Jeffrey Morris is the writer / director / designer of numerous science-fiction IPs including OCEANUS and PARALLEL MAN. His most recent project is the upcoming feature film PERSEPHONE starring Brianna Hildebrand. This neo-classic science-fiction adventure will begin production in Fall 2022. He is also the co-writer of the PERSEPHONE novelization with New York Times bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson (STAR WARS, DUNE).
Since childhood, Morris has been a devoted science aficionado—focusing his passion on space exploration, oceanography, and meteorology. He channeled these passions into his creative endeavors, which were elevated over the years as Morris learned storytelling, illustration, and film production.
Morris was deeply inspired by movies like 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and BLADE RUNNER, and television series like SPACE 1999 and the original STAR TREK (in addition to its creator Gene Roddenberry. Scientists and explorers like Jacques Cousteau and Carl Sagan are also major influences.
Morris began creating his own stories and visual concepts as a teen. For over three decades, he has unified his interests through a focus on film making entrepreneurship, art direction, science education, and interactive media.
In addition to publishing children’s books, graphic novels, documentaries, short films, music videos, and applications for the Apple iOS, Morris has worked for influential clients like Lockheed Martin and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and is an active public speaker on topics involving science, entrepreneurshi, and entertainment.
His company, FutureDude Entertainment, got its name from a popular blog Morris began running since 2012.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
PARALLEL MAN depicts a world where people can skip between universes at will. I think this would be a terrifying and dizzying prospect. If it were to happen in reality, I don’t think it would be as simple and fun as depicted in media. If I were to be able to jump to new versions of existence, I’d want to know exactly where I was going and the parameters before doing anything! Plus, the story features a totalitarian regime that needs to be overthrown. There’s nothing appealing about that!
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level? Who is your Sci-Fi spirit animal/spirit alien?
Leonard Nimoy’s SPOCK is probably the sci-fi character I relate to the most. As an individual caught between two species figh;ng to maintain his sense of logic and self, he is similar to how I grew up dealing with race and an;-intellectualism in America. As for my Sci-Fi spirt animal, I suppose that would be Professor Victor Bergman from Space 1999. What a great character! He always felt grounded in a deeper meaning of the universe and reality. He asked quesions.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced ar=ficial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
I’m not a fan of what is being done with robots or A.I. these days. My concern is more with the people programming them and secng the parameters than the constructs themselves. Humans are evil, misguided, and selfish. I think we should work on ourselves before we a*empt to create new life. I’ve seen some A.I. generated content. I find it creepy and disturbing. So, no. Not my thing!
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-=me, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
Amos Burton from THE EXPANSE because he kicks ass and can fix anything, Wash from FIREFLY because he’s a great pilot with a sense of humor, Paul Atreides from DUNE (1984 version) because “long live the fighters!”, Spock from STAR TREK: TOS for his intellect, Dave Bowman from 2001 for his cool head, Garak from STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE because he has skills as a spy, and Christopher Reeve’s SUPERMAN because he’s awesome in every way possible!
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
I don’t really think any of my ideas have been ‘bad’. They may have existed in less-developed, prototypical forms that weren’t well thought out. I always keep plugging away until an idea works. And I don’t consider an idea to be ‘good’ until it’s thoroughly ve*ed and explored. I also surround myself with smart people who keep my on the right narrative track when I deviate.
Do you consider yourself part of a sci-fi community? Or when your brain is in the future and your body’s in the present, is that isolating?
I don’t really consider myself to be part of any community. I’m a unique individual. That said, I do know a broad swath of sci-fi fans with whom I share common media and philosophical interests. Especially fans of Hard science fiction and Film / TV from the pre-Star Wars era. Dreaming of the future kept me alive during my difficult formative years. Unfortunately, I don’t see a very bright future ahead with the advent of Climate Change and rampant Idiocracy.
Do you consider yourself more of an analog or digital person? What kind of balance do strike between the two? Is there a disconnect between the technology you make films about and the technology that you make films with?
At heart, I’m an analog person. You can see it in the props and sets in the films I’m creating. I think the human factor is extremely important and yet to be fully explored. I also think that too much digital content looks fake and contrived. Many VFX films these days look like video game cutscenes with humans inserted into the ac;on. It just doesn’t work for me. I still think movies like 2001 and BLADE RUNNER and the original JURASSIC PARK look much more real.
When you’re crea=ng the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspira=on? How do you create objects that are relatable but unfamiliar?
Since the majority of my projects are set in the near-future, I do a ton of research on current technology and approaches to props and sets. I also look at cucng edge art and design in the fashion and furniture industries.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Prac=cal or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
STAR TREK (through DS9), Philip K. Dick, Practical, Utopia, Pre Apocalypse