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September 21, 2017

Change Lab Podcast Episode 2: Director John X. Carey on Balancing Art and Commerce in Film

John X. Carey (BFA 11 Film) is a filmmaker and ArtCenter alum whose social conscience has fuelled his wildly successful career as a commercial director. Best known for Dove Real Beauty Sketches, a short film about female self esteem that became the most watched internet commercial of all time, John discusses his unconventional off-the-grid upbringing, why he gravitates to projects that give voice to unsung protagonists and his ambivalence to the commercial nature of the commercials he creates.

The true emotion and meaning comes from understanding your story and how to best reveal information to the audience.

John's career hit its cruising altitude 2013, shortly after graduating from ArtCenter, when Real Beauty Sketches positioned him at the forefront of young filmmakers capable of capturing viewers’ imaginations through emotionally charged storytelling that addresses personal challenges.

Since then, he has assembled a celebrated and socially-minded body of work, ranging from a recent film for Apple about an autistic teen who uses the ipad to communicate and a short film about singing group with serious breathing problems entitled Phillips Breathless Choir, which won an award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Over the course of this episode of Change Lab, John examines the pivotal moments in his creative evolution: How he came to focus on socially conscious subject matter, beginning with a Designmatters project at ArtCenter; how he distinguishes between emotionality and sentimentality in his filmmaking; and how he has relied on books like Victor Frankel’s philosophical masterpiece, Man’s Quest for Meaning, to help him through the obstacles he’s had to overcome both personally and professionally.


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