Emmy-winning father inspires Ben Miller’s passion for film

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Ben Miller, ’18, started Lehigh’s Film Society club when he was a freshman as a way to provide students with an opportunity to study film. Miller’s father, Bruce Miller, recently won an Emmy award for his work on the Hulu show “The Handmaid’s Tale.” (Courtesy of Ben Miller)

After one glance at Ben Miller’s laid-back disposition, it’s obvious he’s got a native West Coast flair.

Growing up in Los Angeles with his preschool’s attendance list consisting of Hollywood royalty’s children, Ben, ’18, is accustomed to the world surrounding the film industry, or as he refers to it, “the business.”

However, Ben’s proximity to “the business” goes far beyond seeing Jack Black and Jeff Garland at his school’s career day. After writing for and producing various television shows since the early ’90s, Ben’s father, Bruce Miller, won his first Emmy this year for the Hulu show, “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Bruce began his TV career when he wrote four episodes for the television medical drama “ER.” He then worked on several shows throughout the early 2000s, gaining writing and co-producer credits for episodes of “Medium,” “Men in Trees” and “In Plain Sight.”

His career transitioned after he became the executive producer for the show “Eureka,” which put him in charge of the writers’ room. After, he worked as the executive producer for “The 100,” a post-apocalyptic drama, and “Alphas,” an action-drama about super humans who investigate the death of a witness in a court case.

In 2015, Bruce and his wife co-wrote a pilot for HBO with “Orange is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan, and although the pilot did not get picked up for a full season, Bruce was then hired to rewrite the pilot for “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The pilot was picked up for a 10-episode season, gaining critical acclaim immediately upon its release. Public approval of the show is evident, especially after “The Handmaid’s Tale” swept at the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards. The show brought home eight wins, including “outstanding drama series” and Bruce’s first nomination and win for “outstanding writing for a drama series.”

“It is very satisfying to be recognized for my work,” Bruce said. “It is really a testament to my writing staff, my cast and my crew. Making TV is very much a collective effort.”

Ben invited all his friends over for the big event, hosting an Emmy’s screening party.

Lindsay Wilson, ’18, has been best friends with Ben since the seventh grade and said he was extremely proud of his dad and his accomplishments, but he remained modest. 

“To see my dad on TV and say my name on national television was a really cool moment,” Ben said. 

After seeing his father’s hard work finally get recognized in such a prestigious setting, Ben intends to follow in his father’s footsteps.

After arriving at Lehigh as a freshman, Ben found that Lehigh did not have sufficient opportunities for students interested in studying filmmaking or pursuing film production.

As a result, Ben started Lehigh’s Film Society, a club dedicated to screening films weekly. Although the club’s initial focus was screening movies, it is now segueing into film production.

After he graduates, Ben intends to find a job as a production assistant in a writers’ room to get his foot in the door of the film business. From there, he’ll continue to write his own screenplays and television scripts until he works his way up to executive producer, like his father.

Ben is currently working on writing a feature film, which he began writing for one of his screenplay writing courses as a part of his film minor. His script, based on the 1996 cult classic “Swingers,” follows a struggling writer in his mid-twenties living in Los Angeles. 

Bruce is currently filming the second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is due to premiere in 2018. 

“Moving forward, I’d like to keep doing what I’ve always done,” Bruce said. “Try to tell interesting stories that mean something to people.”

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