Lisa Leyva continues to break ground as the Founder and CEO of Miglex Films. Her production company is based in Los Angeles, CA and is a vertically integrated production company or better yet, “mini-studio.” Miglex Films develops, produces, markets, sells, and distributes content across all platforms. This includes all genres, documentaries, web and television series. Her expertise lies in production and distribution, with an emphasis on marketing strategy. Lisa’s career spans across multiple industries including financial, venture capital and entertainment. Her multidisciplinary background coupled with innovative marketing know-how, gives Lisa a strategic edge and approach to all business ventures. Follow along as we glimpse why Lisa is a true inspiration for women and filmmakers alike.
RAINE: Your industry background is quite interesting. Please share some of those details with our readers.
LEYVA: I started working in the entertainment industry on the distribution side while working for an independent distribution company based in Los Angeles. Prior to working in the entertainment industry, I worked for a retail marketing firm as a consultant helping to sell the company, which has to date been acquired for a second time. Not long after that acquisition, the CEO of the marketing company I was working for brought me on board to help turn around an independent distribution company that was going through bankruptcy. We turned the company around and it was bought after a short 4 years. Since then,
I began consulting with other producers and continue to build my production company, as well.
RAINE: What are some mistakes that most new filmmakers make?
LEYVA: I’ve realized that most filmmakers don’t think about reaching the audience or distribution beyond raising the money for producing a film. As a result, they end up making mistakes such as going over budget or not having a potential audience.
RAINE: Taking a trip down memory lane, what was it like working on an Academy Award nomination for your acquired film Bernie?
LEYVA: When working on that Academy campaign, I was able to get 22 nominations. I equate that experience to running a presidential campaign. It was almost an identical campaign for Jack Black. It took several months of campaigning to Academy members and took a million dollars at minimum to launch a campaign. Everyone thought I was crazy but we were able to compete with all the other films at the time considering that the other films who won put up to about 20 million for their campaigns.
RAINE: What are you up to now?
LEYVA: I have acquired other films with A-list talent like Woody Flarrelson, Michael Shannon, Nicole Kidman and many others, but I learned early on that I couldn’t just take on projects that others brought to me already “packaged.” Therefore, I am in the process of closing a film fund with investors based out of China, which will all me to make about 3 – 5 films a year. That will also allow us to continue to work outside of the studio system and give us a lot more freedom to source and create our own material. There’s a lot of work that goes into putting together a fund of this size with investors out of China. Flowever, I am excited about the fund knowing that I am bridging two of the most prolific and growing markets for film, Flollywood and China.
RAINE: Flow has being a Latina in the entertainment industry shaped your view as a producer?
LEYVA: It has not really shaped it, as much as it has caused me to try to reshape it for producers, as a whole. I think as producers, we have an opportunity and responsibility to affect what people see on the big or small screens, across multiple platforms. My view of that is simple. Allow audiences to experience inclusion. Latinos are looking for that inclusion. I would like to see us depicted in film or on television in an accurate and authentic light. I accept that responsibility as a Latina producer and work toward creating that inclusion for us.
RAINE: What are your thoughts on women in the film industry and what efforts should be made to help bolster their influence?
LEYVA: We need to demonstrate the influence we have by creating it, living it, and dictating it. We allow the industry to tell us when we are influential or relevant. Women need to start by supporting one another more. Too often, women are critical of one another instead of coming together to help each other.
RAINE: What lessons have you learned in such a fiercely competitive industry?
LEYVA: Flaving to prove yourself causes you to question everything. The biggest lesson that I have learned, is to trust your instincts. They have served me well. It is something that cannot be learned. You either have them in this business or you don’t. I feel lucky to have that edge.
RAINE: What advice would you offer to budding entrepreneurs?
LEYVA: You have to know all aspects of your business. It is grand to think you are going to start a business and call yourself the CEO and that’s it. A real entrepreneur has performed every job or job function of everyone she/he employs. I have worked across most industries and performed a myriad of tasks in my career. I never feel that I am above getting any job done. That attitude and approach is what will make you successful and a better CEO. I actually prefer being called a “Slasher,” not as in horror films, but someone who can manage many jobs effectively. I’m a CEO/Producer/Marketer/Writer/Admin/Creative/Magician. It is necessary for today’s entrepreneur to weave in and out of all things that make a business work.
RAINE: What are 3 major goals that you would like to achieve over the next 2 years?
- Achieve success as an independent producer who brings content to broad audiences while depicting diverse characters and universal stories.
- Shatter the notion that women cannot carry films at the Box Office
- See my lifestyle brand and travel show series at Food Beer Grapes thrive.