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James Morgan


James Morgan Headshot 2023
James Morgan

Media Arts: Video/Film

By: Gail Obenreder

The most rewarding thing about what I do is making people happy.”

Videographer James Morgan has been at work in a studio for over two decades, making recordings and following his profession as both a cinematographer and YouTube Channel designer. But the project for which he’s been named a Division Emerging Artist Fellow is his series of engaging short videos that speak directly to young children. His goal for this body of work is “to create something that children will enjoy watching.”

Morgan’s short videos – like “A is for Apple” and “Fun on the Farm” – give his youthful viewers “the opportunity to learn something new every time they watch.” In them, Morgan does it all – he’s the onscreen presence, as well as the director, videographer, and editor. And as he reads a book or talks about a topic, he populates the screen with his charming cartoon characters – sometimes animals, sometimes avatars of himself.

Born in Philadelphia, the Harrington resident moved to Delaware in middle school and – after short stints in back in Philadelphia and in Miami, Florida – he has lived here ever since. He began working as a cinematographer in 2010 by working on music videos, and Morgan was influenced early on by YouTubers like Tom Antos and Film Riot. Those pioneers of indie filmmaking are still his primary inspiration; they’re the people who “taught my generation how to create cinema on YouTube.”

He’s especially rewarded when he’s producing content for those young audiences, knowing how important and “amazing [it is] to be a positive influence.” But it is a challenge to be consistently creative and “continue to innovate [even]when I’m not sure what to do next.” During the pandemic, as challenging as it was, Morgan found himself forced to be seek out new pathways and projects, so he feels that it helped him in the long run. “When your conveniences are taken away from you, it opens up the door for your imagination.”

Morgan also enjoys cooking, something he’d like to fold into in his future video work. The award “means a lot to me,” and he plans to use the Division Fellowship to “build and produce a season of new shows for kids.” But receiving the award took him totally by surprise. “I’m shocked and humbled by being able to be a part of it.” He’s enormously appreciative of everyone who made this possible, and he’s “excited and looking forward to showing the art that is made from it.”

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