Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock On How Big Risks Can Lead to Big Rewards

By in Avid Customer Association, The A-List, Video Editing

“If you’re going to take risks, you need to have persistence of vision.”

That was just one of the tips documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock shared with our more than 1,000 attendees at this year’s Avid Connect event, the second annual gathering of the Avid Customer Association.

Morgan, a true new media pioneer of today, was one of our keynotes on the final day of Avid Connect—closing out 36-hours of networking with partners, collaborating with peers, dancing (yes, it happened) and working together to shape the future of the industry.

With the whole world of entertainment continually changing, how do we as media professionals stay relevant and evolve? To Morgan, it’s all about taking risks, continuing to feed yourself and sticking it to the man.

And just what does that mean? Let me share a few key insights with you from the media pioneer himself.

Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock Shares How Big Risks Can Lead to Big Rewards

You have to recognize an opportunity

“You should do anything you can to seize that opportunity when you see it,” Morgan said.

To work in the media business, you need to see the opportunity before you. For Morgan, this happened in 1993. After constantly badgering the production team of Léon: The Professional for a job, he was hired when they heard he could speak Spanish.

Only later did they learn that was an extension of the truth. “I’m not telling you to lie to get ahead, but you are in the entertainment industry,” Morgan said.

“I tell people all the time that when it comes to risk, you need to take as much risk as possible. How much risk can you take?”

You need to take as much risk as possible

“I tell people all the time that when it comes to risk, you need to take as much risk as possible. How much risk can you take? How much makes you comfortable in your business?”

Earlier in Morgan’s career he had $50k in the bank to either pay off mounting debt or make a movie. He took a risk and made the hugely popular Super Size Me, leading him down a career path that continues to evolve. In fact, Morgan didn’t grow up thinking he was going to make documentaries, but here he is today.

“Don’t be so tied to your ideas that you miss your opportunity,” he said. A statement that couldn’t be more true.



Have persistence of vision

“If you are brave enough to stay the course, you can change anything.”

Case in point: Netflix creator Reed Hastings pursued his dream, insisting that people will stream movies and watch content on their computers, Morgan shared. It took 15 years, but it happened.

“If you’re going to take risk, you need to have persistence of vision. It could lead to a sea change just like it did for Reed Hastings with Netflix, “ Morgan said. “When it comes to risk, no one wants to be first. But no one wants to be last.”


Continue to push boundaries

“Do things that have never been done before,” he adds. Morgan was encouraged to start owning his own space and voice. And he listened—creating the Smartish channel on YouTube.

“Our goal was to bridge the gap between something smart like TED Talk and reality TV… It’s my space.”

"No One wants to be FIRST... but No One wants to be LAST either" ~Morgan Spurlock #AVIDConnect

A photo posted by Liam Johnson (@3rdpassmedia) on

And I’ll leave you with this from Morgan …

“With great risk, comes great reward. The old adage is true,” he says. According to Morgan, you need to put yourself out there in new ways and expand in your career for rewards. What is the reward for you? Money, building on success, achieving your goals?

“And be true to you,” he continues. “A friend asked if I’d rather have an Oscar or Emmy and  … at the end of the day, I’d rather have a career. The most important thing you can do in your career is to take chances, take risks and take control.”

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With a background in journalism and a passion for bringing information to the masses, I focus my attention on sharing the latest Avid news with you in my role as the Marketing Communications Specialist. @Timory