Spotlight - Anthony Morrison
How a Young Muma College of Business Grad Became a TV Producer at 27
by Lindsay Ederheimer
Anthony Morrison is living proof that creativity plays a big role in the business world.
The 27-year-old 2011 USF graduate, who started his television career as a production assistant, now serves as a social media producer at Good Morning America.
"I'm not a numbers guy," Morrison said. "I knew I could never be an accountant, a chemist or a scientist, but I've always loved writing, networking, and working collaboratively and creatively."
After three years of working and networking in New York City, Morrison is now in a newly created position at Good Morning America, where he's on a team that handles all of the creative content on the program's social media platforms.
"This position is a combination of TV, digital media, and social media," Morrison said. "We're providing a social television experience in a rapidly changing digital world."
Reaching his six-month mark at GMA, Morrison describes this role as his most challenging job yet. A day in the life of a social media producer at GMA moves quickly and is constantly changing, which is the main reason Morrison loves it.
"I wake up by 4:30 a.m., head to the studio in Times Square on the early days, and prepare content before the show," Morrison said. "We post teasers on Facebook and Twitter, including live chats with anchors and guests. When the show ends, we immediately start planning for the next day's show and long term projects."
Although Morrison now works at a major news network, he spent years building relationships with his peers and gaining the experience he needed to succeed in a high-level position.
A photography buff, Morrison was able to secure a freelance photographer position at Disney during his early years of college. He bought his first high-resolution camera and eventually started photographing USF events, including a few in the business school.
With a growing portfolio, Morrison was able to get into more professional photography, including shooting Disney Fairy Tale Weddings and executive events at the parks. He started his own business, Anthony Morrison Photography, and traveled across the country to shoot weddings.
"I realized I was able to turn something I love into something I do," Morrison said. This mindset would stay with Morrison throughout his career, especially when he made the bold decision to move to New York City.
"From the day I decided to go to New York to the day I actually moved, it was probably less than a month," Morrison said. "It was a now-or-never kind of deal."
While searching for his first professional job, Morrison moved in with a relative on Staten Island. He worked a variety of jobs in the city, including everything from photography gigs at New York Fashion Week to folding clothes at Lacoste part-time.
Morrison got his first break when he landed an internship- even though he was already a college grad- at LIFE Magazine, filing and documenting negatives and photos for the publication. He knew it was a way to get his foot in the door.
"I networked a lot while working at LIFE, and I quickly learned that who knows you has more weight than who you know," Morrison said.
For example, a friend introduced him to an opportunity at ABC News, which needed a freelance production assistant to help write scripts, shoot video, and produce content for ABC's "What Would You Do?" Morrison landed the gig, eager to utilize his creativity in a new medium.
However, when the show's season ended, Morrison was unemployed for almost nine weeks.
"I was out of work and had one of those 'what have I done with my life?' moments," Morrison said. "I didn't know what was next, and I seriously questioned my life choices."
Morrison was unsure of his next move, but knew he wanted to continue a career in television. To his surprise, CNN responded to a job application he had submitted months prior for a position as a production assistant.
"I thought it was a prank call," he said of the initial phone interview.
Morrison was hired as a production assistant for CNN's New Day show, and was promoted to an associate producer 18 months later. He worked the overnight shift, working from midnight to 9 a.m. editing graphics, and assisting with live-production.
"I was all in," Morrison said. "This was a staff position at a major cable news network. I was willing to work hard and learn as much as I could, even if the hours were long."
The long hours paid off, as Morrison is now thriving in his dream career where he can utilize both his creativity and business knowledge. He credits his success to making positive connections with others and having a nonstop mentality of going after what he wants.
"The best thing you can do is lend yourself to the opportunity," Morrison said. "Do things for free and prove that you want to learn. Ask for help. Shadow people if you can. Keep in touch with people you meet and have a genuine interest in what they have to say."
"Don't ever feel like you're too far away from being able to do whatever you want. There is a way to get there. You just have be willing to do the work."