A sit-down with Emerson alum Graham Wright

by Jason Madanjian / Beacon Staff • October 2, 2013

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2010 Emerson alum Graham Wright.
2010 Emerson alum Graham Wright.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, associate producer and 2010 Emerson alumnus Graham Wright, 28, whose most recent work is the new documentary Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie, sat down with the Beacon for an exclusive interview about his role on the film, the finished product, and his future aspirations. 

The Berkeley Beacon: How did you get involved with this film? 

Graham Wright: I got contacted by Ironbound Films. Before I could even get a job in LA, I found one in New York. I went to work with them full-time in the fall of 2010. 

BB: What did your role of associate producer entail?

GW: I got thrust into watching hour after hour of footage [from The Morton Downey Jr. Show]. There was 400 hours of show footage. At one point [the production team] was going toe to toe to see who could watch the most episodes in a day. But being able to log one of the most raucous television shows was a lot of fun. I also gripped interviews, did a lot of research with NBC and CNN archives, and arranged interviews. I touched pretty much every level of production

BB: What was your favorite experience working on this film?

GW: Because of the sheer amount of show footage, it was interesting to manage it all. The best part of watching archival footage is finding the spark that opens up the story. Finding them and knowing how to use them in the story was great to see come together.  

BB: Were you familiar with Morton Downey Jr. before this project?

GW: I knew very little about him. I was three years old when the show came out. I remembered being terrified of him as a kid. But the three directors [of Evocateur] grew up watching the show.

BB: What was your biggest learning experience with this movie?

GW: Learning to show only what is absolutely necessary is interesting. You have to mold [the documentary] into what you want. You need to find just the right stuff at just the right moment. 

BB: What are you working on next?

GW: We’re working on something called The Anthropologist. Ironbound Films got a grant from the National Science Foundation. It’s a documentary about an anthropologist and her daughter going around the world to document climate change. And it’s a coming-of-age story for the daughter.  It’s in post-production and we are hoping to have it finished by the beginning of next year. 

BB: Where do you see your career going forward?

GW: My ultimate goal is feature films. It’s what I went to school for and it’s still my first love. I’m still learning how to create something you can’t build yourself. I will be with [Ironbound Films] for a few more years. It has been a lot of fun.