Interview with non-fiction writer Usher Morgan


Writer Usher Morgan is here today chatting with me about his new self-help book, Lessons from the Set.


During
his virtual book tour, Usher will be awarding an autographed copy of the book
to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free
to visit
his other tour stops
, too!
Bio:
Usher Morgan is an award-winning screenwriter, film director,
producer and studio executive residing in New York City. Morgan started his
career in book publishing and later became involved with film production and
distribution. He produced his first documentary film The Thought Exchange
starring David Friedman and Lucie Arnaz in 2012, followed by his directorial
debut, the award-winning short film Prego.
Morgan’s first feature film, Pickings was released to AMC
theaters on March 2nd, 2018 and made its way to VOD in August of 2018. His
directing style is influenced primarily by film-noir and spaghetti westerns.
The Los Angeles Times calls Usher Morgan, “a talent to watch.”

Please tell us a little bit about your
book.
Lessons
from the Set: A DIY Guide to Your First Feature Film, From Script to Theaters
is a
step-by-step filmmaking guide that takes a cinephile’s “Do It Yourself”
approach to low-budget indie film production and distribution. This book will
offer you some valuable, practical insight into the process of making a
commercial feature film on a low budget and releasing it to theaters – whether
you’re starting with $1,000 or $1m.

Lessons from the Set will guide you
through the process of writing, planning, directing, producing, marketing, and
releasing your first feature film. You’ll learn how to overcome writing
challenges and improve the quality of your screenplay, how to make $0 budget
short films and perfect your craft, how to plan your film, master filmmaking
tools, and set the stage for your upcoming shoot.

This book is peppered with life-saving tips, tricks, and filmmaking techniques
that will save you a lot of time, money, and energy on set, in pre-production
and in post. You’ll learn how to release your film to theaters, how to tackle
festivals and win awards, how to handle press and get reviews, execute
marketing efforts, and approach the filmmaking process with both an artistic
soul and an entrepreneurial mindset. Lessons
from the Set
was designed to give you all the tools and resources you’ll
need to complete and release your film successfully in any market and help you
set the stage for a prosperous career as a full-time indie filmmaker.


What inspired you to write this book?
After
making my first feature film and releasing it to theaters nationwide, I wanted
to create a book that detailed the step-by-step plan by which any independent
filmmaker can produce and release their own work commercially, and maintain
control over their final product.
Excerpt from Lessons from the Set:
Above All – Be a Writer
Movies are the amalgamation of artistic
talents and technical know-how, coming together to tell a story through moving
pictures, and, while technical know-how is readily available, it is the
artistic talent that’s a little harder to come by. And above all other talents,
in my opinion, is the ability to write that will ultimately make the difference
between success or failure in this business. Think about it: how many bad
movies with big budgets are being made every year? And how many of those
big-budget films are made by amazing technicians who’ve mastered the visual
arts? Almost all of them, but it seems that the one thing that’s missing from
these films is the great script, and that’s because good screenwriters are hard
to come by.
It takes real courage to jump through a
glass window while your whole body is on fire; it takes real patience to work
with actors; it takes a lot of energy and creativity to light a scene and a
really good eye to maintain it on camera; it takes a great ear to handle a mix
and an amazing skill to masterfully paint a face. But above all else, the
process of writing takes everything from you. It takes time, it’s personal, and
it can be very emotional, and without it nothing else really matters. Every
single artist and technician who works on a movie set is working for the sole
purpose of realizing the written word and putting it on the screen for the
world to see. The script is the film’s blueprint, it’s the holy grail, it’s the
beginning of all things – and it’s the art that I think you should spend the
most time mastering. The better you get at writing, the better you get at
making movies and the greater your chances of success in this industry. Now,
there are many great directors who aren’t writers, and that is an approach you
can take, but I think that much like everything else in the DIY world, if you
know how to do it yourself, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money, and
resources. The journey you take to “prove yourself” as a competent director
won’t hinge on mere chance, personal connections, or the need to secure someone
else’s screenplay.
What exciting story are
you working on next?

I’m
currently in production on a few short films, and will be entering production
on my next feature later in 2019.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?

I
write, direct and produce my own work. No day is anything like the other, and
my schedule can get pretty hectic. But overall I’m having fun! Which is what life
should be about, right?

What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I love writing in coffee shops, I try to visit as many of them as I can. At
this point I think it’s more of an obsession than anything. My goal is to write
in every coffee shop in New York City within the next 5 years or so.

As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?

I dreamed about becoming a VFX artist for a long time, but ended up falling in love
with writing and directing.

Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?

Feel free to check me out online via my Website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. And also visit Amazon!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

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