Photo courtesy of Myrah Sarwar
Troy High School

Jon Cozart: YouTuber to filmmaker

With almost four million subscribers, Jon Cozart has made a name for himself on his YouTube channel, Paint, with his impressive comedy acapellas and music medleys. But he’s planning for something bigger. Most successful YouTubers move on to write books or sing, but Cozart turned to his childhood passion:  filmmaking.

“I’ve always been fascinated by filmmaking and films in general,” Cozart said. “When I was young, they definitely captured my imagination and my heart in a way real life couldn’t. It was the type of storytelling that was easily accessible to me and transported me out of reality.”

Though he doesn’t do quite as many takes as Stanley Kubrick, Cozart’s meticulous eye for detail  is unique among his filmmaker peers. His YouTube videos are carefully planned and he is not afraid shoot entire videos up to three times just to make sure they convey the exact message he intended. From the very beginning, Cozart’s videos have been more of a production than the impromptu vlogs that other YouTubers put on their channels.

“I don’t care about how [viewers] look at me,” Cozart said. “I care about how they look at my content which speaks for itself.”

And what’s even more impressive is that he does everything himself.  Cozart is every level of production; he writes, acts, sings, films, produces, and edits his own content. This is practically unheard of in the film industry, but Cozart is not in any way limited by his independence. In fact, he feels that it leaves him freer to be truly authentic.

“I prefer to do it alone because it feels like it’s the most authentic form of creativity,” Cozart said. “I can never put something on my channel that isn’t an absolute reflection of who I am, for I am involved with every single production. And I love that. The authenticity.”

Those already familiar with Cozart’s videos know that many of them contain biting social commentary, covering everything from the election of 2016 to political correctness during the holidays. But he delivers it in an entertaining way so compelling and novel that even over-discussed issues seem new and interesting.

Cozart aims not only to make viewers laugh, but also to make them think.

“If you can make your art more than just entertainment and actually make people think about the world we live in in an introspective way, then why not?” Cozart explained. “It’s just what I’m naturally interested in and it’s how I look at the world.”

It makes sense, then, that Cozart intends for his future films to be satirical works that are original, not just parodies. He also hopes to incorporate his musical and vocal talents, possibly with a live show. Few can juggle so many roles like Cozart, and that gives him the opportunity to synthesize something innovative that only he can.

“I think the good thing about the current, modern-day entertainment industry is that you don’t have to be good at only one thing,” Cozart said. “I’d love to do some singing, go on tour, and combine my love of comedy, film, and music to make something special that only I can make.”

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