I’m Rhi Miles. I love people, and I think that shows in what and how I create. I’m also incurably nostalgic, and a chronic multi-tasker.
I have a Bachelor of Music (Composition & Music Production) from AIM, and am currently studying a Masters of Arts (Screen) in film editing at AFTRS. So safe to say, I love music and movies.
Image: Singing with my pals Jenny Denny, Erin Skinner and Abigail Wighton. I’m (always) the one in teal.
My love of music comes from my family. When I was 10, my Dad took a few months off from his day job to produce a Japanese Christian pop album. Recording was done at the same studios where he and my uncle had made albums in their uni years. I watched Dad arrange flute parts, lead rehearsals, and design album artwork. At the time, I was more interested in the studio’s backyard trampoline. It was only later I realised how unusual that whole experience was. I thought everyone’s Dad had been in a band in their 20s, and produced Christian pop albums for fun.
Mum taught me to read sheet music (perhaps in the hopes that being able to play the keyboard would distract me from touching Dad’s expensive percussion gear all the time), and my brief piano lessons in primary school left me with an appetite for the blues. My first song was a silly little thing called Super Duper Hullabaloopa Sandwich, so ah yeah that’s a thing. As a teenager, I took up euphonium and drum lessons, and soon joined the percussion section of Nowra Town Band (possibly the oldest surviving brass band in Australia). You learn pretty quick to sight read, watch a conductor, and listen!
Finally, a guitar was added to the mix: $60 from a local pawnbroker. I distinctly remember Dad justiyfing the expense with “how else is she going to learn to write songs?” Apparently the sheets of handwritten lyrics strewn about my room hadn’t gone unnoticed.
This time there were no lessons. It was just me and the internet. I’d look up how to play a song, get bored halfway through, and steal the chords to write my own thing instead. Stealing from the Pauls (McCartney and Simon) meant modes, key changes, and diminished chords. No one told me you’re supposed to stick to four chords when you start out, for which I’m very grateful. I probably would’ve ignored them, anyway.
My love of movies harks back to family movie night on Fridays. We would all walk together to the rental store, and pick out something to watch. Living in Japan, the English language section was largely limited to the Hollywood classics, so I grew up watching films like The Shop on the Corner, The Philadelphia Story, and endless Alfred Hitchcocks. After family movie night, I would get up early Saturday morning and watch it all over again before anyone else woke up. Sometimes I would watch it twice! As videos made way for DVDs, special features became a staple of my Saturday morning diet. I was totally hooked. I knew I had to make my own movies one day.
We didn’t get a digital camera until much later than most, but you best believe my family had a hard time prying it off me once we did. Well, at first. Skits with my brother, Lego animations for school, I tried it all. But I didn’t have the knack of making things look good, and certainly not the patience required to finish big projects. So my interest waned.
That is, until I discovered vidding. I don’t remember when or how, but teenage me stumbled into a corner of YouTube where people were re-editing their favourite movies, often set to songs. Whilst filming had been hard, I found that editing came easily to me. Countless hours were spent in iMovie, pulling apart movie scenes, putting them back together again, and learning the craft. One time I edited Ed Sheeran into a Star Wars scene to great effect. It was silly and fun!
Vidding is quite different now. But in the early days it was just a small group of us making character studies, and loitering in each others’ comments sections. I was by no means a big creator, and my old YouTube channel is long gone. But I owe everything I know about pacing, rhythm and movement to those early years of reconstruction.