If you want something done you’ve gotta do it yourself.
Screenwriter Morgan Lariah is wasting no time in fulfilling her filmmaking dreams, and she’s doing it with passion and purpose. An avid environmentalist, Morgan has been busy honing her screenwriting craft to include strong “green” messages with a sci-fi twist, and we are here for it!
We first met Morgan when we randomly selected her to our top 25 semi-finalists in our “So, Write Your Bills Away” Sweepstakes. Her angle is fascinating and unique. An actress, Morgan was dissatisfied with the roles for which she was auditioning and considered writing her own. She watched her filmmaking friends for inspiration while they worked through film school.
“Watching their work gave me the confidence that I could write my own,” she told us. “I started working with my friend, Jacob Halajian, right after he graduated film school, but I was so shy and nervous that I couldn’t touch the keys on the keyboard in front of him. So, we would sit, side by side, and talk it all out as he typed. I’m a bit bolder now.”
And I’d say “a bit” is an understatement. Morgan co-wrote, produced, and acted in her indie science fiction thriller “5th Passenger,” only after crowdfunding the feature to help get it off the ground. It was a huge, four-year endeavor. As filming got underway, Morgan said the reality of being a screenwriter hit her.
“It was now bigger than me,” she said in her sweepstakes cover letter. “I realized that the film had taken on a life of its own … but it all started with a script.”
Morgan is genuinely passionate about the subject of her work, writing about themes of ecology, conservation, and female experiences. And she puts her money where her mouth is, tirelessly championing these causes outside of screenwriting, according to friend Katherine MacDonald, Senior Vice President of Development at Paramount Pictures Animation.
“Many people write about these issues in their work, but Morgan lives them,” Katherine said. “The result is truly powerful writing that sings with authenticity and fierce truth.”
I believe Katherine. As one of our incredible semifinalists, I offered to send Morgan a SoCreate t-shirt for all her hard work. She declined because she lives a zero-waste, hyper-streamlined lifestyle. I mean, if that’s not commitment to the cause, what is?!
Katherine added that she believes Morgan is on the brink of breaking in, and Morgan thinks she’s headed there, too.
“I do have a deep belief that good work will eventually find its audience and be seen,” she told me. “I would like to get to the place where I can live off what I create, have more and more opportunities to create, and find more collaborators in the creative process.”
So, she keeps at it. Morgan is currently finishing her second feature script, “Colony_01,” a sci-fi story about colonists leaving Earth to colonize Saturn’s moon, Titan. You can read a sample of that script here. You can also follow her progress on her website or her Instagram @MorganLariah.
“Ira Glass has a wonderful quote from This American Life where he talks about the gap between starting out and where you know your work could be,” she explained. “The only way to get where you want to be is to keep working and get out all of your bad stuff so the good stuff can come through."
“I think this applies to all artistic mediums and not just writing. As a writer, though, I’ve gotten to the place where I soothe myself by reminding myself that the first draft is going to be just awful, but it can’t get better until I get that first draft down. So, I just embrace that, and it’s somehow very liberating. It's also comforting to know that it will never truly be finished, it can always be better, so I look at the craft as more like a process.”
Trust the process,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach