Director, editor, producer, writer, and cinematographer are just some of the numerous roles Greenhill alumnus Alan Michnoff ‘09 has played in the film industry. His journey to success all began in Greenhill’s Advanced Video Production (AVP) film room.
Since his time at Greenhill, Alan Michnoff has always been a multi-talented man, according to Middle School and Upper School Film-making and Digital Art teacher Corbin Doyle. Mr. Doyle said Mr. Michnoff stood out as an exceptional film student in AVP at Greenhill.
“He played saxophone in the band, he was in improv, he was in the musical and he helped with fall dramas. He was a part of most productions, and then he was a rock star AVPer,” Mr. Doyle said. “Also, he was in the jazz combo. He was one of those people they would have to schedule Greenhill ISAS around because he was in so many things.”
Mr. Michnoff has been involved in a wide range of films such as “Star Trek Beyond” where he was production assistant, “Facebook Official”, and “Just Between Us” where he was a director and editor for the films and “Teen Force Ninjas” where he was a director.
Mr. Michnoff was a student at Greenhill for 16 years. According to him, the film program, led by Mr. Doyle, was just starting to takeoff when he was in seventh and eighth grade. As soon as he had the opportunity, he signed up to join the film class.
“Me and my friends would always just do really, really dumb videos. We made a video called “Blue Balls” that was a play on blue balls to just kind of put Doyle on edge and make a raunchy joke that was just like me running around campus acting very childish and holding a blue ball. It was fun to be silly in an official medium,” Mr. Michnoff said.
After Greenhill, Mr. Michnoff studied film at Dodge College in Chapman University and soon moved to Los Angeles where he got his footing into the film industry.
Mr. Michnoff is currently developing, producing, editing and directing a new short web series for “Playboy” that will be published next year. He also does all the content for the YouTube channel Just Between Us, which is a sketch comedy channel that he edits and directs.
Although Mr. Michnoff has been involved in different aspects of film, he said directing is where his true passion lies.
“Film is a language, and as a director you get to learn the grammar of it and constantly play with that language, and that language goes from conceptualizing the idea and making what it visually looks like and then letting that evolve into a real thing.” Mr. Michnoff said. “[Directors] collaborate with so many different, other talented people and finally [we] get to shape it and see the final thought.”
Through his many experiences in the film world, Mr. Michnoff has grown as a filmmaker. A project Mr. Michnoff is most proud of is his work with “Playboy”.
“It has given me a lot of creative freedom and I feel that through working with them, I have been able to discover what I want to be doing a little bit more. Not necessarily in terms of content but in terms of visual style like my approach to video,” Mr. Michnoff said.
Despite his career in California beginning to take off, Mr. Michnoff has found time to involve the current Greenhill AVP students in his films. Last year from September 9 to 18, Greenhill film students were invited to work on a Dallas project for Peachy Girl Squad that was directed by Mr. Michnoff where they assisted with project.
One of these Greenhill students who participated was junior Jaclyn Goldstein, who is a current AVP student.
“He was super nice about everything, but he had specific things in mind. He was good about communicating his vision to the rest of the members on set,” Jaclyn said.
Mr. Michnoff said he is motivated to give back to Greenhill AVP because of how the program shaped him into the filmmaker he is today.
“Mr. Doyle has created a very creative, and collaborative friendly space, and I would actually say that’s similar to the real working world,” he said. “I am constantly working and collaborating with a lot of people and that’s just a huge part to having a successful project.”
Photo courtesy of Alan Michnoff
Originally published in the November 2017 issue
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