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TRANSCRIPT FROM CHAT WITH MORGAN AND R.J. (6.20.01)



american_high_host: Welcome, RJ and Morgan! Thanks for joining us tonight.

Morgan: Porno, porno, porno.

R.J.: Howdy.

lance_luver87: How did it feel to finally graduate??

Morgan: Oh, it was a load off my chest! At the same time, it was kind-of sad. Sad that I didn't get to walk across the stage.

justchris04: Will there be anymore American High?

R.J.:Well, we're definitely hoping to do a new season that we will start filming in September.Nothing official is announced yet and PBS hasn't made up their mind if they're going to order a new season. Hopefully, we'll make another season of the show. If people post emails on the message board or send emails to americanhigh@tpt.org that would perhaps help PBS make their decision.

Morgan: But we're hoping for a "Morgan High, Part Two." We're in the process. All Morgan, all the time! Kind of like Ed TV!

funkyfly01: Morgan, what was it like having to deal with your parents after you found out that you weren't walking in graduation?

Morgan: It was kinda hard. Really hard having to face them because they looked forward to it, it seemed, a lot more than I did. I guess now, looking back, I kind of did, as my Mom said ... rob them. Because the 4 years I was in that high school wasn't too easy on them.

fudgemucker: if you could go back through high school, would you obey the rules or break them?

Morgan: Of course I'd break them! If I could go back to high school and know what I know now ... I'd STILL break all the rules. I just wouldn't get caught.

lance_luver87: How does it feel to be moving on and moving away from everything you already know, and going into a world you have absolutely no clue about??

Morgan: I feel that that's a really true statement because when I went off to college, it was a lot like that. It was hard, but also a step that has to be made in life. It's new friends and new experiences and new rules to break.

devasty2000: hey morgan do u have a girlfriend

Morgan: Now? No. I'm currently single.

yhpak76: what's salima up to?

Morgan: Salima's coming back at the end of this week. I get to see her for one week and then she moves away ......forever.

wmaw_38f: RJ, did you realize the affect this would have on parents?

R.J.:If you're talking about parents who watched the show, we certainly always hoped that American High would be a program not only for teens but their parents as well. Telling stories from the parent's point of view was as important as the kids. We always hoped this series would be valuable for parents of teens. If you're talking about the impact it has on the parents IN the series, I hope that the people who participated feel that it was a valuable and worthwhile experience for them.Certainly the feedback we've gotten has been positive from everyone. And more importantly, perhaps, the relationships we developed not only with the kids on the show, but their parents and families as well, have been really tremendous friendships and ones we've maintained even a full year after filming.

loalite: Morgan, would you rather be a rock star or a movie star? Why?

Morgan:Ooh, that's a damn good question! Both! I think a rock star because, basically, to be the rebel that I am and not have to portray myself a certain way. But also a movie star because ... there's money... and because it feels like a fun thing. I'm always into movies and would love to work with other actors and high talent like that.

benthefloater: RJ- If someone wants to get involved in helping you with your process, you know crew work and what not, how would they go about doing that??

R.J.: They can send me an email at americanhighnews@aol.com. We're open to all suggestions and ideas.

rakesh_agrawal0: morgan-- a year after American High (sort of), how is your life different?

Morgan: I have different friends. I think I'm more lazy ...No -- I'm in college, I guess. I'm trying to take on responsibility (key word). But not much has changed that much. I'm still in the process of taking that step forward.

jaroni32: Did the cameramen ever get on your nerves?

Morgan: No, because cameramen were my best friends that year. We became really close.

mole_2003: Was there stuff way too "HOT" that had to be taken out of the show

Morgan: I don't know, you'll have to ask RJ!

R.J.: My answer is ... occasionally Morgan would strip off all his clothes and run across the house and we always tried to film him above the waist.

Morgan: That's true!

jakekerouac: The show was a great look into middle america, ever think of doing an american high in a major city like new york or chicago to get that perspective

R.J.: I think that there are, in fact, similarities. Not necessarily between politics and high school...well, actually, there are LOTS of similarities between high school and politics. Particularly when it comes to bad cafeteria food! What I think is truly similar about the different films I've made is that they all seem to tell stories about people who were going through important transitions in their lives. I guess I just end up being attracted to that as a theme and subject in my work. And I think it's what people like James Carvel in The War Room, and Mark Gooden in A Perfect Candidate, and Morgan in American High .... all have in common.

yhpak76: RJ, was there any moment too emotional to show on TV?

