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The man behind the camera. - Pearl Academy


A film-maker like none other, David James Baker is not only an artist but an avid horseman as well. With multiple degrees, his education is nothing less than ordinary and his work speaks for its quality. He’s worked on various films, directed multiple commercials, promotional videos and more.


1.  What is your role in the modern media landscape?

I am an independent media producer. I travel abroad where I work with filmmakers, artists, and organizations who want to create viral or shared content. I work with companies and festivals that want to engage contemporary media producers and platforms. From ‘Gangnam Style’ to ‘What Does The Fox Say’ to “Kony2012” we see some media that simply goes viral. What makes successful content what causes content to hit a brick wall. I share what I learn about this topic with the world on Facebook:,, and other social media platforms. Some of the answers are surprisingly simple.


2. Where do the themes your my work come from.

First, I look for something that is not widely seen – a different point of view. Then I look for a way that it can resonate with a small cultural or affinity group. I am always aware that facts can be used to tell lies. And on the other hand, art – something that is fake – can reveal eternal truths. The latter is what I believe is the most important role of the artist. We are experiencing radical changes in the way people communicate. This is good. Finally, people are engaging in the story world broadly and lots of previously impenetrable, walls are coming down.


3. Would you agree that storytelling is an art more than science?

In the workshops I give and the consulting I do in a number of countries. I assume every person is an artist including and especially scientists. It’s hard for me to believe that

there is a pure art any more than there is a pure science. If humans are involved you can rest assured they are doing it in creative and subjective ways. Art is what makes us human. Some people are very successful at engaging the marketplace in a unique way. We may choose to call them successful artists. We may choose to believe that they are not trying and no one is helping them. Some people are engaged in scientific activities, but are in fact using a great deal of creativity and producing aesthetic results we perceive with our senses. Aesthetics is a kind of human created information. PEARL Academy Creative Careers Conclave Q&A with David James Baker, M.A., M.F.A. What’s important is that creative work impacts us and advances how we think about the world.


4. Is it really important for a content producer to not be emotionally involved with their subjects to maintain objectivity? What are your thoughts on this?

Every pixel on every screen – including the camera – is mediated light. It is a re-creation.

I think it is dangerous for us to look at media or assume that we have created media that lacks human subjectivity. Media creators have a special responsibility to show us unique and interesting views. But when we choose to believe that mediated content represents reality we could be making dangerous assumptions.


5. Do you think there are trends in media or film over or a lifecycle that every society/region goes through?

It’s an interesting question. Are we just repeating content or are we growing from content that has already been created? I think the power of geography, borders, and previously closed distribution channels that contained content are now in a transformative state. Bollywood and Hollywood are now competing for attention and views of content create by young people who have no formal training or vested

financial interest in the marketplace. I think this is wonderful!


6. What has been your experience like working with young artists and creative content producers who are beginning their careers? What advice would you give them before they choose a career?

a) Learn to concentrate your focus on what you do that works, can be easily replicated, and shared broadly.

b) Learn to manage and master your emotions so that you rule them and they do not rule you.

Do these so that you can concentrate on your creativity and not be addicted to any kind of instant gratification. The myth of becoming the overnight sensation and failure to live up to these two standards is what stops most creative people and projects in their tracks.


7. What are your expectations from the Creative Careers Conclave?

As the ‘water’ of human-created content is seeping over the world. We are all more aware of each other than ever were before.

In every country I visit, I see that Laureate International Universities are uniquely positioned to create global change through new models of education and sharing.

Recently, they acquired a sleepy liberal arts college that was financially bankrupt in the desert of the South-western U.S. and transformed it into an impressive international art school now known as Santa Fe University of Art and Design. I attended a registration of new students. It was standing room only and the students I saw were International students. Creating a truly international art and design school in such a short time is remarkable!

I have heard that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were both frustrated by the inability of education to innovate. It has taken some time, but that innovation is happening in

Non-traditional ways and I am counting on Laureate to me a leader. Everybody who delivers content from media producers to educators is being challenged. Our old assumptions no longer hold true and all of us who are creative professionals or educators must look for new ways to produce, deliver, and constantly measure the efficacy and relevance of content we create and share. The world is now post-International. Online artists and developers have led the way. It is amazing. I know I am going to learn a lot from the students and media professionals participating in the Creative Careers Conclave in Mumbai, India. I want to know what they think so that I can think about is and share that with others I work with. I would also like to visit an important historical shrine. I am always seeking to understand what people believe and why. When I get there, I expect art had a lot to do with it. We ‘are’ all human and we breathe the same air and now experience the same content too

Read up on the other three speakers at the conclave here

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