It's been a decade since Darrell Miller created Storm Show Studios, an action-sports film company based in Jackson, Wyo. It's a small film company, but occasionally it crops up amongst the more mainstream ski films: Lynsey Dyer won best female performance at the 2010 Powder Video Awards from her segment from Storm Show's 2009 film, "Magic Moments." This year, in addition to his annual ski flick, Miller is creating a 10-year film compilation called "Miller's Thrillers." It's a documentary in a ski movie format that'll include everything that's crossed in front of Miller's lens over the past 10 years: first descents near the ski lifts, ski mountaineering, filming from paragliders, speed flying and more. Miller offered a few words on the Storm Show story.
Every year you announce that you're not making a movie and taking a break, and then every year you make a movie. What's up with that?
I'm inspired to keep making movies each year because of the insane terrain and athletes that live in Jackson Hole. Crazy [stuff] goes down on the hill everyday, I happen to be there with a camera, as the athletes will be doing their thing regardless of being filmed. At the end of the year, hopefully a good bit of footage has been compiled, and it's a necessity for me to have people see it. I want to inspire people to do what they didn't think they could do, and I hope Storm Show films do that.
How did you get started in this business?
I started making movies in 1993 in a high school radio/TV class with my buddy Jeff Tibbitts. In 1999, Tibbs and I started a window cleaning company. We bought cameras and editing equipment with our earnings and started All World Video Production. We taught ourselves to film and edit but never went to film school. The plan was to make ski films, and it took off from there. Tibbs and I split, and I started Storm Show in 2000.
Storm Show is pretty much a one-man operation. How does that work?
I do about two-thirds of the filming for the Storm Show films. I do all of the editing, pre production, post-production, graphic design for boxcover and posters. I am also in charge of all sponsorship programs. It's a [ton] of work for one person.
What kind of budget do you have?
No travel budget, thank God that Jackson Hole rips as much as it does or Storm Show wouldn't exist. I don't have to travel anywhere outside of JH to make the flicks.
Seriously. You have no budget whatsoever?
I missed that day in class when they went over "marketing." I've put most of my energy into making the films, and haven't put quite as much into finding big sponsors and getting that side of things to grow. That is why Storm Show hasn't gone to the next step as far as getting a bigger budget. Sponsorships are keeping my head above water, but I definitely don't own a house or any of that stuff.