Morgan’s Mask: New Movie by Trevor Rigby ’08 Now Streaming Everywhere

Trevor Rigby ’08, shown above while directing the UCF Marching Knights, recently released his first movie, “Morgan’s Mask.” 

By Camille Dolan ’98

Morgan’s Mask, a new movie by musician and filmmaker Trevor Rigby ’08, was released earlier this year and is now available on many streaming platforms, including Amazon, YouTube and Apple TV.

The movie, which follows a cosplayer’s life as she is at home during quarantine, is based on some of Rigby’s own experiences during the pandemic. He reckoned, however, that the needs of a theatre audience would be better served by a fictionalized version of those experiences.

“No one wants to watch a 40-year-old guy being stuck inside during the pandemic,” Rigby laughed.

Instead, Rigby reached out to Carolina Ravassa, an accomplished actor whose credits include Sombra in Overwatch 2, a video game franchise centered on a series of online multiplayer first-person shooter video games. Overwatch aficionados are known to participate in cosplay, Rigby says, and Ravassa was familiar with the culture.

As Rigby explained his vision for the movie, it was clear that Ravassa was the perfect choice for the title role. The film co-stars Troy Baker, another versatile actor with leading roles in The Last of Us and Bioshock.

Rigby was drawn to the idea of the character in his movie being a cosplayer, an activity and performance art in which participants wear costumes and fashion accessories.

“I got exposed to cosplay in 2016 through my orchestra,” Rigby says. “A Japanese metal band with dedicated fans asked us to collaborate with them onstage. I was surprised by the number of people who came to the performance dressed as their favorite player/character.”

The costumes used by cosplayers are definitely not similar to typical Halloween costumes, Rigby says.

“These were fantastic, elaborate creations; some of them utilized mechanical devices that helped them move or light up or create puffs of smoke.”

Rigby realized that the cosplayer element – the idea of someone whose identity was tied to expressing one’s self through their performance art – would make a great addition to his movie.

(Below, Rigby and Ravassa on set)

Previous slide
Next slide

“Making movies wasn’t even on my radar until five years ago,” Rigby says. Since graduating from UCF, Rigby had instead focused on building his musical career.

From as early as he can remember, Rigby was driven by music. He knew he wanted to be a band director and was especially passionate about marching bands.

Rigby, who had been a standout musician in high school in Merritt Island, had already been accepted at FSU, but when he saw a performance by the UCF Marching Knights at the Citrus Bowl in 1997, he knew he had to come here.

At the time, the Knights were led by Ron Ellis (1996-2010). Ellis, along with Richard Greenwood, also a former director of the Marching Knights, composed UCF’s fight song in 1998. Ellis is now the director of bands at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Greenwood is at FSU.

Previous slide
Next slide

“The UCF Marching Knights were unlike any other band I had ever seen,” Rigby says. “It was like a breath of fresh air.”

Under Ellis’s direction, Rigby says that, unlike other college bands, the Marching Knights were performing songs that were recently on the radio, and that the 230 or so musicians were moving in perfect synchronicity. Rigby knew he had to be part of this movement.

He was accepted into UCF’s music program, learning as much as he could about the performance aspect of the Marching Knights. He also wanted more performance time.

Rigby joined the world of competitive drum corps. His experience, as a member of the Blue Devils Performing Arts, quenched his thirst for performing, but took its toll. Lots of traveling in charter buses, lots of sleeping in hotel rooms.

“It was a fun time in my life,” Rigby says. “I performed as a corps member, then I went back to teach the groups. But it did take me longer to graduate from UCF.” ​(Below, Rigby performs with the Blue Devils)

“One of my friends, a UCF alumnus who was at USF, encouraged me to come and work for the band; I could also get a full ride in the master’s program for conducting.”

Rigby taught high school and conducted musical theatre in the Tampa area for a few years. He was still looking for more creative opportunities and moved back to California where he connected with his network.

He met with Rob Schaer ’02, a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

“Robbie suggested I form my own orchestra,” Rigby says. He began to envision the type of music that interested him.

