Morgan Cooper, the director behind the viral Bel-Air concept video, is a creator to watch in 2020. Cooper not only has a Quibi streaming comedy called Black Coffee coming out with Sony Pictures TV and Gabrielle Union, but he’s also released his latest short film, U SHOOT VIDEOS?. The film gives audiences a look into what it’s like for Black creatives trying to find their direction in the entertainment industry.
We caught up with Cooper and asked him about U SHOOT VIDEOS? (USV) as well as his upcoming projects.
In your own words, what is this film about?
USV? is a film about Moji, a young Black creative from Kansas City who shoots low budget music videos for a living. He’s tired of the music video grind and wants to expand his horizons, but making the leap is challenging and at times dangerous. This film is a love letter to dreamers, creatives of color and my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri.
How is this project inspired by any of your personal, real-life experiences?
In many ways, making this film was cathartic because everything and everyone portrayed in this film are based on real experiences and real people in my life. I tapped into the memories that I have of being 19 years old, running around with a Canon T2i in the hood shooting music videos to pay my rent. I learned so much from those experiences; not only about the craft but about working with people in all types of situations and how to be resourceful. I didn’t go to college, so this was my version of film school. I also tapped into the memories I have of making the transition to commercials and working in spaces where I was the only Black creative. Distilling all of those memories and combining my story with the real Moji, who inspired the end of the film, created a very raw, personal story that has resonated with so many people who share similar experiences.
Why do you think so many young Black creatives and filmmakers will be able to relate to U SHOOT VIDEOS?
This film highlights a lot of the experiences that we face as young Black creatives working our way up in this industry; the feeling of being on the outside looking in, finding your creative voice and developing the confidence to expand your horizons, all while still being true to yourself. I think so many young creatives can relate to being a one-man-band and hustling to make a living when starting out in this business. Ultimately, I wanted young Black creatives to feel heard through this film and to know that our voices and perspectives matter. If you’re just starting out, you have nothing to be ashamed of. If you show up, give your all and strive to grow in your craft, you’re good enough and can achieve anything.
Were you anticipating the huge response to your viral Bel-Air trailer?
When we wrapped Bel-Air, I knew that we created something special. My vision came from an honest place, which is why I feel it resonated with so many people. You can never predict something going viral, but I’m glad that so many people connected with my vision!
What other projects do you have coming up?
I’m working with Universal TV on a new project and sold an original idea to Quibi that I’m really excited about!
Photo: Morgan Cooper
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