I recently shot and edited a short piece about Pacific Northwest professional wrestling legend, Mean Mike Miller, and his reunion with his daughter, Yolanda. Yolanda was missing for 27 years from Mike’s life. This included his entire wrestling career. Mike decided that on his 61st birthday he would go back into the ring one last time, just for her. One week ago today he wrestled his last match.
The video was a ton of fun to shoot, but a significant challenge to edit. Mike is an extremely pleasant guy to be around. He has soft southern accent and a big smile. He’s a great storyteller and when he lays into a good one it comes filled with imitated voices and lots of tangents. I say this is a good way, but you who edit know what I am talking about. It takes awhile.
He and Yolanda also have a very complicated story. I spent the majority of time on this piece just trying to get my head around the narrative. There are a lot of twists and turns, missing years and significant questions of how things went.
I really struggled trying to bounce around between the narrative of his wrestling and the narrative of his daughter. I felt like once I went down either path, it was hard to turn it around and go back to the other. Ultimately, the story of his reunion with Yolanda was more important. I left of ton of fun wrestling footage on the floor.
I am not sure I ever quite got it where I wanted it. But, in the end I think it’s understandable and the emotions between father and daughter are relatable even if the circumstances are extreme. The hard reality is I had a deadline barreling at me after his last match and the video would have had to be 15 minutes longer for me to encompass all of the history.
Shooting it was relatively straightfoward expect for the very dark Eagles Lodge where Blue Collar Wrestling is held. Luckily for me, I had access to some historic footage, thanks to the kindness of Barry Owen of Portland Wrestling. I also had help from superstar reporter, Casey Parks and Oregonian photographer, Motoya Nakamura. Motoya was a closer at the end, with a 300 shot from the platform. Finally, my friend Jason Driver composed the music for the piece. Hope to have a little more on that later. Folks out there editing should know Jason.
If you are interested in knowing more about Mean Mike and Yolanda you can read Casey’s stories.
Thanks for watching.