R.J.: You mean besides the time when Morgan took off all his clothes and ran across the house naked? Believe me, we were all very emotional at that moment. Actually, we did not hold back on anything. From the show. We tried to include everything that we could. Certainly there were things that there just wasn't enough time to include in a 13 episode series, but we didn't ever hold back because things were too .... anything.

jakekerouac: What as a producer did you learn that surprised you going back to high school?

R.J.: I learned so much, actually. Perhaps most importantly, I was surprised at how much of it was familiar to me. I had expected to not be able to recognize what the kids were going through and to not remember it from my own experiences, but in fact, I think that what the people in American High were going through was stuff I did have relationship to from my past. But I was also very surprised at how thoughtful and articulate and emotionally accessible all the people whose stories we got to tell, were. And I was also pleasantly surprised at how talented the kids ended up being in terms of their own video diary work. The video diaries in the show started off as an interesting idea to get the kids' point of view into the program, but it really ended up providing the series with it's heart and soul. And that's because the kids in the show really grew as artists and filmmakers over the course of the year. And I have to credit the video diary producer, Jonathan Mednick, with that. He really brought out extraordinary work in all the kids.

Morgan: I totally agree. He made it so much easier.

tskemer: Do you talk to any of the kids that were on American High now?

Morgan: Actually, I've been hanging with Pablo for the last couple weeks. He's been chillin at my house. Other than that, out in New York I ran into Brad. I ran into Anna once.

loalite: What do you miss the most about filming American High?

Morgan: The good times, I guess. I'd just say ... the camera crews. It was such a laidback sort of feeling, more like you were sharing stuff with friends than you were a documentary crew.

dustygal8618: RJ, in the last show not everyone gave updates... why?

R.J.: I think that some people, for different reasons, decided they didn't want their "where I am now" diary. We're really only talking about 2-3 people on the show and probably for different reasons, they decided to move on from the process, which is totally natural and understandable. You have to realize that everyone involved in American High devoted a full year of their time and efforts to working on the series, and it makes sense to me that a couple of them decided that, for their own reasons, they didn't want to do another diary a year later.

enigma277: RJ - What was more difficult - choosing what to show or choosing what not to show?

R.J.: It's always difficult to choose what to show because we filmed over 2000 hours of footage.If you think about it, it means that if we shot 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, it's a tremendous amount of film. In addition, the kids shot 800 hours of their own footage. Determining to pare that down to 13 episodes was a difficult process, but fortunately we work with some of the best documentary editors and story producers alive. And difficult though the process was, we were able to pick the best stories and tell them as effectively as possible.

trinityalum: RJ - Kudos to your team for putting the BEST show on television

R.J.: Thank you!

enigmatic_4ever: Hey RJ and Morgan, I only caught the last 4 or 5 episodes of the show, will they all be re-aired again...soon?

R.J.: Yes. Yes!!!! PBS begins reairing the series on Wednesday night, July 4th, and it will air for 12 weeks in its entirety. However, it will air at different times in different cities, so please check your local listings...to find out exactly when it will air in your neck of the woods.

american_high_host: You can find out when American High is airing near you by going to the Web site at www.pbs.org/americanhigh and clicking on "When's it on"!

skank_wit_me: morgan, what happened to stumpy/

Morgan: My mom gave Stumpy away to one of her college students and I never saw him again. She says she'll get me pictures.

helperbee2001: RJ Would you have shown Brad in a relationship?

R.J.: If that had been part of his story and we had filmed it, of course we would have.

davidgerm: To Morgan and R.J.: How do you feel about how the show has turned out? Is it as you expected it? Better? Worse?

R.J.:I really like it, how about you, Morgan?

Morgan: I thought the show was going to be a certain way. A boring documentary sort of way.So ... yeah ... I was really surprised and really proud of the way it turned out.

o0o_glitz_grl_o0o: morgan, hows college for you so far?

