This is an interview you’ve been asking for since before I started the podcast: Morgan Spurlock.
Morgan Spurlock (@morganspurlock) is an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker based in New York. He is a prolific writer, director, producer, and human guinea pig. His first film, Super Size Me, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004, winning Best Directing honors. The film went on to win the Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Screenplay award as well as garner an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature Documentary.
Since then he has directed, produced, and distributed multiple film, TV and digital projects, including the critically acclaimed CNN series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man, the FX series 30 Days, and the films Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, Confessions of a Superhero, Freakonomics, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, and many others.
Morgan’s latest project is a tech startup called Clect (homepage, AngelList profile), which is a community for the high-spending collectors community with a one-stop marketplace where people can browse, sell, and buy collectibles of any type imaginable (Star Wars, Smurfs, comics, a Millennium Falcon made from motorcycle parts, etc.). Imagine Comic-Con meets Pinterest and eBay.
In this episode, we cover a ton:
- How Morgan got his biggest breaks and, in some cases, made his own luck
- How he builds rapport with people and gets them to open up
- Tips for aspiring creators and filmmakers
- How to get people to care about important issues
- Favorite books, documentaries, movies, etc.
- Morgan’s thoughts on the future of media and storytelling
If you want a taste of this fantastic interview, here’s the segment on how Morgan gets people to care about important issues.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
Want to hear another podcast from a film director, screenwriter and producer? — Listen to my conversation with Robert Rodriguez. In this episode, we discuss the creation of “El Mariachi” and how the film went on to win the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival (stream below or right-click here to download):
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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What important issues are you most passionate about? Please let me know in the comments.
Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Learn more about Clect
- Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
- Read about Skyler Tanner’s scientific revisitation of Super Size Me
- Learn more about NYU Film School
- Morgan’s films mentioned:
- Learn more about Morgan Spurlock’s production company Warrior Poets
- Learn more about Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand
- Learn more about the FOCUS FORWARD innovation series by General Electric
- Simple equipment used to record this interview:
- Morgan Spurlock’s favorite documentary of all time: Brother’s Keeper
- The Thin Blue Line and The Fog of War by Errol Morris
- Watch examples of smart nonfiction:
- Read about James Cameron’s style, Man of Extremes
- Connect with Morgan Spurlock on social media:
- Check out Nuzzel, which provides a digest from the Twitter accounts you follow
- On post-Super Size Me judgment [8:50]
- How Morgan Spurlock was inspired to become a storyteller [9:36]
- Why New York fits Morgan Spurlock’s personality more than Hollywood [12:45]
- Important lessons learned at NYU Film School [13:46]
- First major project post-film school [14:35]
- On the power of listening [18:50]
- On deciding to do 30 Days [24:07]
- Mandatory Morgan Spurlock movies [29:23]
- How to get people to care about important issues in a noisy environment [36:45]
- Movie or TV – How to decide which is best? [38:47]
- Resources for masterful storytelling [42:58]
- Exploring the future of movie making – TV, Netflix, Networks, etc. [48:37]
- Speculating on future projects [51:26]
- Who are the filmmakers pushing the technological envelope? [55:52]
- The story of the making of Super Size Me [57:25]
- On forward-thinking thought leaders [1:01:03]
- Most gifted books [1:02:43]
- About Clect [1:03:55]
- If you could have one billboard anywhere, what would it say and why? [1:07:20]
- Rick Baker
- Tom Savini
- Joe Berlinger
- Bruce Sinofsky
- Errol Morris
- Michael Moore
- Steve James
- Al Maysles
- John Landgraf
- Alex Gibney
- James Cameron
Posted on: March 29, 2016.
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Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.