We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Nager and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Megan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My business started pretty organically. I had always been passionate about creating my own content, and applied that to my filmmaking endeavors. The first piece of content I ever made was a pilot that I wrote, produced, directed and acted in (way too much for one person in retrospect). That forced me to learn all about filmmaking and got me thinking about eventually creating my own production company. As I began to create even more content for myself, I moved into making more short-form digital content for social media platforms in addition to my films. My friends eventually began to ask me for help and then would refer me to other artists who were looking to create their own content – whether that be full films or short, 1 minute Instagram sketches. By 2018, I had begun creating content full time and officially launched my own company, Wake and Make Media.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I originally moved to Los Angeles in 2012 determined to win an Oscar within a year. The joke was on me, because I quickly realized that that really only happens in movies or in dreams (aside from the select few people who have been lucky enough to win an Oscar within a year of pursuing acting). I had always wanted to be a professional actor from the time I was young, but I grew up in an incredibly academic environment where artistic endeavors were always treated as a hobby. I wanted to pursue acting when I was younger, but my parents always wanted me to focus on school before I did anything else. Therefore, when I moved out to LA I was ecstatic to finally be pursuing my dream. Very early on, I started to perform stand-up comedy and improv, and eventually went on to perform both regularly. I began booking comedy shows at venues such as The Laugh Factory, The Hollywood Improv, The Comedy Store, and Flapper’s Comedy Club. It was around this time that I began to create my own comedic content. I’ve always been passionate about comedy, and found myself with a lot of down time in between auditioning and perfuming stand-up at night. It was then that I officially discovered my love of content creation and decided to rigorously pursue it. Early on, I realized that a lot of working in Hollywood required waiting around and appealing to “higher ups” – whether that be to cast you in a role, hire you for a job, or pick up a TV show. This made me feel pretty dejected and like I had to constantly beg people to pay attention to me. Creating content was a great way for me to take my power back and take control back of my career. There were so many times that I wanted to give up – whether it be because I wasn’t making money, I felt like I had no chance of “making it”, I was burnt out, I was rejected, etc. Every time I felt like I was on the brink of quitting, however, a tiny voice in the back of my head encouraged me to keep going. I knew that my younger self would have been so proud of me even when I felt like I was failing. Today, the work I’m best known for is short, comedic digital content that emphasizes the impact that social media and internet culture has on millennials. I often find myself writing and creating content that talks about how big of an impact social media has on us. Whether that be body image issues or mental health issues of other kinds, I love to highlight these in my work and provide my viewers with an understanding that social media can be toxic.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles has so many amazing things to do. Unfortunately, since COVID, not everything has been open but there are so many amazing places to go and things to see. I grew up by the ocean in South Florida, so the closer I am to the beach, the better I feel. Therefore, I’d start the morning with brunch in Culver City/Venice at Go Get ‘Em Tiger. I’d then head to the beach and walk around, relax, and just explore my surroundings. Both Venice Beach and Santa Monica have great views although they’re more touristy. I love going to Malibu when I have the time because it’s a lot quieter. From there, I’d head closer into the city and stop by Brentwood Country Mart. They have amazing, cute little restaurants, coffee shops and stores to walk around. My favorite dinner spot is Gracias Madre. It’s Mexican vegan food, and although I’m not vegan, I absolutely LOVE it.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are SO many people, books, astrologists (seriously LOL) who have helped guide and shape me throughout my lifetime and I am so thankful for all of them. However, the three I’d like to thank the most would have to be my business partner, Corey Turney, my dad, and Elizabeth Gilbert. Before I met Corey, a big essential piece of my business was missing – cinematography and editing. I could do both on my own but neither (especially cinematography) were my strong suit, so I always found myself stressed out trying to find both an editor and a cinematographer who would complement my projects. When Corey and I met, we immediately noticed that we both had qualities and skills that the other lacked. This helped Wake and Make Media SO much. With Corey on board, our content immediately increased in quality and quantity. My dad has always been a natural-born entrepreneur. Although he began his professional career as a doctor, he quickly used his medical knowledge to expand outside of just practicing medicine. He quickly opened medical centers throughout South Florida that he grew to be the biggest medical center in the Southern United States. He then went on to start several other companies and continues to do so today. I learned a lot from watching him work when I grew up, and always looked up to him because he was so inventive, intelligent, and passionate. No roadblock ever stopped or discouraged him and he was always thinking of new business ideas and concepts. Because of this, I naturally grew to develop a very entrepreneurial mindset. I’ve always loved working on multiple projects at one time, and have been passionate about having my own business since the time I was young. Additionally, my dad always encourage me to keep going when I felt unmotivated or discouraged. My ability to survive Hollywood and navigate the difficulties of the industry can largely be attributed to this. Even now, whenever I do feel discouraged or am unsure of what to do, I call my dad and he always helps me look at the situation with a fresh mindset. I learned about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Big Magic” from a friend who told me she thought I’d love it. The second I began to read the book, I was absolutely blown away by the depth of knowledge and insight that Elizabeth provides artists. The book does such an amazing job at describing the creative process in general and gives us as human beings, a really unique perspective on creativity. I’ve read the book over 10 times, and always pick it up to read when I’m feeling down or stuck.