We had the good fortune of connecting with Keseh Morgan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keseh, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
The one thing about the industry that outsiders are probably unaware of is that it isn’t all bad. As a woman and woman of color I had a lot of reservations about my ability to thrive in the film industry. The old Hollywood stories of misogyny and racial bias plagued my thoughts. I can happily report that the majority of my experiences have been amazing and enriching. Bias still exists, mansplaining still exists and of course so does chauvinism. However, the group of humans that I’ve been lucky to create with have opened their creative minds and see me as a production designer first.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a production designer. I describe my profession as visual storytelling. Designers are the emotional architects of the story. Why a room is blue instead of green. I create spaces that speak to the stories that are being told. I’m currently most excited about a short film I designed last summer, 2020. Two Distant Strangers; a kind of bizarre Groundhog Day of sorts. The subject matter involves the Black Lives Matter movement and senseless violence at the hands of the police. We shot Downtown Los Angeles during the pandemic and the challenges didn’t end there. The rose of this story is that we’ve been nominated for an Oscar, Best Live Action Short. Rewards aren’t everything but they sure do feel good.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best weekend would be filled with all of the best parts of Los Angles, but more specifically Pasadena. I like local vibes and try to support real people who own real business. Especially post pandemic. I would start the best of the East Side with breakfast at Cos and Pi in South Pasadena. Followed up by a walk around the Arboretum for some peacock watching. A yummy lunch from Cafe Fiore in South Pasadena. Next a visit to the Norton Simon for some art. A jaunt to Fairfax for some fancy sneakers. An arthouse movie at the New Beverly and dinner at the Raymond in Pasadena. If there’s time a hike near JPL or a train ride to a Dodger game is always fun!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shouting out those that have contributed to my success would create a list longer than I could even imagine. I have so much gratitude for the career I have. Every producer that ever hired me and gave me money to create. Every director that gave me creative freedom to express. Every DP who reframed to make it work. Every grip for rigging the impossible. Every gaffer for making it look better. Every PA who carried some awkward heavy random item. Every set decorator who hang and rehang artwork because it needed to be perfect. Every builder who manufactured for me and saw the vision. Every store worker who took back one too many returns even thought they maybe shouldn’t have. Every prop house guide who walked me around several times until it felt right. Every member of my family and friends for dealing with my creative neurosis during each and every project. Every person who watched one of my projects and was transported to another place and time. Every actor who walked onto my sets, felt the color pallet and noticed the details.