Zach King's "magic vines" has made him a film career on social media

Zach King's "magic vines" has made him a film career on social media

Zach King loves making movies, but these are no ordinary films. His six-second "magic vines" have shot him to social media fame

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Zach King's videos may only last a few seconds, but they take hours to make.
Zach King's videos may only last a few seconds, but they take hours to make.

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King reveals some of his tricks at the Social Matters conference last month
King reveals some of his tricks at the Social Matters conference last month
Photo: Ogilvy & Mather

He was taught to make Hollywood feature films, but Zach King, also known as Final Cut King, has made his career out of videos posted on social media.

Famous for his six-second "magic vines", which are flawlessly edited to look like impossible magic tricks, the 23-year-old made a video on the MTR while he was in Hong Kong last month. It proved so popular it got more than 16,000 likes on Instagram in just 25 minutes when he posted the video at the beginning of his talk at the Social Matters conference.

"People are engaging a lot faster [on Instagram] … I'm excited to see where that could go," says King.

Instagram has become the king's new focus, but it all started on YouTube. When he started his channel more than five years ago, King had just started studying cinema media arts at Biola University in California in the US. "We weren't really taught to make internet videos," says King. But he watched a lot of tutorials on YouTube to learn how to edit, add effects and handle lighting.

Soon he started making videos of his own, offering Final Cut Pro - editing software he has been using since he was 12 - tutorials on YouTube.

"I was teaching people what I was learning, so I could give back to them."

Several months later, he was able to help pay his university fees by selling tutorial courses on his website.

Before long, subscribers started to ask King to post his own work, and his YouTube channel began to gain more fans. Then, in 2011, he gained global fame with his Jedi Kittens video, featuring two cats fighting with lightsabres.

But last year, his friends introduced him to Vine, an app which lets you post six-second videos, and he soon became addicted.

"It was growing faster than my YouTube channel," he says.

Part of the appeal was time. It would take King up to two weeks to plan, film and edit a YouTube video. On Vine, he can produce a short story in a day.

The magic vines show King doing all sorts of strange tricks. In one recent video, he smashes a pumpkin on the table, magically turning it into a delicious pie. King may make millions of fans laugh, but he remains modest.

"I'm not funny. If you are funny, you can just do it on your camera and you're done," he says. "I can't do that, but I can do visual things."

He admits it can still take hours of tireless editing work, for a result that lasts just a few seconds. But for King, that's part of the fun.

"I love little details in the video, it is fun to try to impress somebody with an effect," he says.

Having made his first video at a wedding when was just seven-years-old, King still gets a buzz showing off his work.

"I love showing [videos] to people. Essentially it's what I still do, I just show videos to people, but on the internet," he says.

Having spent five years making internet videos, King encourages more people to try it out. "Find that thing that you like making," he says. "It's gotta be your style and your voice… as you'll end up making that for a long time."

Check out the videos on King's YouTube, TwitterInstagramVineFacebook, and Snapchat: ZachKingSnaps.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Shorter videos, longer laughs

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