Morgan Spurlock
Overview
Morgan Valentine Spurlock (born November 7, 1970) is an American documentary filmmaker, humorist, television producer, screenwriter and journalist best known for the documentary film Super Size Me
Super Size Me
Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he eats only McDonald's food...

. Spurlock was the executive producer and star of the reality television series 30 Days.
Spurlock attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia, graduating in 1989. He graduated with a BFA
Bachelor of Fine Arts
In the United States and Canada, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, usually abbreviated BFA, is the standard undergraduate degree for students seeking a professional education in the visual or performing arts. In some countries such a degree is called a Bachelor of Creative Arts or BCA...

 in film from New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

's Tisch School of the Arts
Tisch School of the Arts
Tisch School of the Arts is one of the 15 schools that make up New York University ....

 in 1993.
Encyclopedia
Morgan Valentine Spurlock (born November 7, 1970) is an American documentary filmmaker, humorist, television producer, screenwriter and journalist best known for the documentary film Super Size Me
Super Size Me
Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he eats only McDonald's food...

. Spurlock was the executive producer and star of the reality television series 30 Days.

Career

Spurlock attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia, graduating in 1989. He graduated with a BFA
Bachelor of Fine Arts
In the United States and Canada, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, usually abbreviated BFA, is the standard undergraduate degree for students seeking a professional education in the visual or performing arts. In some countries such a degree is called a Bachelor of Creative Arts or BCA...

 in film from New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

's Tisch School of the Arts
Tisch School of the Arts
Tisch School of the Arts is one of the 15 schools that make up New York University ....

 in 1993. Before making the 2004 Academy Award nominated Super Size Me, Spurlock was a playwright, winning awards for his play The Phoenix at both the New York International Fringe Festival
Fringe theatre
Fringe theatre is theatre that is not of the mainstream. The term comes from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which name comes from Robert Kemp, who described the unofficial companies performing at the same time as the second Edinburgh International Festival as a ‘fringe’, writing: ‘Round the fringe...

 in 1999 and the Route 66 American Playwriting Competition in 2000. He also created I Bet You Will
I Bet You Will
I Bet You Will was an Internet webcast, and later a show on MTV that paid people to do outrageous things for money. In 2008, reruns of the program began to air on Spike. It was created by Morgan Spurlock...

for MTV. I Bet You Will began as a popular Internet webcast of five-minute episodes featuring ordinary people doing disgusting, unusual, or embarrassing stunts in exchange for money. Examples include eating a full jar of mayonnaise ($235USD), eating a "worm burrito" ($265USD), and taking shots of corn oil
Corn oil
Corn oil is oil extracted from the germ of corn . Its main use is in cooking, where its high smoke point makes refined corn oil a valuable frying oil. It is also a key ingredient in some margarines. Corn oil is generally less expensive than most other types of vegetable oils. One bushel of corn...

, Pepto-Bismol
Pepto-Bismol
Pepto-Bismol is an over-the-counter drug currently produced by the Procter and Gamble company in the United States of America and in Canada to treat minor digestive system upset. Its active ingredient is bismuth subsalicylate...

, lemon juice
Lemon juice
The lemon fruit, from a citrus plant, provides a useful liquid when squeezed. Lemon juice, either in natural strength or concentrated, is sold as a bottled product, usually with the addition of preservatives and a small amount of lemon oil.-Uses:...

, hot sauce
Hot sauce
Hot sauce, chili sauce or pepper sauce refers to any spicy sauce made from chili peppers and other ingredients.-Ingredients:There are many recipes for hot sauces - the common ingredient being any kind of peppers. A group of chemicals called capsaicinoids are responsible for the heat in chili peppers...

, cold chicken broth, and cod liver oil
Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is a nutritional supplement derived from liver of cod fish. It has high levels of the omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, and very high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. It is widely taken to ease the symptoms of arthritis and for other health benefits...

 (US$450.00 for all nine shots). The webcast was a success, with over a million hits in the first five days. The show was later bought and aired by MTV.

Super Size Me

Spurlock's docudrama Super Size Me was released in the U.S. on May 7, 2004. This production was later nominated for an Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 for Best Documentary feature. He conceived the idea for the film when he was at his parents' house for Thanksgiving, and while watching TV saw a news story about a lawsuit brought against McDonald's by two teenage girls who blamed the fast food chain for their obesity. The film depicts an experiment he conducted in 2003, in which he ate three McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 meals a day every day (and nothing else) for 30 days, mandatory that he take the "super-size" option whenever it was offered and never take it when not offered, the end result he claims was a diet with twice the calories recommended by the USDA. Further, Spurlock attempted to curtail his physical activity to better match the exercise habits of the average American (he previously walked about 3 miles a day; whereas, the average American walks 1.5 miles).

He was of above average health and fitness when he started the project; he gained 25 pounds (11 kg), suffered liver
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

 dysfunction and depression by the end. Spurlock's supervising physicians noted the effects caused by his high-fat diet—one even comparing it to a case of severe binge alcoholism.

