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Baltimore's Lorenzo Millan wins Emmy for work on 'House of Cards'

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Lorenzo Millan was among the winners Saturday night as the Emmy Awards for Creative Arts were handed out in Los Angeles.

Millan, who became interested in filmmaking at St. Paul's School and has worked on major Baltimore TV productions dating back to NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," won for sound mixing on a one-hour drama or comedy series. He shares the award with Nathan Nance and Scott R. Lewis.

"This Emmy win represents all the hard work of the entire 'House of Cards' crew, including the rest of the Sound Department, Randy Pease and Chris Jones. We are ecstatic and hoping we can bring home more next week,” Millan said in an email response to the Sun, referencing the Aug. 25 live telecast of the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards on NBC.

Here's an interview I did with Millan for a story that ran last Sunday in the Sun:

The journey to his first Emmy nomination started 28 years ago at St. Paul’s School for Lorenzo Millan. A teacher there started a class in filmmaking, and he was hooked.

The Baltimore-born son of Colombian parents, Millan applied to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he found a lot of would-be filmmakers who shared his passion.

By the second semester of his freshman year in a class on reel-to-reel audio production — this was the 1980s, remember — he also found his niche among all that talent: recording and editing sound.

“I probably mixed 60 shorts for myself and other filmmaking students during my time at Tisch,” he says.

It was in Baltimore and not New York, though, that he ultimately gained entry to the major leagues of TV and film production starting in 1996 as a boom operator on the NBC series “Homicide: Life on the Street,” produced by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson and based on a David Simon nonfiction book.

The 44-year-old married father of two has been working steadily ever since as boom operator and sound mixer: on the Simon miniseries “The Corner,” on award-winning HBO movies like “Something the Lord Made” and “Shot in the Heart,” on “The Wire,” “Veep” and now 20 episode of “House of Cards.”

“I was so green when I started on the second unit of ‘Homicide,’ I probably almost got fired several times. I was so in over my head,” “Millan said in a phone interview during a lunch break last week on the set of the Netflix production. “But I kept working at it and kind of moved along from there.”

Working on the Maryland-made feature film “Better Living Through Chemistry,” Millan didn’t start sound mixing on “House of Cards” until the ninth episode, but he’s done every one since.

Millan says he’s “over the moon” about the nomination.

“I don’t want to say it’s any kind of justification, because that’s not what it is for me,” he said. “But especially when you’re trying to start out and you say, ‘Oh, I work in film,’ people look at you like you’re crazy, because it’s not a career they can relate to. So, this [nomination] is almost like saying I made the right career choice for myself.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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