Megan Nager is a comedian, writer, filmmaker and owner of Wake and Make Media, a production company based in Charlotte, NC and Los Angeles, CA. Originally started in Los Angeles, Wake and Make Media has quickly become the premiere production and marketing company for local brands and businesses looking to make high quality digital content and establish their online presence. Megan, along with her partner, Corey Turner, have combined their film and marketing backgrounds to create a company that does it all, literally. Whereas most traditional marketing companies usually focus on just content creation OR marketing, Wake and Make Media does both.
After graduating with honors from Washington University in St. Louis, Megan moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams of becoming a filmmaker. During her first years in Hollywood, Megan sank her teeth into the acting world, landing roles in several feature films and shows on networks such as TruTV, Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, and Amazon, while simultaneously pursuing a career in stand-up comedy. After a few years of focusing solely on performing, Megan landed a job at Steve Carrell’s production company as Associate Producer, where she was able to learn the ins and outs of filmmaking. She worked on several documentaries and television shows, before moving on to launch her own production company. It was then that she found a way to combine all of her skills into one: digital content creation. Combining her years of experience in front of and behind the camera, Megan was able to create original content for her personal brand and company, as well as several IOS apps such as Firework, Tik-Tok and Cheez. She then expanded her content creation skills to become a content consultant for several other production companies such as Kevin Hart’s LOL Network, TruTV and Amazon Prime. Megan simultaneously worked to expand her personal comedic brand, creating her own original series, Verified, that can be seen on Amazon Prime. The show won over seven awards at national and international film festivals.
Today, Megan and her business partner, Corey Turner, reside in both Charlotte and Los Angeles, where they continue to expand their personal filmmaking careers, along with their production and marketing company, Wake and Make Media. The company has most recently been recognized for its outstanding work in the launch and promotion of Live Free, a new CBD brand that has risen to national prominence for its originality. When Megan isn’t working on her marketing career, she’s creating comedic content for her social media channels, which have over 100,000 followers.
Where did the idea for Wake and Make Media come from?
When I realized my deep love for digital content creation, I began to make as many films as possible. The first short film I made needed to be tied to a production company, so I signed up for an LLC and gathered a team of friends to help me produce the project. When I discovered how nice it was to have a full team of people working together on a joint vision, I knew that I wanted to continue producing content of all forms. What I realized, however, was that a lot of people needed help not just producing content, but also promoting that content. That’s when I teamed up with my current partner, Corey Turner, and with our combined skillsets, we were able to both produce and promote content. This was when Wake and Make Media was officially born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m someone who gets pulled in a million different directions if I don’t make a schedule for myself, so as soon as I realized this, it was a game changer. I therefore try to wake up every day at around the same time (8 AM), and stick to a schedule that I’ve written down the day before. I’ll try not to check my phone when I first wake up, although it’s incredibly tempting. I then brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed and then make my bed. If my bed isn’t made I feel like my morning can’t start (am I crazy? Maybe). I then eat breakfast, drink A LOT of coffee, and then go through my emails while I listen to the news. I then attend to any urgent matters and go to the gym. When I’m done with all that, I come back and work, work work. Depending on the day, I’ll either be on the computer most of the day or out filming – it really just depends on the project I’m working on at the time. I then eat dinner and finish some more work if I have to, and then make sure I have time to RELAX. I used to work until the point of exhaustion, but now I know that I’m a lot more productive if I do give myself some time to either watch TV, read or just chill out.
How do you bring ideas to life?
