The Elon alumnus participated in a virtual “dinner” on Oct. 20, discussing his inspiration and the challenges he overcame to start his North Carolina-based film company.
Between writing, producing and acting, Elon graduate Cornelius Muller ’93 has made his own path in the film industry. The Brooklyn native spoke to students, faculty and staff at a virtual Unity in Communications dinner on Oct. 20 about how he got his start in the industry and his experience running his own film company.
Muller graduated from Elon with a degree in human services studies, and he originally intended to play professional basketball after graduation. But, as he told the dinner attendees, he battled with depression and decided to forego basketball for acting, moving back to New York and studying at the Herbert Berghof Studio. Eventually Muller returned to North Carolina and continued studying in Winston-Salem at Actors Group. Eleven years ago, Muller ultimately decided to make his own films.
While attending Elon and studying acting, Muller didn’t formally train in filmmaking, and that is one challenge he said he’s faced as a filmmaker. When Muller was working on his first script, reviewed by then Associate Provost and current Elon University President Connie Book, he said that his lack of formal training made people curious about his filmmaking. But he surrounded himself with others in the industry, which helped his development.
“It’s about having the right people around you to execute your vision,” Muller said. “You just want to keep pushing forward and get the right people around you. If you’re the smartest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
Muller owns and operates his own North Carolina-based film company, Cornelius Muller Productions LLC, producing films such as “Brother’s Keeper,” “Find a Way” and “Sacred Hearts.” As an independent filmmaker, Muller said he works “around the clock,” but to him, it doesn’t feel like a job.
“People say if you find what you love to do, you feel like you never work a day in your life, and it’s really true,” Muller said.