"Jim is a border patrol officer. Maria is an undocumented immigrant. Together, they stand strong against the pressures of illegal love." That's the description of a new movie written by—and starring—DCH graduate Joshua Morris, along with another DCH graduate, Vanessa Lua.
"The original incarnation of Anchor Baby was a stage sketch I wrote for a larger show to be put on by our improv troupe, Captain Donkeyface & Mr. Ponytail (CDMP)," Morris said. "We weren't able to pull it together, so I rewrote it as a screenplay. The inspiration for it goes to CDMP and DCH. They provided me with structure and a safe environment during the writing process. Not to mention putting up with some really bad jokes in earlier drafts."
The Oak Cliff Film Festival named Anchor Baby an official selection of its event, and the film's screening takes place on Sunday, June 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Kessler Theater in the Bishop Arts District (1230 W. Davis St. Dallas, Texas 75208). After its showing there, Morris says he hopes to take it to other venues, having submitted it to other film and comedy festivals around the country.
For Morris, improv really helped with the film and writing.
"I've always known the advantages that improv training afforded me as an actor, but I've also discovered how much it helps me in the writing process," he said. "A good improv scene has rhythm, heightening, strong characters, and high stakes relationships, among other things. I think a good script has the same. Improvisers hold these keys to storytelling, because we're regularly discovering them. I say be fearless. And then surround yourself with others who share that sensibility. After all, as Del Close says, 'We're all supporting actors.'"