Morgan: It's good. Lot of distractions, it's fun.

manara177: where do u think u are heading in ur life right now?

Morgan: I don't know. I'm just getting lots of phone calls and lots of offers. Hopefully starting to a get a life going in that direction, tv air time or something!

glitterstars44: Morgan, do people notice you on the streets and at school?

Morgan: Oh, s***loads! I went shopping with my friend. Whenever I get noticed, he makes a point of making a huge scene and making everyone notice. We went shopping on a Sunday morning with his mom in the city. And I got noticed I think 3 times in less than 10 minutes. I had people walking up to me and saying, 'Hey, aren't you -- ?" And my friend would scream out the rest of the sentence ... "It's Morgan from American High! Oh my God!!!"

rosie22222000: If you had been able to screen the tapes of your friends while doing the show, would you have done anything differently?

Morgan: No. Not at all. If I had changed it, I think I'd be lying.

xxmattssweetiexx: Morgan is your lip really pierced.

Morgan:Yeah. If you're a cute girl ... it's removable.

american_high_host: What was your first piercing?

Morgan: My first piercing was my left ear. I think that was in 4th grade. My mom took me out for lunch one day and pierced it against my dad's wishes. I came back and my ear was all red and I had a piercing in it and everyone was like, "What did YOU do for lunch???"

R.J. Hey everyone, I've got to get going, but thanks for watching American High and please watch the show again. It starts re-airing on July 4th. Check your local listings. And please check out the message board at www.pbs.org/americanhigh/board. And we'll see you next time around! Good night Morgan!

Morgan: Great talking to you, RJ!

_sweetheart_99: Did you actually think you'd get away with the prank?

Morgan: Yeah. We had it all planned out. We DID get away with it. It was dumb luck we got caught. A cop car just happened to be patrolling the school at the time we were exiting. For no reason, that freaking cop car was there and they nabbed us when we were leaving the parking lot!

cm15racing: Morgan, u get alot of fan mail at all>?

Morgan:Actually, I've only gotten one piece of fan mail, do you believe that! From these girls out in Philadelphia. I talked to them when I was in Philly and they send me letters now and then. I respond to it. If you want to get in touch with me, go to .... fourdyoz@aol.com If you want to email me, I'll check my email and try to respond to everyone.

bethgrl84: what do you miss most about high school?

Morgan: I'd say my friends. Basically, getting away with all the stuff ...Naw. I guess I miss it in general. As much as it was a hard time, it was really fun at the same time. If that makes ANY sort of sense.

honey6537: Morgan were you dissapointed with prom?

Morgan Yeah, I was pissed that Selima wouldn't go with me. All in all, I'd say I probably would have had a hell of a lot of a better time if she had been there. But I guess you have to roll with the punches.

linabelina: How did you feel about your breakup with salima?

Morgan: I'd say my break-up with her was one of the hardest points in my life because as much as it didn't show too much on the show, she had a HUGE impact on my life. She was my first and my love and one of the hardest things to let go of. If I could go back, I'd change it .....

cheergurl58: MOrgan do u like things back to normal?

Morgan:At some point, yes. Because it's a little less hectic around my house and my mom's not constantly trying to avoid cameras. But it was cool to have someone there to document how your life was going so you can look back at it in a year or two and say ..."damn, i had problems!"

jakekerouac: morgan, how will you use this show as a tool in your college life

Morgan(I learned) how to edit and camera angles. That really is helping out in college because I'm trying to become an actor.

cb9108: Morgan, if they asked to tape another year of your life, would you do it?

Morgan: Yes, I definitely would. I think that this year was a lot more interesting than the last year. And ... yeah, I TOTALLY would. I'd totally give my life up again. But this time I'd ask for a paycheck!

nukface: what kind of music does he listen to?

Morgan: Oh! I love that question! Metal and techno. And actually I've been listening ... my newest CD is Sublime. I'm into Musichead. Static X. And hardcore sort of bands.Flipknot.

american_high_host: What's in your CD player right now?

Morgan: Chronic 2001.

glitterstars44: Morgan its all over the message boards that the girls all want you, what do you say to it?

