Johnny Carr: An Actor’s PROFILE

While it might be expected that acclaimed and award-winning actor Johnny Carr would be used to the attention usually given to actors, his self-effacing and humble nature would suggest otherwise. Deservedly nominated for the NYC Web Fest Award as Best Actor for his performance in the series ‘The Greatest Love of All’, the Newcastle native brings a salt of the earth quality not only to his performances but also to any interaction, reminding our editorial team that Australian actors are, indeed, almost always likeable. 

Carr, as shot by the legendary photographer, Sally Flegg.
Carr in the acclaimed series, ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

Carr, who’s featured in a raft of universally loved Australian series, plays and films, was buoyed by the success of the production which was also nominated for Most Outstanding Writing for a Web Series and won Best International Web Series. The latter prize was something that to this day is attributed to the starring performance of Carr, who in large part carries the heart of the series.  

In the show, Carr effortlessly makes his own sense of comedy through sarcasm, connecting with the audience in the process in surprising ways. The value he places on the production runs through the screen, making clear that Carr is an actor who exceeds the expectations of the character he plays in unique and exceptional ways. 

Most memorably, Carr showed how he has some of the best comedic chops in Australia, during a sequence when he is drugged at a house party by his housemates as a sort of emotional kaleidoscope, but he performs it with such precision that it’s a disturbing climax that veers towards the painful (for the viewer, not just the actor). 

Title card for ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

‘The Greatest Love of All’ was also selected for the Miami Web Fest, recognized for being a new kind of film festival for a new kind of filmmaker. The critical acclaim the series attracted is not unsurprising given the success Johnny went on to find in other productions like his memorable role in Channel Ten’s ‘Five Bedrooms’ or Channel Seven’s ‘The Secret Daughter,’ but is fascinating when considering ‘The Greatest Love of All’ was not originally conceived as the high-profile series it became, but a director’s humorous attempt to share a story about the aggressive level of hospitality that is present in Australian domestic life. And how their laid-back nature can often contain macabre undertones.

Carr showed great range by jumping into Channel Seven’s popular drama, ‘The Secret Daughter,’ after his turn in ‘The Greatest Love of All.’

Even more fascinating? Carr’s versatility – later proved with award winning stage roles – that was foreshadowed in his proven capacity to adapt his emotional truth to the most dramatic or emotional scenes and situations, moving the viewer in an empathic  way despite the series being a comedy. 

As legendary theatre critic Suzy Wrong wrote in a review for theatre production The Real Thing, “In the role of Henry is the sensational Johnny Carr, bringing a startling truthfulness to dialogue that could very easily be turned, under the wrong hands, highfalutin and empty. The actor’s presence and timing have us captivated, as we find ourselves enraptured, deeply invested in the many meaningful discussions that provide the foundation for an admittedly bourgeois narrative.” 

Carr on stage during his acclaimed performance of theatre production, ‘The Real Thing.’ Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.

Other industry professionals share the same sentiment, explaining how Johnny has the power of making the viewer believe that nothing happens despite the scene clearly showing the world spilling around him, representing an incredible handling of his performance in front of a camera and his innate talents. 

Were it not enough that Johnny is being featured in our pages today, he’s already attracted the attention of other journalists for many years in Australia who have followed his tremendous work and artistic edge for over a decade. 

In an interview with ‘Arts Review Australia’ Carr was asked who inspires him and why. He responded “people who aren’t afraid to look foolish. The ice-breakers. They allow others to follow suit.” This simple but thought-provoking answer seems to echo his character choices. He appropriates it for the stories and brings it to life with ridiculous, funny, humorous and animated scenes. 

Johnny’s other work reveals the soul of an artist. One that stands out is film ‘Happy Memories’, a production directed by John Tummino.

Here a huge duality appears in contrast to the comic performance mentioned above. Carr plays one of the leading roles, Michael. Together with the actress Laura Wheelwright, who appeared in the Oscar-nominated Animal Kingdom, Carr brings deep and affecting insight to a story about grief and loss in a farming community.

Carr in the revered film project, ‘Happy Memories.’

Johnny’s performance in ‘Happy Memories’, especially in contrast to ‘The Greatest Love of All’, proves his dexterity. His mysterious choices in sequences and moments lead any viewer to wait for glimpses of insight. Carr’s brilliance lies in his capacity to conceal his emotions but not block the audience from connecting with the story – true to the notion that humans and great actors try not to feel, but the average actor is concerned with feeling and how they are doing themselves. 

Carr showed a different side and aspect of his range as an actor in ‘Happy Memories.’

It is such a demanding task to eemit far-reaching sensations and leave a memorable impression through a cryptic character, that Johnny described this challenge in the following terms. 

“[I]t was a balance to play a character whose reality is in question throughout the piece. How to rapidly create that depth of family history whilst keeping the lightness of touch required to serve his buoyant energy,” Carr explains.

Carr, who is attached to a number of exciting projects shaping up for 2021, is excited to continue in showing the world his talents – not for self-promotional reasons, but because of a genuine passion for sharing insights.