After years of literally forcing creative ideas out of my head by fixating on them, I’ve finally discovered that in order for an idea to fully come to life, I need to give it space to breathe and take shape. I’ll therefore go for a walk, or workout, or do something to take my mind off of fixating on the idea such as dancing around in a wig (yes I’m serious), and that’s when the idea comes to fruition. I’m also a big proponent of writing in my notes app or even recording myself talking into my voice notes if I think of something that I really want to remember. It’s important to write down your ideas, because you never know if you’ll remember them again. In terms of creating content, I fully believe that ideas are their own life form. As Elizabeth Gilbert explains in her book Big Magic, “Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner.” Therefore, I view it like this: ideas are swirling around us, in the ether, at all times. And when an idea lands on you, it’s asking you to embrace it and express it. We either choose to ignore that idea or take it on and bring it to life. If you don’t jump to embrace it, it will find another person to express it. It’s therefore critical for us to act on that calling immediately.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love that technology has made it possible for the creative to create on their own terms. I’m seeing so many more artists and filmmakers embrace their own power and their own creativity, and use it to make their own content, shows, books, etc. The thing I hate most about Hollywood is that it oftentimes feels as if you’re begging a guard keeper to take on your show or concept, and if it’s passed on, that means you’re unworthy. I know I’ve felt this way A LOT and so have my creative friends. Therefore, the fact that social media apps and platforms such as Amazon Prime are becoming more popular and encouraging people to take their creative control back into their own hands, is really, really exciting to me.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m incredibly resilient and I learn fast. I entered Hollywood with very little acting and filmmaking background. The majority of what I knew was what I was self taught or learned at theatre camp, or from watching shows growing up. However, I knew that I had a vision and that I wouldn’t be happy until I brought that vision to life. I then jumped into what I like to think of as a metaphorical shark tank – because, let’s face it, that’s pretty much what Hollywood is. I wanted to quite A LOT. And I mean, A LOT. Especially because the majority of my friends and peers had gone off to medical or law school and had stable incomes and lives. I wouldn’t let that stop me, however, and when I had to adapt, I did. I always continue learning and I refuse to give up even if others are telling me to.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I honestly could write a trilogy on this, but the most important thing I wish I knew was how to have patience. It’s okay and normal if you don’t win an Oscar within the first year of moving to Los Angeles. And it’s okay if things don’t always work out on your own schedule. It’s important to trust the process and know that if you put something out into the universe, it will happen, but not always on the same schedule that you’re expecting.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think it’s totally okay to do it all. For the majority of my career, I was constantly told that I need to focus on just acting or just producing but I knew in my heart that I couldn’t do that. I’m multi-talented, and just because I love acting doesn’t mean that I can’t also pursue writing or filmmaking in my free time.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I think it’s SO important to stay up to date with the newest trends and pay attention to where the market is headed. I therefore always am researching, reading and learning about what I could do better or improve on. I also am incredibly open-minded and love talking to other people about ideas, even if they don’t align with my personal ones. If you want to succeed, it’s important to be able to hear out other people, learn and adapt whenever necessary, even if it’s painful.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Branding my company and my personal brand in a way that made it unique was really helpful. When you’re an entrepreneur, you have to realize that there are going to be so many people you’re competing with in order to establish yourself, so the better you define who you are and why you’re different from your competitors, the more successful you’ll be because you’ll stand out.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve honestly had more than I can count because life is unpredictable and the film industry is cut throat. But one of the biggest failures I’ve had to overcome is rejection. People say you need to have thick skin to survive entertainment for a reason (honestly, a steel coat is more like it). I’ve been said “no” to so many times I can’t even remember. However, I’ve always kept going. Just because someone doesn’t love your vision doesn’t mean it’s not great or that it wouldn’t work for someone else.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I recently had an idea for an app that would allow all members in a community to talk to one another through messages. For instance, if you lived in an apartment building and really needed tape right away, you’d be able to ask your neighbors if they had some. Unfortunately, my friend just told me something like this exists already so onto the next!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent was on an editing service for some videos I’ve been filming with Corey. We were spending so much time and energy editing that we weren’t able to make the numerous other projects we wanted to. It’s important to work smart, not hard.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There’s so many! Clickfunnels has been really helpful for Wake and Make. It allows you to create sales funnels for your products and has really helped us increase sales for our customers.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
As mentioned above, one of my favorite books of all times is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She does such a great job of explaining the creativity process and really encourages you to embrace your inner creative.
What is your favorite quote?
I’m not sure who originally said this, but one of my favorite quotes of all times is “this too shall pass”. I love it because it doesn’t mean that just the bad things will pass; it also means that the good will too. Therefore, it’s important to appreciate what you have but also know that if you’re going through a bad time, there is hope around the corner.
- Always continue learning and refuse to give up.
- Have patience. It is okay if things don’t always work out on your own schedule.
- If you want to succeed, it is important to be able to hear out other people.
- The better you define who you are and why you are different from your competitors, the more successful you will be because you will stand out.
- Just because someone does not love your vision does not mean it is not great or that it will not work for someone else.
- It is totally okay to do it all.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.