Morgan: Um ... have at it, girls! If you can find me, I'm all yours! :)

gbdmovement: morgan, u like bands like reveille and bizkit...wha bout taproot?

Morgan: Taproot is one of the sweetest bands! I love them. I actually know Mike the guitarist! Taproot's awesome!

eryckah_dawn03: Morgan, have you ever thought bout gettin your tounge pierced?

Morgan: No way, dude. You know what they say about guys with the tongue piercing ....in the words of Chris Rock ... if a girl's got her tongue pierced, it's for a certain reason. If a guy's got his tongue pierced, it's for the same sort of reason ....

dreamer_grl_2000: Morgan, what would you think of a girl with a tongue piercing?

Morgan: They're cool. They're fun sometimes. Sometimes they do get in the way.

opposazn00: Hey Morgan don't you like Sum41? Fat Lip is like only your personal theme song, even if you don't know it...

Morgan: Sum41 RULES! I've been planning on going to see them at the Warp tour!

fudgemucker: do you think that fred durst ruined the song "outside"on the family values tour by screaming in the middle of a guitar solo?

Morgan: I believe that Fred Durst ruins every song because he is a sell-out punk and Limp Bizkit would be a better band without him!

jaina_torrien: Morgan-I know i must seem wierd but do me a favor and tell pablo hang in there...it can only go up.

Morgan: Yeah, I tell Pablo that every chance I get. But I will definitely give him that message. I'm sure he will send his love.

arachelqt1: What was the dumbest thing you did all of senior year?

Morgan: On and off that documentary! That might top it because I actually got caught that time. Hm.

jpcmich: why did your mom hate the cameras?

Morgan: Because she's a camera-shy sort-of person. She's too pretty for the camera! Okay, my mom says her butt's too big to be on camera.

lilchica_012000: your brother seemed to be the silent partner duirng the show, what were his feelings about the whole experience?

Morgan: My brother really got a kick out of being on tv. But I'd say the reason he's so quiet on the show is because we're two totally different personalities. He's a straight-A kid. Does his homework. Stays out of trouble. He's different, but I'm proud of that little sucker!

jo_blo_17_23: are you like famous now, like do you ever get free stuff or special treatment when u go somewhere?

Morgan One time I went to a concert and it was an underground local concert. One of the guys from the band recognized ME. I totally got to chill with the band the whole night. It was totally cool.I don't usually get special treatment. I'm actually in the process of trying to score my own MTV show. So anybody who likes me,email MTV!

elmonico: Morgan, what is your favorite TV show, besides American High of course?

Morgan: COPS! LOL! Simpsons.Definitely the Simpsons. Gotta give it up for the Simpsons. Greatest show EVER.

dmb318: Morgan, what's your guilty pleasure when it comes to music?

Morgan: I listen to Brittany Spears! That's a guilty pleasure! And ... this is even worse ... that new N'Sync song .... Pop.

doc_rokkk: Morgan, What do you want the viewers to know about you that didnt come across in the series?

Morgan: I don't know if it came across, but when people come up to me on the streets and stuff, they treat me like some big celebrity...

corruptedgoddess00: What was the craziest thing you've ever done?

Morgan: Whew! Oh, man! Craziest thing! Aw, ran naked down the street when I was 4 years old! They caught me a couple blocks down! I don't know.

lizardtng: Morgan, how's your relationship with your dad?

Morgan: On and off, but it's gotten better since the show.

angelsweet24_7: morgan, what song would you say sums up your american high experience?

Morgan: Aw, man! I couldn't really say. I'll get back to you ... That says I got caught spray painting the school, didn't graduate ...?

american_high_host:What song would be on the soundtrack to your life?

Morgan: There's a million songs that would be on the soundtrack of my life ... I'd say Lit's song ... You Make Me Completely Miserable (or whatever it's called). That would be on it. I remember listening to that song like 400 times while they were filming.

honey6537: How do you feel about the metallica/ napster thing?

