TAEM- It takes a lot of experience to finally take a place behind the cameras for filmmaking in Hollywood and produce award winning films. It is not often that The Arts and Entertainment Magazine can truly interview a filmmaker with those qualities of diversification. One such talent is Scott Morgan, who has worked in front of a camera, as well as behind it.
Scott, we understand that you first started out as an actor and model. Please tell us about this aspect of your career.
SM-My modeling in Chicago led to three commercials, one a national for Calvin Klein, that sent me to LA. I worked on LA Law and other shows.
TAEM- You soon realized that screenwriting, and working behind the camera, was more to your liking. What influenced your decision to do so ?
SM-Before modeling and acting, I was a celebrated guest chef, a working photographer, and took the Panavision Orientation Class to Cinematography. So I was always hyper-creative. I’d written a book on food called Tongue In Chic, and screenwriting excited me. My first script was written while doing stunt doubling on The Insider on the Universal lot, and my pure luck that first screenplay ended up in the hands of Heather Locklear, who gave it to a top exec. They loved the comedy so much I had literary representation 5 days after my first finished script. That led to Options at studios.
SM- My parents were both superb writers. However, it was the energy created throughout the filmmaking process that so greatly inspired me. Personally, my first mentor Freddie Fields and his partner Jerome Hellman that produced Glory, Midnight Cowboy, American Gigolo, and other super hits told me I had what it takes for great creative writing. Later, Barry London, former head of Paramount Pictures, partnered with me, and taught me more about marketing and deal making for films than probably any other screenwriter. This tutoring led to the Nobel Family (of the Nobel Prizes) to hire me to write and lead the Executive Producing team in the Independently-financed, amazing epic movie on their family saga set in Europe, from 1895-1922. A truly amazing story that got immediate attention due to the importance of their family name, and the terrific execution of a very complex action film set around Emanuel Nobel. We scouted locations last year.
SM- Though I was schooled in the great old techniques, I was way ahead of Hollywood in the use of High Definition and other groundbreaking technology. I was the very first to shoot a 3-camera sitcom in High Def, and also did two experimental films long before they were even allowed in film festivals. I was lucky enough to be on the set during what I think are some golden years of television and film production, before High Definition and the speed of edits per minute changed so much in the finished product and how audiences accept them. This means I learned the rules that made films and TV great. Solid production values, key elements in cinematography, Directing techniques, handling the pressure of production, the complex dance between Directing and staying on schedule and within budget. Just being on the set of Cheers, or L.A. Law, taught me so much. Then, I was hired by a few A-list Producers or Directors, Oscar winners, that taught me even more. But it isn’t until you are in charge of your first film production as Director that you really understand. One joke I like to make about Directing is that you show up at 6 a.m., light a barbecue, sit on it, and pretend it’s not hot the entire day — because the entire crew and cast takes their cues from the Director.
SM- Playing Solitaire was the first script and film that I had full creative control over, and due to that freedom it won Best Picture, Best Director, and for our lead Best Actress in the 3 film festivals it entered in 2004. It was a dark, twisted story based on a true event, that centers around a girl’s insanity and revenge. From that, I oddly enough got work creating and Directing sitcoms. But, a few Indie film branches of studios like Warner Brothers did meet with me to see if I had another dark film for the Festivals. Those are coming up in 2014.
TAEM- What was the theme behind the film and the genre that it represented?
SM- The theme was “The Isolated Female Is Capable Of Anything.” And the genre is suspense with a sexy element to it.
TAEM- Your next two projects were Club Fiji and Cupid’s Bow. What were the visions behind these productions and what progress have they made ?
SM- Both of these were sitcoms I wrote and then Directed. Club Fiji was financed independently, and almost made it to air. What I learned from that I applied to Cupid’s Bow.
SM- Cupid’s Bow is classic, 3-camera sitcom. It takes the brand template of Glee (music, youth, comedy, drama, dance) and puts it into a sitcom. The comedy is edgy, like Family Guy, and it revolves around a Girl Band like The Pussycat Dolls that almost makes it but keeps losing out. I cast terrific singers and taught them to be sitcom actors, rather than what Hollywood usually does which is cast actresses and hope they can sing.
TAEM- You also are being courted by Entertainment Industry for everything from film to TV to gaming. Can you give us some insight into this sudden popularity?
SM- Yes, the key reason I’m newsworthy is because I’ve spent the last 6 months creating a whole new medium for branding, marketing, pitching a film or product, and connecting with the buying base. I call them Pitch Shorts. They are hyper creative Short Films that are written about an idea or product, and the facts are delivered by gorgeous girls in comedic style, in 5-10 minutes. They can be seen at www.sexiestscreenwriteralive.com. The bigger theme is CREATIVE GENIUS IS SEXY. It can be created in a week, shot in a week, all for less than a fraction what a commercial does, and it’s in the hands of your investors or public within days. It’s like creating music videos before anyone realized they needed them to hype a star or product. In less than a week it resulted in an incredible amount of work from new clients, from a car company hiring me to do a Pitch Short about their new software (that they didn’t want to come across boring) to film script deals, to product Shorts. It has even made us a star in Africa due to a Pitch Short made about a true hero there that is the star of a film script I wrote.
SM-For 15 years I have spent 2-5 weeks a year in South Asia helping orphan children in Vietnam (mostly) and Thailand. I have been the father to a girl named Miley Ngan Morgan I adopted (unofficially) and she helps me deliver food, medicine, education, and help to orphanages of the truly super-needy Vietnamese children and Thai kids. I fund it entirely myself, investing tens of thousands of dollars in this over a decade. A very worthwhile personal dedication, and I have a beautiful daughter living in Saigon from it. Though it’s tough some years when I don’t make a ton of money and want to do so much, it always results in my being recharged and successful.
TAEM- Scott, we want to thank you for your time with our interview and know that our readership will pay close attention to all of your undertakings. We want to wish you much luck in all that you do, and know we will hear much about you in the future.
SM- Thank you, and please visit www.sexiestscreenwriteralive.com to see my Pitch Shorts in action.