The Art of Creating Commercials: Advice from a JPCatholic Alum

In Alumni Profiles by

Name: James R. Compton, Jr. (pictured on the left)

Position: Social Media Manager of Content Production

Degree:  2014

Degree: MBA in Film Production

Could you describe what your job entails? What is the most rewarding part of it?

As Social Media Manager of Content Production at ELCO Chevrolet-Cadillac. I manage the social media pages and produce, direct, and write narrative stories and fact driven commercials. I use the spectacle of the Chevrolet and Cadillac brands to reach out to potential customers of the dealership via social media.

The most rewarding part of it is that I have complete creative control over the content I produce. In every commercial I produce, I ask myself, how can I best Impact Culture for Christ while Educating, Inspiring, and Entertaining our customers.  The answer is subtleties and subtext. It’s very rewarding too.

How did you find that job?

Prior to coming to JPCatholic, I was the Website Coordinator at ELCO Chevrolet-Cadillac a dealership in St. Louis, Missouri. I kept in contact with the owner who would become an uncle figure in my life, and worked for the dealership while on break. So keep in touch with those you have worked with in the past, you never know how it might affect your future.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. I lost and gained so much since graduating. To put it bluntly, I lost my Godfather, Father, and Grandfather within 10 months of my graduation.

After this year of personal tragedies and set backs, I was fortunate enough to be put into a position to turn that around. By the grace of God and the intercession of John Paul the Great, I was able to put my degree to use which took a sting off the pervious year.

The owner of the dealership initially offered me the role of social media manager. Knowing that I had my MBA in Film Producing, he saw it a logical fit and offered me the promotion.  It wasn’t until after the success of a few “spec” commercials, which I developed based off my experience in the MBA program, that I was tasked with producing, filming, and editing, the narrative commercials full time. What’s past is prologue!

How did JPCatholic prepare you for your job?

JPCatholic on a practical level taught me everything I needed to know about the business end of filmmaking. From pre-production to delivery,  JPCatholic encouraged me to put into practice what I had learned during the 1st year of the program. I remember the end of my first 12 hour day on set with Professor Rob Kirbyson I said to myself, “Dude, are you sure you want to do this for 15-30 days in a row on a feature?!” By the end of my time at school I was screaming “YES I DO!” Film Production is addictive and I love it! Can I get an AMEN?!

On a personal level, JPCatholic prepared me for the year that followed my graduation. It solidified my faith in such a way that I was able to continue moving forward during my personal downfalls, and trust in his Love and Mercy so that on a daily basis I might do his will and not mine. I am grateful for this preparation that Dr. Connolly, his family, and staff were able to give me. I would not trade these lessons for anything in the world!

What did you enjoy most about your time at JPCatholic?

The thing I enjoyed most about JPCatholic is the devotion and credence given to spiritual growth at the school to help you thrive in the movie business. I knew that if I was going to go to a film school, that it’s to my advantage if it is rooted in something that I already believed (Catholicism) to help me along.

Also I cherish the fellowship that I shared with my fellow graduate students. To this day my friendships with them have helped me thrive professionally and personally. From being inspired while creating a project, to asking for help with script breakdowns, my “colleagues” have been there! Also, there is not an In-n-Out Burger in St. Louis, so I enjoyed that too, maybe a little too much!

What’s the best piece of advice you could give a prospective student interested in studying Media?

The piece of advice I would give, is get to this school before it becomes too big! As aspiring filmmakers we are called on this wonderful journey to entertain and inspire! Do that by coming and attending JPCatholic. When you arrive soak it all in and trust the faculty to take you through said amazing journey! They KNOW what they are doing! They are industry and theological professionals! This is a great university! I am in constant awe of the creative, spirit-driven minds that have and will continue to come out of JPCatholic! Also watch all the movies leading up to your first day, it will help you tell your story!

If I may close with a movie quote that I feel is appropriate, as I close my testimony. It is from the second sweatiest movie in film history according to JPCatholic alum Andrew Rieger. The sweatiest being Cool hand Luke.

Gentlemen…this school is about combat…..there are no points for second place.

Top Gun

Cmdr. Mike “Viper” Metcalf (Tom Skerritt)

Tony Scott


(To see commercials James has produced, visit ELCO Chevrolet-Cadillac’s facebook and Youtube page.)