After the completion of the project, it took Spurlock fourteen months to return to his normal weight of 185 pounds (84 kg). His then-girlfriend (now wife), Alexandra Jamieson, took charge of his recovery with her "detox diet," which became the basis for her book The Great American Detox Diet.

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?

Spurlock's second feature documentary, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? premiered at the Sundance Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is a film festival that takes place annually in Utah, in the United States. It is the largest independent cinema festival in the United States. Held in January in Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, as well as at the Sundance Resort, the festival is a showcase for new...

 in January 2008.

In the film, and in interviews, Spurlock explores the fight against terrorism and views the argument from both sides, in which he tries to find Osama Bin Laden
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets...

.

The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!

Spurlock directed The Simpsons 20th Anniversary Special – In 3-D! On Ice!.

Freakonomics

The documentary film is an adaptation of the book Freakonomics
Freakonomics
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything is a 2005 non-fiction book by University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner. The book has been described as melding pop culture with economics, but has also been described as...

by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Stephen J. Dubner
Stephen J. Dubner is an American journalist who has written four books and numerous articles. Dubner is best known as co-author of the pop-economics book Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything and its 2009 sequel, SuperFreakonomics.-Background:His parents were...

, which premiered in April 2010. Spurlock was at the helm of this project alongside five directors (Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
Rachel Grady
Rachel Grady is a film director involved in producing the documentary films Jesus Camp, The Boys of Baraka, and 12th and Delaware. She is the daughter of James Grady.- Jesus Camp :...

, Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney is an American documentary film director and producer. In 2010, Esquire magazine said Gibney "is becoming the most important documentarian of our time."...

, Seth Gordon and Eugene Jarecki
Eugene Jarecki
Eugene Jarecki is an author and a dramatic and documentary filmmaker based in New York.His works include Why We Fight, which won the 2005 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Reagan, Freakonomics , Quest of the Carib Canoe, and Season of the...

).

Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan's Hope

In the summer of 2010, Spurlock was working with Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon
Joss Whedon
Joseph Hill "Joss" Whedon is an American screenwriter, executive producer, director, comic book writer, occasional composer and actor, founder of Mutant Enemy Productions and co-creator of Bellwether Pictures...

, AintItCool.com founder Harry Knowles
Harry Knowles
Harry Knowles is known for his website called Ain't It Cool News. Knowles is a member of the Austin Film Critics Association.-Biography:...

, and comic book creator Stan Lee
Stan Lee
Stan Lee is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics....

 to create the documentary Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan's Hope to cover the stories of convention fans. Whedon, Lee, and Knowles will executive produce. Legendary Pictures' Thomas Tull, who is independently financing the documentary, told Variety, ""We look forward to capturing the spirit, energy and people that Comic-Con has infused into legions of fans, bringing these audiences and projects out of the halls and onto a world stage."

Committed: The Toronto International Film Festival

The one hour documentary Committed: The Toronto International Film Festival premiered on AMC on 12 October 2010.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

A documentary film about product placement, marketing and advertising which was reportedly itself financed through product placement, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was released in the USA in April 2011. It screened in the New Zealand Film Festival in August 2011 together with an appearance by Spurlock to talk about the movie.

30 Days

In each episode, a person (which in some cases, is Spurlock himself) or a group of people spend 30 days immersing themselves in a mode of life markedly different from their norm (being in prison, a devout Christian living in a Muslim family, a homophobe staying with a homosexual person, etc.), while Spurlock discusses the relevant social issues involved. FX
FX Networks
FX is the name of a number of related pay television channels owned by News Corporation's Fox Entertainment Group...

 began airing the show on June 15, 2005. In the premiere episode of the first season, "Minimum Wage," Spurlock and his fiancée lived for 30 days in the Bottoms
The Bottoms
The Bottoms is a neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, U.S. It is the area immediately west of Downtown Columbus. The area contains the Franklinton neighborhood, and is in West Columbus. It is the area enclosed by I-70 on the west and south, I-670 on the north, and the Scioto River to the east...

 neighborhood of Columbus
Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

, Ohio, earning minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

, with no access to outside funds.

In the second season finale, Spurlock spent 25 days locked in a Henrico County
Henrico County, Virginia
Henrico is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. As of 2010, Henrico was home to 306,935 people. It is located in the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area...

, Virginia (a county outside of Richmond
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

) jail to experience life as an inmate. He did not complete the entire 30 days in jail because the majority of inmates in the state of Virginia serve 85% of the sentence, so once Spurlock reached that benchmark, he was released.

The third season of 30 Days premiered on June 3, 2008. The first episode of the third season, titled "Working in a Coal Mine," was filmed in Bolt, West Virginia which is located roughly 18 miles from the city of Beckley
Beckley, West Virginia
Beckley is a city in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States, which was founded on April 4, 1838. The 2008 population was estimated to be 16,832 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Early in its history, the town was known as Beckleyville and Raleigh Court House...

, West Virginia, where Spurlock was raised prior to leaving for New York.

In late 2008, FX announced they would not be renewing the 30 Days series, making the third season the last.