Morgan: I think Metallic needs to shut up because they make tons of money and if some people want their CDs for free, it's not like they're losing so much. They're already rock legends and millionaires. I don't see why they're whining.

kmfdm1983: Morgan, what advice would you give to people like me that are getting ready for college? (By the way, great taste in music)

Morgan: Getting ready for college ... keep an open mind! Because I remember my first day of school .... I go to an art school. So many people with freaking mohawks and tattoos and dyed hair. So freaky!

opposazn00: No one in the room really thinks you're Morgan. If your not, who are you? What have you done with the real Morgan? How can we bring him back?

Morgan: I am the real Morgan! Porno, porno, porno! How can you get any more Morgan than that!!!!?????

i_am_rob_1: Our professor at teh Univeristy of Michigan showed parts of the AMerican High documentary. How does it feel to be the subject of a university course?

Morgan: Oh, I've actually been the subject of a couple and have gone to one or two universities to give lectures in front of class!

rachelqt1: I have heard you compared to Puck on the Real World, do you see any similarities there?

Morgan:Dude, I will whup Puck's butt, man! He's just a punk!But I can see SOME sort of similiarity ...but I'm a lot better looking.

toohot2handle60035: Do teachers at college treat you differently cause they've seen you on American High?

Morgan: :) A lot of my teachers didn't know and then the next week I'd come to class and they'd be like ... I saw you on tv! But they didn't treat me differently.I wish they had! Give me A's!

angelsweet24_7: if you were stranded on a desert island, what one luxury item would you bring? and why?

Morgan: Claudia Schiffer!.

senatordunn:: Morgan, beware people who blow smoke up your ass constantly. Even if you get a MTV show (dubious distinction at best) if you don't study your ass off your future will be cloudy.

Morgan: That's true. But I didn't study before and I've gotten this far ...(my dad just laughed).

mtl_gal_17: How did the rest of the students at your school treat you because u were picked for the show???

Morgan: Nobody treated me any different. A couple kids tried to be my friend because there was a camera following me but no one treated me that differently because they knew I was the mouth of the school and a bad-ass.

howdy2003: morgan, what is the one thing in life, so far, that you wish you did but never had the chance?

Morgan:Win a million dollars? I don't know, only time will tell, I guess. It's mostly if I get a thought in my mind, I want to do it. I put all my efforts into it because I try not to let anything hold me back.

fudgemucker: boxers or briefs

Morgan: Boxers, all the way! Actually ... NO underwear! None whatsoever! I just like to let it hang!.

babymulan10: so do you really like it how they way people treat you now since you were on T.V. then back in the days?

Morgan: Not too much of a difference. People think that since I've been on tv, I'd be conceited, but I'm trying not to let it go to my head.

olpchick85: Morgan, what is your favorite movie of all time?

Morgan: It would have to be a toss-up between 10 Things I Hate About You and maybe The Crow. Definitely. The first. The original. Brandon Lee. One of my all-time idols.

howdy2003: did you lose/gain any friends because of the cameras?

Morgan: I lost basically all my friends from high school once school was over. I didn't really gain any friends, though, because I was on the show. We'd become friends and then slowly break it to them.

jamiemadrox05: what do you think of us teens who dropped out of school

Morgan: Better be for a good reason because as much as school sucks, you do need it to get someplace in the world. You better know what you're fighting the system for before you fight it.

uvachick82: Morgan, where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Morgan: Well, I'd LIKE to be rich! But in 10 years .... ? I'd say probably trying to pursue a career. I dont' know! I can never predict where my life is going to go. I like to keep my life unpredictable.

snowball247365: Have you given your parents any ulcers or nervous breakdowns?

Morgan:Not yet. But I haven't tried.

eirjajdickadlkfae: What's your most embarrising moment?

Morgan: When my mom caught me making out with a girl when I was 11 years old. Okay, good-bye! Everybody keep your head up and keep watching porno! This is probably my last chat, so ....love, peace and chicken grease! Bye!

american_high_host:Thanks so much for joining us tonight, Morgan! And thanks to everyone for chatting. Remember everyone, you can still talk on the message boards on the American High Web site at www.pbs.org/americanhigh/board. And remember, PBS will air all the American High episodes again starting Wednesday July 4! Make sure you know what time your local PBS station is airing American High by going to www.pbs.org/americanhighand clicking on "When's it on"! Thanks again to R.J. and Morgan, and to all of you. Good night!