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Ted Mikels

Film Making Legend

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Jon: If you werent making movies what would you being doing?
Ted: Making movies. I dont know anything else that inspires me. I dont know anything at all. It motivates me with the need to travel. The creative urge is satisfied by making movies, so if I didnt make movies I dont know what I would do. I did an enormous amount of Still pictures along the years especially when I was very young. I would hike the mountains and streams and get gorgeous shots sometimes I would hike for 6 or 8 hours before I would find the right composition of a mirror lake with pillow clouds overhead and trees with flowers and shrubs around, and I won some awards for doing that. Of course what I was actually doing was looking for locations for my next movie, even then. I made my first movie in 1959 using those locations that I scouted out for years and years, a picture called "Strike Me Deadly", my kids still think its my best movie. No two of my movies are alike, out of the entire bunch, I think 4 science fiction/horror, a musical drama, race related, all kinds of things but they are all different.

Jon: What is in your CD player right now?
Ted: What I listen to are music cues that lead to my stuff. That's what my CDs are at my home and work. I listen to audio tracks, I listen to people who send me samples of there work that they want to score my next movie. There are all types of music presented to me. But above all the people that have the music librarys that you pay one time fee and you get to use these and then you score your own movie, or your documentary or commercial. You prepay this time fee and it allows you to use it. Believe it or not that is the only thing I use my CD player for. I use it all in selecting my music.

Jon: What is your favorite Las Vegas Casino, and why?
Ted: My favorite Las Vegas casino is the one that has the best buffet. I love to do my very delicate bit of gambling. I dont play the tables but I play the slot machines. I love the service and the drinks, and win or lose I dont care as long as it is a good buffet. I enjoy a number of them. More recently weve been going to Terribles and Arizona Charlies on Boulder Highway and Jokers Wild has been one of our favorites for several years. They are small casinos you don't get lost trying to find whoever youre with. Thats my recreation, my very special person and I do a buffet every Sunday night.

Jon: What is your least favorite Las Vegas Casino, and why?
Ted: Well, the least favorite casino, I almost dislike mentioning names but the ones that are hardest to park at, the farthest to walk to after you do park, and the biggest. I dont care for the real super big ones. Of course the beautiful new ones like the "Mandalay Bay" and all of those are really something special, they are something to just be around. They are awesome. But again the less convenient the parking the less often we attend them.

Jon: On your website I saw information on a seminar that you are putting on.
Ted: It seems that even in 1959, which was not yesterday. I was teaching people then who wanted to put their time in making a film but had no knowledge. Since I was usually working without any budget or pennies, I took people who wanted to learn in exchange for other then being paid, and so I always taught. Including people who have gone on to win awards. The seminar covers writing, producing, directing, shooting, camera, lighting, editing, music and marketing.

Jon: Now is this seminar more for people already in the business or people who dont know anything about filmmaking?
Ted: Actually its a mixture of both, because people in the business usually have been exposed to one thing or another. They have either been exposed to writing a script, or trying to do camera work or something, but most of them have not had the total experience, and that is what the seminar is about. To cover anything they want to talk about, and to satisfy. Their personal ambition is, if you want to start with an idea, then how do you carry it through to get a movie, so I cover that. Hands on, they get to play.
Jon: Plus getting your experience, I mean you've done it compared to someone who is just teaching it.
Ted: True and there is no replacement for 50 years of doing it.

Jon: What are your hobbies?
Ted: I enjoy working out, still do. I always have had an area in my home were I have weights and sit up boards and all that. So that would be my principle distraction from making movies. Other then that I used to do a lot of archery, I used to make my own bows and arrows and I was a good archer. In the movie "Indian fighter", where I shot the flaming arrows that just missed Kirk Douglas and hit the flag poles and set the wagons on fire and such. I shot all of those. I was an Indian stuntman and horseman stuntman. I was in charge of all the flaming arrows. For making my movies in the 50s I had designed a blend of tar and pitch and kerosene and wrapped them so that when I would shoot a flaming arrow it would stay lit till they stuck in something and set it on fire. From Hollywood they would bring these little phosphorous tips, like a match head. You would shoot them and they blow out. They wouldn't stay lit and set anything on fire. So they put me in charge.

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