Morgan Smith is an actor, comedian, and filmmaker whose focus is on female and queer experiences. Her work includes the award-winning short films “Fork You,” and “What a Difference a Day Makes” in which she starred, wrote, and produced. Morgan has experience directing youth theater @ The LA LGBT Center. She plays the sassy Aphrodite in the digital series "The Pantheon" which is now streaming on The Pop Network. Her short film, "Sinked Up," which she wrote, produced and starred in will be screening at Outfest July 22nd and 26th.

Morgan recently granted an exclusive interview where she discussed all this and more.

Entertainment, movies, producing, and directing

Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you initially get interested in the entertainment industry and why did you gravitate towards film per se?

Morgan Smith (MS): I've always wanted to be an actor. When I went to Boston University, I started in the liberal arts program because I thought having a well-rounded education would make me a better actor. Then I realized I wanted to focus more on acting, but I'd have to start all over as a freshman if I wanted to join their conservatory, which was not an option for me. So, I studied film so I could learn about the industry and snuck in theater major classes. And the rest is her story.

MM: Why are action Movies and comedies among the most represented genres that you work with?

MS: My background is in comedy. I started doing improv in high school. To date that experience, our troupe was called, "That's What She Said." Then I started doing stand-up while I was in college. “Fork You” was initially a comedy-action film, which is probably the closest I'll ever get to do an action movie unless someone needs a quirky sidekick.

MM: You are an actress, a director, a producer, and a which of those passions came first, and how do they influence one another?

MS: Acting's always been my main passion but a close second to that is making my own content. In high school, I created my own elected course where I wrote and put on a one-woman show about my experience working as a Starbucks Barista.

Because the only thing cooler than a nerd is a nerd who invents classes to take. The play was terrible but I had a blast. Ever since then, I've loved being able to create my own opportunities and tell the story I want to tell.

Plots, awards, the theater, and the future

MM: Can you tell us about the plot of “What a Difference a Day Makes” and what it was like to win an award for it?

MS: It's a one-minute short about a woman who's walking down the aisle, looking nervous. We cut back to a day at the beach where she runs into a woman who she falls in love with. We cut back to the wedding and realize she's marrying a man. Then, her lover shows up and chaos ensues, with an unexpected twist. I'd just started the process of coming out in my private life when I made this, so seeing “What a Difference” affect people so much and then win an award on top of that was really special for me.

MM: You also work on theater and even direct a theater program for young people, so how did you get into that?

MS: I used to direct the youth theater program at the LA LGBT Center, which is one of the best jobs I've ever had. I worked with youth ages 14 - 22 to create original pieces about sexual health ranging from consent to gender identity to asexuality. Back in Boston, I created original pieces about social media with the youth program at The Theater Offensive, which is an amazing LGBTQ+ theater company.

MM: What experiences with the entertainment industry have been the most rewarding, and how do you hope your career evolves onward?

MS: Working on my latest short, “Sinked Up.” It's a queer femme love story.

An out-and-proud lesbian and a closeted bisexual woman start off as roommates, and then they fall in love. The whole thing takes place in their bathroom. We made it with an all-female, queer inclusive cast and crew, which was absolutely magical. Many of them had never been on a set where they weren't the only woman before. During our crowdfunding campaign, we had strangers reaching out to us, telling us they were in the closet or out, but not accepted by their community, and they couldn't wait to see the movie. AND we just got accepted into Outfest this year! You can see it in Los Angeles at Laemmle Music Hall, Monday, July 22 at 9:30 pm and TCL Chinese 6 Theatres, Friday, Jul 26 at 5:00 pm. As for the future, I want to grow a community that empowers women and queer people and tells our stories to the world.