Capitol Communicator is running “Up Close and Personal” profiles of communicators in the mid-Atlantic. In this profile we feature James Favata. Photography for the series is by Cade Martin, wardrobe styling by Pascale Lemaire and Sybil Street for THE Artist Agency; and hair and makeup by Patti D Nelson, Janice Kinigopoulos and Lori Pressman for THE Artist Agency.
James, please provide us a short bio.
I studied photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art at the same time digital, non-linear editing became mainstream. My senior year I switched gears from photography to video and became part of MICA’s first graduating class of video majors. After graduation, I started my career at the speakers bureau, Leading Authorities Inc., or LAI. Initially I created promotional videos for speakers and event-related videos for associations in the DC area. Outside and self-imposed creative restraints loosened with each year I spent at LAI, while I increasingly influenced creative hiring decisions.
As video-related content on the web continued to grow and evolve, so has LAI Video. LAI Video is now a video communications firm delivering some of the highest quality products in the DMV. Over the years we have consistently stayed on top of trends and embraced new filmmaking techniques, while creating a bunch of our own along the way. At one point I was the only employee in the video department. Now as Senior Creative Director, I help lead a team of 25. Surrounded by ever-changing tech, I’m only looking ahead, excited for the continued evolution of LAI Video.
Are you involved in any other organizations?
Not really. I’ve had the opportunity to work on some amazing pro-bono projects at LAI for organizations like Bright Beginnings and So Others May Eat. My creative time at home is filled with documenting my children’s lives.
What are the things you are most proud of?
In my personal life, I’m the most proud of my family and our adventures together. In my work life, I’m directing a documentary about stroke survivors to help raise awareness and give hope to those who are still in the stroke recovery process. I’m extremely proud of the work LAI Video has done on this project, and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Who are your personal role models?
Role models are typically experienced individuals who’ve been there, seen it all, and offer an ambitious example to live up to … But my role models are my junior teammates at LAI. I’m continually inspired by their energy and fresh ideas.
Did these role models provide insights that helped you in your career?
I can’t say I’ve ever had an after-school special moment with a perfectly-timed inspiring remark to help guide my choices. My Uncle never told me that “With great power comes great responsibility”. Or maybe I just don’t have a fantastic memory. But I do set a personal bar of excellence to make each project better than the last.
What professional advice do you have for others?
Have fun! People in the D.C. area take themselves way too seriously. Remove all self-imposed creative restraints and anything becomes possible. I’d rather hear a client or coworker say “we could never do that” than “yeah, we did that last year”.
What’s on your Spotify and Pandora playlists?
I’m not big on streaming music or playlists because I prefer listening to albums in their entirety. This past year I’ve probably listened to Future Islands’ “The Far Field” and 2 Chainz’s “Pretty Girls Like Trap Music” the most.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
NuVegan hands down. But I am super excited about the Fancy Radish that’s opening soon!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love what I do everyday and that I get paid to do it too. If I had to ask myself the age-old question, “What would you do if you had a million dollars?”, the answer would be to work on a personal film or documentary project… So yeah, I’m not far off.