One Day

One Day on the Set of Justin Long's New Comedy

We spend the day with Ringling College of Art and Design grad Nick Morgulis, who's working with actor Justin Long on his new comedy.

By Cooper Levey-Baker Photography by Robert Castro December 29, 2016 Published in the January 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Since graduating from the filmmaking program at Ringling College of Art and Design in 2012, Chicago native Nick Morgulis, now a 30-year-old Brooklynite, has worked freelance in addition to directing the feature film Paradise, FL, which screened at the 2015 Sarasota Film Festival. He recently flew back here to work as cinematographer for a comedy written by, directed by and starring Justin Long, famous for roles in Apple’s “Get a Mac” ad campaign and movies like Live Free Or Die Hard. Morgulis worked with Ringling professors and students, as well as industry pros. “These projects are the most fun,” Morgulis says. “There’s such a good energy. And Justin was easy to work with and a fun guy to hang out with.”

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7:02 a.m. “I’m meeting with the lighting, camera and grip crews. While you’re shooting you’re thinking about what you’re shooting right after that. A shoot equals X amount of dollars and you only have eight or nine hours of shooting a day.”

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10:30 a.m. “We’re working in front of a green screen. If the person is too close to the wall or the wall isn’t lit properly, you can get a green light bouncing back. Here I’m telling Justin the area he can work in.”

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10:45 a.m. “Shooting a comedy is fun because with someone like Justin there’s a lot of improvisation that could be gold. This was the last day, so everyone was a grizzled veteran.”

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12:27 p.m. “Lunch with Tony Stopperan, an executive producer, and David Shapiro [not shown] of Semkhor, the company building the new soundstage with Ringling. There are 1,000 things you have to decide quickly and talk about.”

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1:45 p.m. “Since I wanted to shoot the yacht club scenes at sunset, we had a break during the day, so I went skateboarding.”

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2:33 p.m. “I’m using a Sony documentary-style camera with a great zoom lens. Once I get a script, I think about color palettes, shadows, what style serves the story. This was sort of a cross between cinéma vérité and a show you’d see on HBO.”

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4:46 p.m. “With Tony at the Sarasota Yacht Club; we’re going through the checklist of what needs to happen right away. There are a lot of moving parts trying to get to the same spot at the same time.”

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5:31 p.m. “Justin’s character is doing a snapshot of himself on a boat with champagne and shrimp. He and his brother, Christian, a writer and producer, wrote a great script.”

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8:06 p.m. “We’re done shooting, and getting tacos at Tijuana Flats. You never want to congratulate yourself while you’re shooting. But by the end of this one we were happy. Still, it’s a lot of waking up really early and going to bed late.”

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