are limited. Logan is the typer and Noah is the hand writer. And it’s never pretty. One bro furiously smashing plastic squares, the other furiously carving ink onto paper. Later, the two are brought together in a clash of abusive language, each brother claiming the other is bipolar, illegitimate, the bastard son of an entire city. That their mother sang lullabies to one and terrible songs to the other. That his diaper was rarely changed and it ruined his brain. That he has written absolute tripe. That it belongs in the trash heap of failed street poets. We yell and scream. We throw chairs and hot cups of coffee. Punch holes in the sheet rock . . . And somehow, before Robert arrived, we had embedded words into the memory of our computer.
Writing the book brought back the excitement, allowed us to relive the boom and noise, the chaos and uncertainty. It unleashed the dopamine gush, washed the drug over the brain, gave us another goal.
We started writing in mid-April 2007 and had an ugly draft by October. We cut through it with a chainsaw and by February 2008 it was prettier and ready to product test. We gave the draft to a few trusted friends, one of them being National Bestselling author, Tess Uriza Holthe. Tess and the crew liked the manuscript — and they are a very tough bunch. Tess gave the manuscript to her agent, Mary Ann Naples. It was an unpleasant week, the mental sauna — the self-inflicted victimization that all writers suffer when waiting to hear what an agent thinks of their work. It gives you the stomach jungle; hot rivers, chimps, and hairy insects howling in your gut. Then Mary Ann called and said that she really liked our manuscript and our temperature left the tropics. She gave us some notes, we went back into the manuscript, smoothed out some things, and then it was ready to send to publishers.
Matthew Benjamin, an editor at Collins Publishing Group, read our manuscript the morning it was sent out and then tossed it up the ladder to the President of Collins, Steven Ross, who took it home that night. The following day they made us an offer — and we took it. They were extremely enthusiastic about our book and we were equally enthusiastic about being paid. It had taken us nearly ten years of writing diligently, working one mindless job after another, to finally get a paycheck for mental work. It was time to move on from Top Ramen. Of course, we’ll revisit the noodle delicacy, but out of choice, rather than necessity.
So we signed the contract with Collins and began working with Matthew on turning the book into something the entire world would appreciate — another delusion. And now we’re done. We wrote the Acknowledgments last week.
It was our intention to make a movie, not write a book. By accident, we did both.
And now we’re here. Wherever that is. Somewhere between obscurity and the rocket ride.
©2009 Logan and Noah Miller, authors of Either You’re in or You’re in the Way: Two Brothers, Twelve Months, and One Filmmaking Hell-Ride to Keep a Promise to Their Father
Logan and Noah Miller, identical twins, and authors of Either You’re in or You’re in the Way: Two Brothers, Twelve Months, and One Filmmaking Hell-Ride to Keep a Promise to Their Father, were raised as roofers in northern California, dreamt of being baseball stars. When that dream failed, they found professional success as bingo callers. Always staying together, the brothers were briefly suckered into the world of modeling, somehow avoided the circus, and finally, with 17 credit cards, pursued a career in filmmaking. In 2006, the brothers were awarded the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant, and their screenwriting, directorial, and acting debut Touching Home premiered at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April of 2008. They live in northern California and hold no degrees.