Troy Carter's Atom Factory Appoints Everdream as Studio of Record

Courtesy Photo
James Khabushani, founder and CEO of Everdream.

Last March, James Khabushani and R.J. Collins were a couple of students at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business and Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, respectively, when they spent $1,500 on a commercial for Tesla that quickly went viral. The clip, which features a boy imagining his father's luxury electric vehicle as a spaceship, caught the attention not only of Elon Musk but of the Atom Factory's Troy Carter, who was shown the video while giving a lecture at their new media class. Shortly thereafter, Carter enlisted Khabushani and Collins' media and entertainment company, Everdream Studios, to make a heartwarming video for his client John Legend's "You & I (Nobody in the World)."  

"Creatively they were equal, if not better, than a lot of production companies video directors we’d worked with in the past," Carter tells Billboard. "They didn’t have baggage of overhead or of working on half a million dollar music videos. For one of John Legend videos we had shot, we spent few hundred thousand on a video that he didn’t like; so we gave it to Everdream, which shot it for $30,000 in a three week shoot, and it's one of the best videos he's done so far. It just shows that money and creativity don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand."

Following the premiere of Lindsey Stirling's "Take Flight" video at this Monday's YouTube Music Awards, another Everdream creation, Carter's management enterprise has announced that after working with Khabushani and Collins for about a year, the Los Angeles-based visionary entertainment and media company will be its studio of record. Ironically, Everdream will actually be moving out of the Atom Factory offices into a standalone building, since their staff has grown from four to 30 since Carter took the fledgling company under his wing. "He's kind of been a mentor to me," Khabushani tells Billboard. 

Rather than produce and direct one-off music videos for Stirling and other Atom Factory clients Nico & Vinz, Everdream's new status gives Carter full access to the studio's 15 to 16 in-house directors at all times. "It's a mutually beneficial relationship," explains Khabushani. "Our filmmakers are hungry to work with the next John Legend or Meghan Trainor, and we can devise a content strategy for a year instead of a video here and there." For Stirling, for example, his team is working on a feature documentary around her upcoming U.S. tour, with the end goal of shopping it to a network like HBO or Netflix. 

Carter, who has a history of fostering tech talent, hopes this new partnership will change how film school graduates get a job in an increasingly tough market. "We invest in a lot of tech companies that are out solving problems, but  there isn’t pipeline for some of the best film students in the world to go directly into the workforce like there is in tech," he says. "There are incredibly talented directors, editors, and visual effects guys at these film schools, but there's no track for them like there is for computer science grads." Like Khabushani, he adds, younger members of the film industry know how to work with lower budgets than what many high-profile content creators are accustomed to spending. "These young college students pass those savings onto the client." 

He's committed to fostering hooking up Khabushani with other managers and labels; the studio is already working with Capitol Records, Interscope Records, and Columbia Records. "My job is to be an evangelist with those guys so they get as many relationships as possible," says Carter.