“I did some soul searching,” Rigby says. “I knew I didn’t want to create just another group that played classical music. There’s plenty of others that do the same. This had to be different.”

In 2015, Rigby formed the Hollywood Light Orchestra. Inspired by the DJs playing electronic music he had seen at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Rigby wanted to bring that same energy, but also include parts for live music. So he combined electronic music, as well as parts for strings and brass.

As word of Rigby’s new orchestra spread, musicians from all over vied for a spot in HoLo. They even performed for America’s Got Talent (below).

Previous slide
Next slide

“We had our first show in June of 2016 at CenterStaging in Burbank, CA, which is where Dancing with the Stars rehearses,” Rigby says. 

That led to a string of performances around the LA and surrounding areas for the next few years where Rigby would meet up with different artists and perform their music with his group. His goal was to perform at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, the quintessential music venue for performers and attendees. The venue there has welcomed legends like Elton John, Celine Dion and Rod Stewart.

And even though Rigby achieved his goal of performing there, he was still searching for more creative inspirations.

“I realized the process wasn’t very fulfilling for me, and it wasn’t tapping into anything I was passionate about.”

What it was good for, Rigby says, was giving him ideas for stories.

“A friend said I should write a story about my life, but I realized that I could take pieces of my life and put them into other stories.”

Once that clicked, Rigby said the floodgates opened and he began cranking out screenplays.

“I just knew that Steven Spielberg would be interested,” Rigby chuckled.

When that didn’t immediately happen, Rigby realized that he could direct a movie in the same way that he had directed his bands over the years. He had the vision, he had the creativity, and he understood the elements that make up a good performance.

His first movie began production in 2020, right before COVID. Everything shut down in the big studios, so Rigby began to write another screenplay about something closer to home – being stuck inside during a global pandemic.

“I was inspired by Hitchcock’s Rear Window,” Rigby says. In that movie classic, a man is confined to his apartment and witnesses a murder as he is staring out his windows.

“I decided to turn it inward where all the action happens to a person inside their own apartment – and inside their own mind – as their life kind of falls apart and then they have to rebuild it on their own.”

Morgan’s Mask was filmed inside Carolina Ravassa’s apartment in ten days, Rigby says.

“We all got tested, and then no one left the apartment,” Rigby says. “We made the best of what we had to work with.”

One of the main themes of the film is self-love, Rigby says. He wanted to show the progression of someone who is in the depths of despair to someone who has overcome the demons that they were battling.

“I’ve been through a lot,” Rigby says. “I thought that by sharing some similar experiences through this film that it might help someone. I tried to share this message in a heartfelt, authentic way.”

After the film had wrapped in 2020, there was about a year or so of editing and post-production work that took place for the film to be eligible for the film festival circuit. Rigby used his musical background for the film; for the film’s original music, he brought in groups that his orchestra had performed with.

“We always hope that a studio will pick it up,” Rigby says. “We did not have a huge marketing budget, and when you don’t have millions to spend on Super Bowl commercials, you hope that word of mouth carries it forward.”

Morgan’s Mask debuted on multiple streaming platforms this past April.

Since then, Rigby has continued to build his own portfolio of screenplays. He’s written about ten, and he is shopping them around to different studios. Because of the success of Morgan’s Mask, people are willing to take a risk on him now, he says. And with the SAG-AFTRA strike over, Rigby can share that he is currently in the process of developing his next film, which is a Sci-Fi epic starring AnnaLynne McCord from 90210.

Rigby was at UCF when the Blair Witch project took off. He remembers then how cool it was that our alumni were getting recognition for the work they did.

“Whenever I hear of UCF alumni that are doing such amazing things, it always makes me feel proud,” Rigby says. “I hope there are some of my fellow alumni who hear about my journey and realize they have the power to do what they want to do in their own lives, even if it means changing their career paths. I encourage all my fellow Knights to Keep Reaching for the Stars.”

Featured Image for the Contact Us Bar
Contact Us