Name: Jack Corbett
Hometown: Granville, Ohio
Currently lives: A two-bedroom apartment in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles that he shares with a roommate.
Fame claim: Mr. Corbett is an assistant producer on the NPR show “Planet Money,” which creates chaotic and carefully unpolished videos about the economy for TikTok. Using pixel graphics and low-fi editing, it produces sketch-like primers on arcane economic topics such as Korean jeonse loans, how the NFT bubble can be explained by the biggest fool theory and time theft for low-wage workers.
“I try not to learn to do it right,” said Mr. Corbett, who records his videos on a refurbished iPhone X. “For a while I used green screens as curtains.”
Big cut: After studying film theory at Ohio State University, Corbett was hired in 2019 as an intern on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series, where he helped produce segments with Taylor Swift, Coldplay and others.
He asked for help with “Planet Money” and created a video explaining how the stock market has built-in circuit breakers using found footage of waterfalls and peaceful horses. It was uploaded in 2020 and has been viewed over 300,000 times. After commentators praised its educational value and offbeat humor, NPR superiors encouraged Mr. Corbett to continue posting.
Last project: When workers at Starbucks in Buffalo organized last December, Corbett created a 90-second video on how to organize a union in four easy steps. Organized labor was important to his great-grandparents, who worked in steel mills in Youngstown, Ohio, and coal mines in West Virginia.
“I know unionizing is a real challenge, but the instructions for unionizing are so much easier than anything I’ve ever had to do for the DMV,” he said. “Sometimes these processes or concepts turn out to be much less complicated than they appear.”
Next thing: Mr. Corbett is working on a music video for a hyperpop song by Madge, an artist and producer in Los Angeles. The video, which will be released this spring, is intended to be confusing, as if someone accidentally dropped the camera. Music videos are “the latest non-cringe way to do experimental video stuff,” he said.
A romantic: Mr. Corbett listens to a lot of classical music from the Romantic era, which sometimes plays in the background of his “Planet Money” videos. He loves the mood swings of Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin and Franz Liszt’s “famous cute pie”. “Their nights are so sad, and sometimes their stuff gets a little scary,” he said. “All of these characteristics are things that I see in myself.”