Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgan Swank.
Morgan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story starts in New York. I began working in comedy as an intern for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon before I realized I was slightly funny and could make a decent living writing for tv. As the years went on, I needed to make my way through college. I finally graduated in 2013 and I stayed writing anywhere I could pick up jobs in the same Broadway Video production family on episodes of 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. I started getting into the standup world, knowing I wasn’t very good, but needing to figure out how to write all kinds of jokes for the universe I was throwing myself into. It was fine for a while, if nothing else, it was a way to get out a lot of the comedic content I wasn’t able to get in my sketches. This was all from 2012-2015.
I realized it was my time to spread my wings and scripted television was where I needed to stretch my wings next. I made a web series in 2015, still in New York at this time, about three pornography writers called “On The Job” for Funny or Die (RIP Funny or Die) that was my first foray into wearing all the hats of writing, directing, and producing my own project. Thank god for that project. It sent me to about 10 film festivals, got me my first manager, and helped me meet the people I needed to in Los Angeles to start making television full-time.
Now, we come to 2016-present, where I’m making tv, have a management team that I love. My manager, Mereb at Beverly Road Management is a Queen and I love her very much. Seriously, you will not find any better representation. Look her up. Send her a script. We’ve got two pilots out at networks, which feels like a major accomplishment for someone of my age and I don’t take that for granted, an Emmy on my mantle, and a production company based out of Atlanta and a remote office in Los Angeles I run with my business partner (and amazing actress/writer) Blair Allison called Moonscar Productions that I’m incredibly proud of. Moonscar is my baby right now. It’s dedicated to working with writers and producers wanting to create more genre content and represent the underrepresented voices that may not feel like they have a voice. We want to make Moonscar a place for anyone and everyone looking to create. It’s a very good place to be.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Oh, it definitely has not been a smooth road. Being a screenwriter is already choosing the path of a struggling artist at all times. Choosing to write is a hard life. Choosing to be a creator is a hard life. It’s constantly against you and the way the industry is structured is in such a way that it’s against you nearly all the time until one day you get lucky. However, I wouldn’t change my story or my career for the world and now, I’m trying to do what I can to help guide others to a place where it’s easier to create and be seen and heard.
If I had any advice for women starting out on a similar journey, it’s to surround yourself with a very good team of uplifting people at all times. Your friends, partners, business acquaintances, and anyone that comes into your life are invaluable. It’s not having a large network of people, it’s having a group that you can serve and serve you back sincerely and even getting everything you want in life is not worth it if you can’t share with people you love and can help on the way. And always find amazing women to work and lift up because they will do the same for you and help you when you need it most. I would be nowhere without my core group and some of those are my writing partners and amazing women friends you need to know like Lauren Rantala, Skye Tenorio, Jenilyn Rodriguez, Segen Genesis. My makeup and stylist friends Taylor Rea and Turya Nations with Cacali, my manager and one of my best friends and therapists Mereb Gebremariam at Beverly Road Management. My Photographer friends extraordinaire Wrenne Evans and Kristen Englert-Lenz. My business partner Blair Allison. My musical accompaniment Julia Bullock from The Foxies. The list goes on and on. It’s just a wonderful network that grows when you have that genuine group to work with professionally and also trust personally. It’s very valuable in this business.
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I’m a writer. I write for television, but you might have seen my web series or shorts somewhere. I realized I’m very good in television early and so that’s what I do. With Moonscar, my partner and I keep our brand in the horror genre most often and that’s what I’ve been working with lately. I have worked in comedy and still do, but I’m very proud of my jump into the horror scope as of late.
What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Womxn leaders have to cross so many barriers in any field or industry. Mine is no different with regards to entertainment. It’s a male-dominated industry, to begin with, and it’s hard to make a quick shift to change that. I think, hiring more female writers and directors as well as the representation we see in major and minor roles is a big step to take to break those barriers.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/morganswank
- Other: www.instagram.com/moonscar_productions
Wrenne Evans, Kristen Englert-Lenz