“[I’m excited about] stories that search for meaning in the most mundane, absurd circumstances. We do this day to day. Otherwise what’s the point of it all? It’s simpler to find it in places of grandiosity. But what about the minutiae? It’s just as rich if we squint and consider.”

Staying Ahead of the Curve in an Ever Changing Industry: Meet Video Artist Denis Ogorodov

Denis Ogorodov is arguably one of the most uniquely skilled video artists in the industry today. His ability to create videos that leave viewers feeling a deep connection to a brand has undoubtedly made him shine in the eyes of the advertisers who hire him, but it’s his jack-of-all-trades approach to media production that has ultimately placed him ahead of the curve and made him a creative worth looking to for inspiration. 

Last year Denis’s technical skill set and artistic prowess landed him the opportunity to design for the multi-billion dollar streaming giant Twitch from Amazon, an interactive platform where millions of users engage online to dive deeper into gaming, concerts and more. 

Video artist – Denis Ogorodov

Known for his vast skill set, Denis has proven himself as a leading editor, vfx artist, colorist and so much more, that’s one of the reasons he’s referred to as a video artist– because there’s no other title that can really do justice to all the things he handles. 

For Twitch, which is estimated to be worth an astounding $5 billion, Denis was called in specifically to work as the lead editor on their ‘Twitch January Drop’ digital campaign, which showcased the platform’s numerous features, as well as an impressive line-up of interactive events, programming and content.

The vibe of the campaign was intended to be energetic and fast-paced in order to coincide with the incredible range of things the platform offers

“We wanted this 60 second ad to feel almost overwhelming by showing just how much content there is on Twitch,” he says. “We had to find a song that was very energetic that was able to keep the momentum, but at the same time find a balance, where yes it feels almost overwhelming, but people are still registering what’s going on.”

Official “Twitch January Drop” video

“The campaign was designed to be interactive… So many of the assets had to be built in such a way that they could fit together like building blocks, sometimes changing the order, speed, branding or titles…the main video was designed to function as the kick-off for the event.”

The fact that the campaign was interactive not only made it unique, but also challenging, as it was updated live during each stream. As the lead editor, this is one area where Denis’s technical expertise proved invaluable, as his work helped ensure that the campaign’s design remained consistent across every channel and update.

Not only was Denis responsible for video editing the campaign, as well as working on some of the motion graphics and animation, but he worked with the other designers to build VFX templates that were capable of being updated on the fly. 

“He’s very proactive when it comes to finding solutions and is never one to sit around wasting time,” says his ‘Twitch January Drop’ coworker Hondo Logan, who is head of production at Color and Motion. 

“He’s also great at working with and coordinating larger teams. When the workload gets split up and everyone has their own job to do, I never have to worry about Denis’s part, I know he’ll always deliver polished work.”

While it’s no surprise that Denis was called in for the project as he is one of the best at what he does, there’s still a little something uniquely special about being tapped to work on the Twitch campaign.

He recalls, “Back in school I was always fascinated by both computers and art, I was always interested in video game development, photography and all that.”

With his long-time interest in video game development the Amazon Twitch job proved to be thoroughly exciting for Denis, but there’s no question that he put in an unfathomable amount of hours developing his craft in order to go from his humble beginnings in Italy to get to where he is in Hollywood today.  

Denis’s career really started to kick off back in 2014 when he landed a competitive internship at Reset, an acclaimed production company founded by Oscar Award nominated director David Fincher (“Se7en,” “The Social Network,” “Gone Girl”) and Dave Morrison (“Oblivion,”  “Gully”). He got his bearings in the industry at Reset where he was responsible for curating treatments to support their directors’ pitches. That early work had him utilizing a range of software such as Premier, Avid, DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Flame in order to translate the director’s visions from the early storyboard phase right on through to the final editing stages. 

That use of software and being able to translate the director’s vision through the storyboard phase have been integral to his success today. Since his time with Reset, Denis has come to be known as something of  an industry “unicorn,” in layman’s terms– someone who’s an expert in an incredible range of areas. 

Considering that the commercial and film industries rely heavily on the ever-changing world of technology, having such a broad technical skill set like Denis’s has been an advantage that has kept him ahead of the game.

And when Covid hit he was able to adapt better than most, as his established digital career allowed him to remain on the precipice of change as the entire industry shifted towards working online. 

Denis Ogorodov applying his color grading skills behind the scenes

“With technology being the great equalizer, it is more and more possible to achieve professional industry level work from the comfort of your own home, and the current pandemic we are living through has accelerated this process,” he explains.

“Having built a brand of reliability and efficiency has allowed me to work on my own terms before the pandemic, which allowed me to transition to working remotely instead of in-house quite smoothly.”

While the pandemic has proved to be an extremely difficult time for so many, Denis brings a humble and kind-hearted approach in order to support the industry he loves, something that proves him to be the exact kind of creative talent that any media outlet wants to have driving their team. 

He says, “I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to get four of my US colleagues work recently, so it’s nice to be able to give back.”

Having collaborated with so many critically acclaimed filmmakers and global production companies, and led numerous companies to success with his work as a video artist, Denis Ogorodov has made a significant mark on an international level– and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.