Alumna Allyn Morrison worked as an extra in four films and a production assistant in two | Courtesy Morrison
Alumna Allyn Mor­rison worked as an extra in four films and a pro­duction assistant in two | Courtesy Mor­rison


Allyn Morrison’s post-grad­u­ation life has been less about books and more about movies — but she’s not studying them anymore. She’s in them.

Mor­rison has been searching out and securing oppor­tu­nities to get on the big screen, ful­filling dreams she has had since she was a little girl: since May, Mor­rison has acted as an extra in four films and worked as a pro­duction assistant in two. Her dreams do not lie in fame and fortune, however: for Mor­rison, a pas­sionate Christian, the film industry is where she wants to “shine the light of Christ.”

“The most important thing to me is to show that a Christian actress can act well in films without dis­re­garding her morals,” Mor­rison said. “That has always been a passion of mine.”

After spending the summer stalking casting call web­sites, Mor­rison landed a handful of roles, but said she turned down a few when the films had sleazy premises — after all, she wants to show the film world that Christian morals can be upheld in the industry.

“I actually backed out of a project because the whole syn­opsis of the film was a woman looking for love and sleeping with a bunch of people,” Mor­rison said. “I didn’t want my name asso­ciated with some­thing like that.”

Though nav­i­gating the film industry while adhering to her faith has posed certain chal­lenges, Mor­rison has seen success — she even had a small speaking role in a short film about speed dating called “Beer Goggles,” a class project for film stu­dents at the Uni­versity of Austin, Texas.

In “Beer Goggles,” Mor­rison plays an annoyed woman putting up with an impres­sively unim­pressive gen­tleman at a speed dating event held at a bar. While she had a script for her part, she relied heavily on her impro­vi­sation skills.

“We just sat down and started ban­tering,” Mor­rison said. “We prac­ticed going back and forth with each other. We filmed a good amount of stuff that didn’t make it into the film so the director could have as much content as he wanted to pick and choose from.”

“Ban­tering” does not come without practice. When she was not taking English classes at Hillsdale, Mor­rison delved into the acting world — in the classroom, onstage, and even­tually on-screen.

“I learned a lot of improv in my Acting One class, which is a really great skill to have as an actor,” Mor­rison said. “It really helps to build up your flex­i­bility.”

Her skill did not go unno­ticed by Pro­fessor of Theatre, George Angell.

“As an actress, Allyn is inventive, daring, and willing to be vul­nerable,” Angell said.

At Hillsdale, Mor­rison acted in Shake­speare in the Arb as a freshman and Opera Workshop as a sophomore.

Health problems chal­lenged Mor­rison as a junior, so she stepped back from theater that year.

As a senior, however, Mor­rison took on two major projects: she starred in “Dancing in Lughnasa,” the theatre department’s Fall play and made her film debut as actor and writer in “At Home,” a short film she and several other stu­dents made for film class, Movies as Medium.

“Allyn is a won­derful person to work with,” said junior Chandler Ryd, a co-writer, editor, and sound recordist. “Her kindness and patience make an enormous dif­ference on set. While shooting, the cast and crew are on a tight schedule, and cre­ative energy can easily turn into self­ishness and undue stress, so kindness and patience are like lubricant that keeps the machine running smoothly. Oth­erwise, it can be mis­erable.”

For Mor­rison, kindness and patience, so useful on set, come from her com­mitment to her faith — some­thing she and Ryd have in common.

“We formed a friendship through that film that I hope we con­tinue as we pursue our dreams of making films,” Ryd said. “We bonded so much, I think, because we were — and still are — trying to find the inter­section of our faith and our film­making pas­sions. We both want to use our talents to make art for God’s glory.”