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The Paw Print

AOTI: Filmmaker Morgan Rangel

AOTI: Filmmaker Morgan Rangel
Morgan Rangel

Some may know her as the leader of ambassadors, some may know her as the editor-in-chief of this very newspaper and some may know her as an outgoing, fun-loving person to talk with. And while all of these things are true, Morgan, more than anything, is an artist. Specializing in filmmaking, Morgan has spearheaded all the film classes taught at Poly, created multiple films and found a true passion for studying screenwriting. As a film-maker she’s taken on the role of director, screenwriter, video editor and everything in between. From the small details such as angles and cuts that make scenes humorous, to analyzing movies over a four-day span, 30-minutes a day, Morgan Rangel is a true movie-connoisseur. 

For as long as she could remember, Rangel had loved watching films. She accredits her mom for bringing her her love of screenwriting as her mom encouraged her to watch all of the Oscar nominated films in 2018. But even before then, Rangel knew filmmaking was important to her. Inspired by screenwriting and the art of film, Rangel, at the young age of eleven, created her first film: “Die Hard 6: Too Young to Die Hard”. In it, she recruited her younger brother to play the next John McClane. Rangel continues the practice of filmmaking through Poly’s film classes and spearheading Poly’s Film Festival.

She grew up watching everything from the Simpsons to well produced full length movies. Rangel recalled being allowed to watch anything regardless of rating– the only condition was that it must have a well written plot and dialogue. 

“I wasn’t allowed to watch Disney channel when I was a kid because my mom didn’t think the writing was up to snuff. My mom said I’d rather you see inappropriate stuff that’s well written than shows with bad screenwriting.”

“Stories are the way that everyone connects to the world around them and other people.”

Rangel goes to the movie theater a few times a month and writes and watches films daily. 

“Movies are just how I understand the world and I think they’re important– more so than I think everyone realizes.”

Just as any artist would, Rangel draws inspiration from many sources. 

I’m inspired by simple human stories, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and quality set design.”

Her favorite director is Alexander Payne. 

From my all-time favorite movie “Election” to “The Holdovers,” his simple stories have always hit me. Pick Flick.”

Witty editing is also a source of inspiration. According to Rangel, “A well-timed cut speaks louder than words.” Because of her knowledge on the behind the scenes work that goes into the top box office films, she has a greater appreciation for this field of work. 

While artists are passionate about their craft and are gifted creatively, Morgan Rangel is beyond just an artist and is an excellent student, collaborator and innovator. At Poly, she has had the opportunity to explore film-making through the Film 1 and 2 courses. Outside of the film courses, she always finds a way to bring her art into everything she does. From helping to edit affinity group videos for assemblies, to creating comic strips for her AP Literature: Fantasy Fiction and Film course, Rangel views the world through a creative lens. 

Outside of Poly, she continues to develop her art skills by working on her own projects. She is constantly playing with new ideas and writes a little bit each day. Currently she is working on a short film called “Hi, I’m Blake Wendy” which is about a D1 baseball recruit. 

Throughout the Upper School, Rangel’s work is greatly appreciated by the Poly community. “I love Morgan because she is not only a great artist but also a great friend! She’s funny and kind, and I’m instantly happy every time I talk to her. She is insanely creative and will undoubtedly make more great art in the future!” Junior Akira Brown comments on Rangel’s art.

Similarly, junior Elias Ramirez and fellow movie-enthusiast exclaimed “Every time I see one of her films it’s a delight and I can’t help but think about her and I talking about Bob’s Burgers and movies on the middle school patio!”

Her use of humor is evident in everything she creates. From comedic short films to more vulnerable, personal pieces, humor stays consistently evident as Rangel reflects on all the years she’s spent in screenwriting. She remarks, “even when it comes to writing things that are more personal to me or more upsetting, I don’t think I could ever do it without comedy.”

The messages which Rangel writes into her work are meaningful not only to her, but also to the friends and family with whom she shares her work. 

“Morgan puts her charming personality into films and you can clearly tell when a piece of media is made by her. Each film she makes leaves the audience touched—usually in a comedic fashion. I love the fact that all of her films send important messages that many should take advantage of.” Junior Mariel Vargas-vonBreymann remarked.

Morgan Rangel is leaving big shoes to fill next year. She is Stanford bound and ready to begin the next chapter of her life. Ultimately, she hopes to become a screenwriter and follow her passion back to LA. The Poly community will definitely miss Rangel’s hardworking spirit and compassionate personality. 

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About the Contributors
Lyla Pak, Student Contributor
Katie Sam, Staff Writer
Morgan Rangel
Morgan Rangel, Editor-in-Chief
Grade: 12 Years on Staff: 4 Fun Fact: I was on the Poly Varsity Softball team... for a whole three days. Favorite Movie: Election (1999)
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