January 19, 2018

SCA Alumni Stories: James Morosini

A USC graduate with deep ties to SCA, James Morosini '14, discusses his experiences acting in major television shows such as American Horror Story, what it is like to work at the helm of one's own projects, and reflects on his time as a student at USC and his journey since then.

 What is your most memorable experience as a student in the USC School of Cinematic Arts? One of my most memorable experiences at USC was making a short film with Peter Franklin for 290 when I was a sophomore. I was in a rocky place emotionally and so was he and we made something that spoke to that. We met up every night after class for a week and talked about the project in my kitchen. Peter had this really weird and intense energy and it made me feel like I could also be weird and intense. Even though its technically all over the place, there’s a lot of heart in it and I’m proud of what we made. Its about a nervous actor that has a meltdown and through it finds freedom. Here’s a link - https://vimeo.com/123973478

What has your career journey been like since graduating from USC? Up and down. Right after college I worked in various night clubs as a bus boy. It was sometimes really fun and sometimes made me feel bad. After about a year, I booked the lead in a Comedy Central pilot that allowed me some financial breathing room. I started working more regularly as an actor, here and there at first, and then more consistently. I did a Clifford Odets play called Awake and Sing for about nine months in Santa Monica. I loved showing up five times a week to tell the same story, a story I cared about and connected to. During that time, I booked a few guest star roles and did my first season of AHS. I also made a web series and taught myself how to edit. After the play ended, I made my first feature. Most recently, I made a short for Eli Roth’s Crypt TV. I’m currently editing my second movie and trying to get financing for another.  

How has your time at USC prepared you for your career so far? Most of the people I work with today, four years after graduating, are also USC people. The relationships I formed while at school were special because they spanned so many areas of life - they weren’t only only about filmmaking.

What can you tell us about your experience working on television shows such as American Horror Story and FeudWhen Ryan Murphy cast me in AHS, I hadn’t had a role that big on TV before, so I was super excited. I had a blast collaborating with people that were really really good at what they do and felt like my work got better in their presence. Being on such a recognizable show made me feel like my hard work had amounted to something, though day to day though, it just felt like a bigger version of what I’ve been doing all along; trying to figure out the best way to tell a story in the most honest way. 

Aside from acting, you also frequently work behind the camera as both a writer and director of your own projects. What can you tell us about your work and experiences as a filmmaker? When I’m writing and directing I feel like a kid coming up with stories to tell my friends. We had very little money to make our first film so I knew that what I could do well with few resources was find actors I loved and make something small and honest. I’m interested in stories that feel authentic because they make me feel like other people are having the same feelings and thoughts as I am. I think that’s why I like watching and making movies; because it makes me feel like I’m among others and that ultimately we’re all in it together.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to tell us about? The feature I made with my friend Sam Sonenshine (Also a USC grad) is called Threesomething. I directed, co-wrote, and starred in it. We’re premiering at Cinequest in February 2018. We’re almost done with our second feature, a comedy about addiction called More. I’ve got a couple TV series in development, one thats a sci-fi anthology about extraterrestrials (6:35PM PST) and another one about an awkward porn-star looking for meaningful friendship (Deeper).

Anything these you would like to add? Checkout some of my work here! : www.jamesmorosini.com/director