Other work

  • Spurlock optioned the rights for Chris Mooney's book The Republican War on Science
    The Republican War on Science
    The Republican War on Science is a book by Chris C. Mooney, an American journalist who focuses on the politics of science policy. In the book, Mooney discusses the Republican Party leadership's stance on science, and in particular that of the George W...

    in order to create another documentary film, but in 2008 announced that he had released the option.
  • Spurlock has a role in the film Drive Thru
    Drive-Thru (film)
    Drive-Thru is a 2007 horror film directed by Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn, starring Leighton Meester and Nick D'Agosto. It is set in Orange County, California and involves a serial killing clown mascot, Horny the Clown...

    , a horror film about a fictional fast food restaurant that has its mascot come to life and start killing people. It was released on DVD on May 29, 2007.
  • Spurlock currently presents 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die
    50 Documentaries to See Before You Die
    50 Documentaries to See Before You Die is a five-episode television series presented by Morgan Spurlock on the Current TV television network featuring what editors regard as the fifty of the most influential and/or important documentary films from the past 25 years.- "Life After Donkey Kong":* 50....

    on Current TV
    Current TV
    Current TV, or Current, is a media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt. Comcast owns a ten percent stake of Current's parent company, Current Media LLC....

    . The show premiered on August 1, 2011.
  • On May 28, 2011, Spurlock was the graduation commencement speaker for the MBA Business program at Sonoma State University.
  • Spurlock's half-hour documentary series "A Day in the Life" was to debut on Hulu
    Hulu
    Hulu is a website and over-the-top subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, and Obstacle on October 20th 2011 Nickelodeon and CBS and many other...

     in mid-August 2011. It follows "incredibly focused" people such as Richard Branson
    Richard Branson
    Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin Group of more than 400 companies....

     and Will.i.am
    Will.i.am
    William James Adams, Jr. , better known by his stage name will.i.am and occasionally by his other stage name Zuper Blahq, is an American rapper, musician, songwriter, singer, actor and producer...

     for a full day. The series is exclusive to Hulu, the streaming video site.
  • Spurlock directed an additional episode of ESPN's 30 for 30
    30 for 30
    30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentaries airing on ESPN and its sister networks. The series, which premiered in October 2009 and concluded in December 2010, chronicles 30 stories from the "ESPN era," each of which detail the issues, trends, people, teams, or events that...

    sports documentary series, titled "The Dotted Line". This documentary takes a look at the competitive world of sports agent
    Sports agent
    A sports agent procures and negotiates employment and endorsement contracts for an athlete.In return, the sports agent generally receives between 4 and 10% of the athlete's playing contract, and 10 to 20% of the athlete's endorsement contract, though these figures vary...

    s. "The Dotted Line" premiered on ESPN October 11, 2011, one day following the premiere of a two-hour documentary entitled "I, Caveman" created and directed by Spurlock for the Science Channel series Curiosity
    Curiosity (TV series)
    Curiosity is a Discovery Channel show. It premiered on Sunday, August 7, 2011 at 8 pm. Each episode focuses on one question in science, technology, and society, such as why the Titanic sank, and features a different celebrity host...

    , wherein a group of men and women including Spurlock try to survive in the wild using only Stone Age technology.
  • Spurlock has also appeared on TED talks and received a standing ovation

Personal life

Spurlock was born in Parkersburg
Parkersburg, West Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 33,099 people, 14,467 households, and 8,767 families residing in the city. In 2006 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that Parkersburg's population had decreased 4.4% to 31,755. The population density was 2,800.5 people per square mile . There were 16,100 housing...

, West Virginia, and was raised in Beckley
Beckley, West Virginia
Beckley is a city in Raleigh County, West Virginia, United States, which was founded on April 4, 1838. The 2008 population was estimated to be 16,832 by the U.S. Census Bureau. Early in its history, the town was known as Beckleyville and Raleigh Court House...

, West Virginia. He was raised a Methodist. He went to New York University and graduated in 1993 and is a member of the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta
Phi Gamma Delta
The international fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta is a collegiate social fraternity with 120 chapters and 18 colonies across the United States and Canada. It was founded at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1848, and its headquarters are located in Lexington, Kentucky, USA...

. He currently lives in New York City. He married his long-time girlfriend, vegan chef Alexandra Jamieson, on May 3, 2006. They have a son, Laken James Spurlock, born on December 9, 2006. His birth is depicted in Spurlock's documentary Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? is a 2008 documentary film, conceived by Adam Dell and co-written, produced, directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker....

, which Spurlock dedicated to Laken.
Spurlock is a fan of English Premier League
FA Premier League
The Premier League is an English professional league for association football clubs. At the top of the English football league system, it is the country's primary football competition. Contested by 20 clubs, it operates on a system of promotion and relegation with The Football League. The Premier...

 team Stoke City
Stoke City F.C.
Stoke City Football Club is an English professional football club based in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire that plays in the Premier League. Founded in 1863, it is the oldest club in the Premier League, and considered to be the second oldest professional football club in the world, after Notts...

. (Appearing as a guest on British show Soccer AM
Soccer AM
Soccer AM is a British Saturday-morning football-based comedy/talk show, predominantly based around the Premier League...

, he was given a club to support as he had no current loyalty to a club.)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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