Originally from Edinburg, Mississippi, Megan Morrison is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. Her short film DEAD COLOR, a thriller in the vein of the TV show Tales from the Crypt, was a semi-finalist for the Los Angeles Cinefest and screened in festivals across the country including the Catalina Film Festival and the Crossroads Film Festival. Megan was a Top 5% finalist for the Warner Brothers TV Writer’s Fellowship and the ABC Writer’s Fellowship with her southern lady cop drama pilot BACKWOODS. Her feature screenplay, BREATH OF LIFE, won an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation screenwriting award for showcasing the life and work of Dr. Mary Ellen Avery, who pioneered the medical treatment of premature infants.
Megan has collaborated and/or performed at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, the Puppet Happening of Pittsburgh, and on the children’s television show The Magic Woods. She also toured for five years with Puppet Arts Theater (Peter Zapletal, Director), which performed in rural elementary schools throughout Mississippi. Megan holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is a member of the WGA Independent Writer’s Caucus as well as the Los Angeles Guild of Puppetry. When not creating, Megan enjoys backpacking in the mountains around Los Angeles and in the Eastern Sierra. She recently backpacked the entire John Muir Trail northbound (over 250 miles).
After college, Megan fled the States to teach English to French teenagers in Lanester on the western coast of France. While there, she discovered the happiness that is buying oysters right out of the sea, butter on a ham sandwich, and the smell of freshly baking baguettes at three a.m. Contrary to what you’re thinking, she did more than eat her weight in bread and cheese. Like take siestas and sing French karaoke (RIP Johnny Halladay!). Megan had the privilege of co-directing French college students in Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap at the University of Southern Bretagne. The performance was presented at the University of Galway in Galway, Ireland, as part of a cultural exchange. Her unsolicited advice to you is to travel. Travel with people who don’t speak your language. Travel to a destination you didn’t know existed. It will open your heart and mind and your taste buds will thank you.
Megan’s interest in the law led to working at the law office of public interest attorney Robert McDuff in Jackson, Mississippi. This was truly a life-changing experience. The office specialized in post-conviction relief including death penalty defense and appellate cases. As the office’s sole support person, Megan was constantly busy. She visited incarcerated clients, tracked down medical records and family members, and interviewed potential clients as well as acted as process server, notary, and handler.
The job opened Megan’s eyes to the racial and economic prejudices in the justice system and the importance of due process. She is most proud to have been involved with the defense of the Jena Six, the wrongful death suit of Henry Dee and Charles Moore, and the exonerations of Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. The law office collaborated extensively with the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Innocence Project (NYC, New Orleans, and Oxford, MS), and the Mississippi Youth Justice Project, just a few of the organizations that work tirelessly to make the legal system fair and just for all.
If she had not chosen to pursue writing full-time, Megan would have become a criminal defense attorney.
After being accepted into Carnegie Mellon University’s MFA in dramatic writing program, Megan moved to Pittsburgh where she studied under playwright Rob Handel and attended workshops with Anne Washburn, Mac Wellman, and Tia Cothoron.
Megan did extensive research and collaborated with scientists to write screenplays for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which specializes in science-based film and theater projects. Megan’s screenplay THE NURTURE OF VIOLENCE was an award finalist her first year, and her screenplay BREATH OF LIFE won an award her second year. If you want to talk surface tension in the lungs, Megan’s ready and willing.
Megan spent her summers working crew at the Three Rivers Arts Festival, and teaching puppetry at Summer Dreamers. After graduation, she drove across the country to Los Angeles, visiting Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, and Bryce Canyon along the way.
Upon arriving in L.A., Megan lived in a one-bedroom Air BNB with two other CMU MFA graduates. Fun times!
While pursuing her writing career, she’s worked as a legal assistant at ABC Studios, contract administrator at Paramount, and freelance copy/script editor.
The best advice she’s received about making it in L.A.: “L.A. doesn’t chew people up and spit them out. People get tired, and they give up. Stay at it long enough and you will make it.” Thanks, Clark!