In this interview, Mikey chats to LBB about his most memorable work, what drew him to FAMILIA, and his insight on the evolution of the creative industry.
LBB> Hi, Mikey, thanks for taking the time to speak with us! At what point did you realise that a career in production/filmmaking was right for you?
Mikey> It’s an absolute pleasure and thanks for reaching out. I was very fortunate to have my father, Peter Levelle, working in the industry as a director, who introduced me to the glamorous and essential role of office running from the early age of fifteen. I loved it, worked hard, and made some great friends, most of whom I am still in touch with today.
LBB> What is exciting you the most about becoming a full-time EP at a production company after many years of freelance?
Mikey> I have entertained the idea of becoming a full time EP for several years now yet, needless to say, no offer or partnership to date offered what FAMILIA could until now. Stepping into a new role at a next generation production house, with grand visions for the immediate future, was the immediate pull. Collaborating with executive producer Toby Walsham on a daily basis to future proof the company, build on what's already here and constantly conceiving new ideas is so different and exciting to what one's daily tasks involve as a freelance producer.
LBB> What does the ethos of Next Gen mean to you?
Mikey> Unstoppable, never-ending, forthcoming and forward-thinking. Joining a next generation production house allows for forthcoming and forward thinking, unstoppable creative plans of action and never-ending growth.
LBB> Looking back at your career so far, are there any other projects which stand out as especially significant to you?
Mikey> Well there's been the rough, the smooth, the big and the small and so, it's hard to make that call. I spent a considerable amount of my freelance career shooting overseas and so have all the local service companies to thank for such memorable and significant projects. By far, the most ambitious and challenging creative from memory was iZettle - 'For the Selfmade' which we shot with Radioaktive in Kyiv, with online VFX support from Coffee & TV. Not intentionally preaching to the choir but without Radioaktive and my local film family on the ground, so much of that film would have been an impossibility.
LBB> Garfield, a short in which you were involved in 2017, offered a fresh and deeper perspective on the romantic comedy genre. Do you enjoy work which plays with genre conventions in that way?
Mikey> I always have, and still do, enjoy working creatively as a producer and short films are the perfect playground. I wouldn't even say I have a particular style, likes or dislikes but when approached by my dearest, best friend and director, Georgi Banks-Davies, with the script ... I didn't even have to ponder one single second.
LBB> The past few years have been challenging for a number of reasons! Outside of your work, how have you been keeping yourself motivated and inspired?
Mikey> I'm sure my close friends and colleagues in production will agree that we are trained and hardwired to always be busy. Everyone loves a duvet day from time to time but sitting still does not motivate me. During lockdown, I designed and developed an industry app and in the last year, I've been working on producing my first podcast in between productions.
LBB> What positive changes have you seen over the past few years in the industry?
Mikey> The increase in advocacy for inclusivity and diversity both within production companies, scouting creative talent and on set. Although positive change has been noticeable over the past few years, the margin of growth still needs a lot more work. One of the major appeals to joining FAMILIA was their continuous drive to support change.
LBB> Do you think we've seen the last of remote productions?
Mikey> No, I do not. I believe remote productions will forever be a part of our industry in years to come. At FAMILIA, much like many global brands now, we strive to minimise our carbon footprint where possible and support the efforts of initiatives such as AdGreen - virtual production allows us to all maintain these targets and be across every production, all the time, from anywhere in the world.
LBB> If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice at the start of your career, what would it be and why?
Mikey> Don't stop asking questions and never shy away from a challenge, no matter how big or small.