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Michael Reisinger (MA 09 Film)

profiles / alumni / film
November 29, 2017
By Jamie Wetherbe

Forging New Cinematic Frontiers: Meet Filmmaker Michael Reisinger

ArtCenter : What are you working on right now?

Michael Reisinger (MA 09 Film), Filmmaker: A script for my short film. I’ve been making these 3- to 5-minute shorts, and my next project is going to be more ambitious — 40 to 60 minutes, with permits and a crew. Right now, it’s like we’re in ancient Rome as far as software goes, and this film explores the future of programming and software engineering. I’ve been trying to stretch my imagination as much as I can to picture what that might look like.

AC: How do you define success?

MR: I think success might be a dangerous concept for an artist. Because if you feel you’ve reached it, does that mean you’ll stop growing or developing as an artist? I’m not sure I truly believe in success; I think it’s a constant struggle. 

Michael Reisinger

If you want to be in filmmaking because you want to pursue your own artistic expression, you should go that route instead of just getting into the industry.

Michael Reisinger (MA 09 Film)

AC: What’s the filmmaking cliché you’re most tempted to use?

MR: A slow push in on a character indicating a change of mind or emotion — but it works. 

AC: What’s the one tool you can’t do without?

MR: The main source of absolutely everything I do in film comes from music.

AC: Where do you go (online or offline) when you’re taking a break?

MR: Watching films.

AC: What do you do to detox from media and screens?

MR: I don’t. I’m usually in front of a computer or a TV.

AC: What book is on your bedside table?

MR: Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, which is about the end of a galactic empire thousands of years in the future.

AC: Who are the most interesting filmmakers working today?

MR: In mainstream filmmaking, Alex Garland and Denis Villeneuve make great science fiction. In the online community, I’m absolutely fascinated by this renaissance in software-driven imageryCasey Reas invented a programming language called Processing. When you run the code, it displays imagery, so you’re basically drawing with code.

Michael Reisinger (MA 09 Film)

AC: Describe a moment in your childhood when you first identified as an artist.

MR: I got this giant Disney Compendium animation book as a gift. When I saw the pencil sketches, inking and painting, the whole process absolutely blew my mind. A fire was lit, and it hasn’t gone out.

AC: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

MR: Kim Jung Gi is the best illustrator I’ve ever seen. He can walk up to a piece of paper with a pen and draw what’s in his brain — I want his superpower.

Alumni Q&A

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AC: Where is your happy place?

MR: Somewhere in the process of making a film — probably in the idea phase. Because as long as the concept stays in your head, it’s great. That’s a very happy place, but also a dangerous one. If you don’t muster up the guts to turn that beautiful, ill-defined idea into reality and risk totally messing it up, it’ll stay there forever.

AC: What’s your best piece of advice for an ArtCenter student who’s interested in following your career path?

MR: If you want to go to film school, I think you really need to decide what you’re in it for. If you want to be in the industry then do that, but don’t expect to have the time to pursue your own artistic expression. When I was going from PA job to PA job, it was 16-hour days. There’s no time to pursue your own work. If you want to be in filmmaking because you have films inside of you that you have the fortitude to realize, you should go that route instead of just getting into the industry. The tools are out there for you to make whatever you want. 

Recent work:

Just A Cloud
Dissolved Girl