Mike Manning was born on January 8, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, USA. He is known for The Bad Batch (2016), Green Lantern (2011) and If Beale Street Could Talk (2018).
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
It’s hard to say… The world of Nano is a heightened reflection of the cultural issues that are plaguing society today. Mass shootings and the countless deaths of unarmed people-of-color at the hands of police keep the gun debate raging on. Issues of privacy and corporate security recently forced Mark Zuckerberg to answer some tough questions before Congress. The world of Nano proposes a utopian solution to these problems, but raises even tougher questions about control. On the flipside, having app-controlled nanobots that can make us healthier and provide awesome/fun bio-enhancements would be rad af!
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Is Batman an acceptable answer here? Isn’t the answer always Batman?
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
I 100% approve of the creative endeavors of my robot overlords.
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
I feel like the premise of this question is debatable.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
There are no bad ideas, but there are bad films. And I’ve definitely made some bad films that I will most certainly not talk about, haha! But that doesn’t mean I don’t value the experience I gained from those failures. No one is an expert filmmaker out the gate. You have to practice--It’s a muscle that needs to be flexed… A very expensive muscle…
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I’m an avid fan of Sci-fi, for sure. I think the best sci-fi holds a mirror up to the now and is able to examine ideas from a heightened perspective. I don’t find it isolating to love sci-fi, but it can sometimes be a struggle to get my wife to accompany me to the movies! Usually she’ll moan and groan through the duration of its runtime, but, every now and then, one will really draw her in—and that’s rewarding in its own right!
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
I guess I’m a “digital person.” I wish I did more analog art projects like drawing or painting
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
The prop design for Nano was a fun process. Though the concept of “smartglass” (clear screens) is a common visual in sci-fi these days, we wanted it to feel real and practical. It still needed hard edges that could house computer hardware—and that hardware still needed to have ports for data connection. Grounding the sci-fi elements not only gives weight to the tech, but it was helpful for the actors to hold devices that felt intuitive and familiar.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Increasingly Star Trek PKD4LYFE How about practical CGI :P Dystopia Pre Apocalypse