A small white and tan dog chimed in with the ring of a doorbell and inside an Odessa home, tucked in the back of a winding housing addition, lighted Christmas decorations cast a warm glow in the living room. As everyone got comfortable on cozy couches and chairs, the Millers seemed like just another family enjoying their Christmas break.
But the Millers aren’t your average Odessa family and 18-year-old Reid Miller isn’t your average Texas teenager. Some days he works up to 12-hour days in Los Angeles to pursue his dreams.
Reid started acting at the age of 13, graduated high school at the age of 15, and for the past four years has been traveling back and forth from Odessa to Los Angeles to build a career in Hollywood. And his mother, Megan, has been there to support him along the way—whether it’s to help negotiate contracts or help set up headshots for a portfolio.
Later this month Reid will be heading to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival after the short film “WYRM” was selected, in which he plays the leading role.
Megan said out of the 40,000 films that were submitted, only 60 are chosen in three categories, so in Reid’s category only 20 films were selected.
“So the fact that they picked it out of that big of a pool is a big deal and it’s really exciting,” Reid added. “And what’s also really exciting is that a lot of big stars are gonna be there so I’m hoping I get to, like, meet some of my heroes like Robert Downy Jr., (or) any of the Avengers.”
Reid said he has always wanted to go to the Sundance Film Festival, but they wanted to have a reason to go because it is costly. But this year it was in the back of their minds, he said, because they knew “WYRM” turned out “fantastic.”
“It’s gonna be a new and awesome experience,” he said.
This year has been Reid’s busiest year since he began, starring as Pete Hickey on Play by Play, a TV series on Verizon’s mobile channel Go90, and having minor roles in other TV Series including The Fosters and Training Day. He has also filmed a pilot for the TV Series Rounds this year; has been a part of the feature film F.R.E.D.I., which will have a soft premiere in May; and has a starring role in short film “A Love Deed.”
With more than 20 IMDb credits, Reid said he feels like each year he has progressed and he has a feeling this year will be a really good year.
His acting career began after taking part in an Applause Rising Talent Showcase, but the opportunity was really more like a door that was waiting to be opened.
“It wasn’t just a thing that was spur of the moment, like ‘I should be an actor. I should be in the movies.’ There’s always been that creative drive to create stuff,” Reid said.
His father, Shawn Miller, said from the time Reid was very small he always showed an intense interest and passion for making films and telling stories. From creating small stop-motion films to drawing tons of comics, Reid’s passion just continued to build.
“It wasn’t like a passing phase like I wanna be a movie star or that kind of thing,” Shawn said.
Now Reid spends more time writing than drawing and more time coaching, training and auditioning then he does making stop-motion films, but his passion remains the same.
His biggest goal is to one day be an action star like Tom Cruise, or portray a superhero when he gets older. His biggest motivation and why he really loves acting, he said, is because he loves to play other people.
“I love to step into the shoes of someone I would have never been and never have the opportunity to be and it’s like I get to live kind of different lives and get paid to do it. That’s why I especially love the Sci-Fi genre, because it’s like I — to be able to play out those scenarios and live in that world is like, you’re getting paid to play make-believe. You really are and that’s like the best job. I love that so much,” he said.
While Reid and his mother have spent more time in L.A. than they have Odessa this year due to a busier schedule, when they are able to come back home they recognize the slower pace.
“…It definitely feels like a vacation anytime I visit because I can actually sit down and breathe,” Reid said, as he drew in a deep breath. “L.A. is like hustle-bustle. It’s so fast and it never really slows down and the people never slow down. It’s always: go, go, go.”
He also has some interesting conversations with friends when he visits home, which is a good break from the constant networking he does when he’s in California. Reid recalled one of his friends asking him who he met this year and whether he’d met any stars.
“It’s just different because someone like a big star could walk down the street in L.A. and no one’s going to notice,” he said.
Reid’s friend Dawson Shrum, who he met through a local homeschooling group called IGNITED, said it’s pretty cool to have a friend in the TV and movie industry. For Shrum, it’s a neat experience to watch his best friend on a TV show and hear about the projects he works on.
Shrum said Reid is a hard worker, never gives up on anything and although it may seem like Hollywood and Odessa are two completely different worlds, Reid knows he’s just another person and “doesn’t act crazy.”
“At the end of the day, I know if I really need him, help be there. Even if he’s crazy busy, he’ll be there for me,” Shrum said. “It’s like we’re brothers almost.”
Although at 18 years old, Reid is officially an adult, he and his mother have agreed that she will be there for him as long as he wants her there. Reid said due to the fact he looks more like 15 than 18, people may try to take advantage of him and think he’s naïve.
“If I do another season of my show Play by Play, I probably wouldn’t need her with me because I’m so close with everyone on set. Like with all the other actors and the crew and there’s no weird anything, so that would be fine. But doing something new, or if I had to go out of the country, she would come with me and I would want her to because you never know what’s gonna go down,” he said.
Those interested in following Reid’s career can like his Facebook page, Reid Miller Actor, or follow him on Instagram @therealreidmiller.