May 11, 2020
My guest today is Hollywood actress, producer and director Jennifer Morrison. She’s known for her roles as Dr. Allison Cameron in the medical-drama series House and Emma Swan in an adventure-fantasy series called Once Upon a Time. She also appeared in movies like Star Trek and TV shows like This is Us and How I Met Your Mother.
We got connected through a workshop I hosted called “How to Crush it on Twitter,” which is exactly the kind of wonderful serendipity I talk about when I talk about why you should share your ideas online. We begin this conversation talking about Jennifer’s time playing clarinet in a marching band. Then, we spoke about how she finds inspiration for stories, chooses what to work on, and how she takes on the role of a character. But the best part comes at the end when we talk about imagination and a movie called “Field of Dreams." Please enjoy my conversation with Jennifer Morrison.
1:36- How Jennifer Morrison began playing clarinet and what separates a world-class marching band from a mediocre one. How Jennifer uses a coach to hone her craft. How Jennifer keeps focus in the high-distraction environment of a live shoot.
13:25- Why Jennifer’s bottom line for judging an acting performance is “do I believe you” and “do I care about you?” How directing has changed Jennifer’s acting. How trust, research, and imagination are Jennifer’s keys to great performance.
25:25- Why Jennifer asks, “what is the ecosystem I am about to join” before signing on a project. How conflict can drive creativity. Posturing versus collaborative problem-solving in Hollywood.
35:15- The cogs of the Hollywood “machine,” and the huge financial bet a studio makes when they hire a new actor. Jennifer’s take on the downsides of celebrity, and the baffling art of being “known for being known.”
48:30- Why coming home after being present with thousands of people is one of the most dangerous moments for an actor. How Jennifer reestablishes her own identity after working. How digital streaming and the internet are like quantum physics.
58:35- How Jennifer and David navigate growing and evolving as individuals while having a backlog of performances and writing available to the public. How Jennifer deals with uncertainty and criticism while still moving forward as an actor.
1:08:12- How reestablishing trust in the world will come from individuals reconnecting to their own truth rather than from the media. Why Jennifer only works on projects that she feels strongly driven to.
2:13:27- How Jennifer thinks the current COVID-19 crisis might influence international film making and consumption.
2:18:25- Why Jennifer thinks that Field of Dreams is a perfect movie.