Eau Claire native Justin Johnson’s film “Double Digits” premieres at the Downtown Cinema

The new documentary follows the life of a 52-year-old internet art film maker from Kansas

More stories from Brian Sheridan



The story of the struggling artist is both timeless and captivating.

Whether it’s the struggles of Van Gogh or the tale of a small-time filmmaker from Wichita, Kansas, both convey creativity and passion.

Director and Eau Claire native Justin Johnson decided to share the latter with the world in his new documentary “Double Digits: The Story of a Neighborhood Movie Star,” which premiered in Eau Claire Friday at the Downtown Cinema.

The documentary follows the life of Richard ‘R.G’ Miller; a 52-year-old man from Kansas who makes full-length, homemade “internet art films” and publishes them on his YouTube account R.G. Studios.

R.G.’s real studio is actually his kitchen. He’s usually the sole director, producer, actor and set designer, often using action figures as other characters and making his own set right on the kitchen counter.

R.G’s films are not very well known, to say the least. Before the documentary, his films would pull in around 10 views. R.G. believes that if his film gets into the double digits, it’s a success.

He uses a unique style of filming and editing that makes it hard classify what they are exactly, which helps understand the “internet art film” title to them.

Whatever they are, they’re his life and Johnston does a beautiful job showing a full, well-rounded story of R.G. following his dream.

In “Double Digits”, Johnston includes a variety of clips from R.G.’s works — going all the way back to the ‘70s — and uses them to help tell his story and show his growth as a filmmaker, making it almost seem like a movie within a movie.

A large portion of the film is following R.G. on the process of making his latest film “The Mask Man.” You get to see how this man works, and listen to all his quirkiness and life philosophies.

The film also likes to talk about inspiration. Whether it be R.G. being inspired by something or R.G. being an inspiration for others, the film as a whole succeeded in being a source of motivation for the audience, even for its director.

“There were times where it was hard to finish the documentary,” Johnston said. “But then R.G. would say something inspiring and I would feel like I had to continue finishing the documentary.”

R.G. always has a go-get-em’ kind of attitude towards his films and life. He’s not upset he gets 10 views on his hour-long films that he’s been working on for a month. And when things go wrong, he accepts it and keeps pushing forward.

But through all the fun of the filmmaking, Johnston also shows dark parts of R.G.’s life and the struggles and depression he has faced to get to where he is today. Johnston has you laughing at tiny action figures talking in funny accents at one moment, only to make you teary-eyed over the most heart-wrenching facets of R.G.’s past.

Johnston managed to take a man, seemingly invisible to the world, and make him into this captivating spectacle for the audience. There wasn’t a single moment where I thought this guy was dull or boring or unworthy of having a whole documentary about himself.

R.G. is such a great subject that at the end of it all, you want to talk to him and watch him work his madness into his next project.

To help R.G. reach his goal of double digit viewers, his latest videos can be found on YouTube at R.G. Studios, along with his film “The Mask Man,”, the one featured in the documentary. “Double Digits” will be available Dec. 8 on video on demand.