How Zach King creates his mind-bending illusions on TikTok, YouTube and Instagram
Speaker 1: Hi baby.
Speaker 2: We're here in Zach. King's amazing studio where he shoots all of his Instagram and TikTok videos. We're here to talk to him about how he traverses multiple social media platforms and to get a behind the scenes, look at how he makes his contact.
Speaker 3: Hey, I'm Zach king. Uh, you may have seen me around the internet as a filmmaker illusionist combined
Speaker 2: For the last 10 years. Social media creator, Zach king has [00:00:30] taken video editing to the next level with his creative fun and mind vending videos.
Speaker 3: I saw movies like jurasic park, Indiana Jones, et. And a lot of those early films for me E were like exciting to, to figure out like first, how is this a job? Like who's making these, but then I would see these, you know, the explosions or the dinosaurs and be like, wait, they're real. And I watch behind the scenes and they were like building pieces of 'em and that fascinated me that there could be a craft where you would build these to me at the time was like these giant [00:01:00] versions of toys. And then put 'em into movie
Speaker 2: Sax rise to fame, kicked into high gear after uploading a clip to YouTube in 2011 called Jedi kittens, which currently has over 24 million views.
Speaker 3: I've always nerded out with editing. I, I love like figuring out the tech, like watching a movie and being like, wait, how did they clone somebody? Like, how did they in parent trap? How did they do that? And then figuring out all of a sudden the split screen. And that was like a powerful tool for me as a kid to be able to play and, you know, duplicate yourself or add an explosion. You [00:01:30] could add that little cinematic, uh, production value to it.
Speaker 2: Since then he's created countless visual illusion videos on Instagram TikTok, and it's now defunct to predecessor vine and has amassed millions of followers along the way.
Speaker 3: When vine exploded for us, it was quickly apparent that I needed producing help crew help writers help come up with the concepts. We eventually were working out of a house that was like the size of, you know, private area here, like a living room, a [00:02:00] couple bedrooms. We had editors in hallways and, and towards the kitchen. And at that point we started taking over the parking on the street and we're like, okay, we need to get a space. Plus we were cutting holes, like for all the sets you see like there's windows. And like, if you see me jumping in a TV, like there's a hole in the TV and we were cutting holes in the walls and they were like, the landlord was like, Hey, like you should think about getting a studio. I think it's time. We, uh, started a, uh, doing a studio hunt and then we found this place.
Speaker 3: And I remember walking in, walking in here and just being like, the ceiling is [00:02:30] so tall, like 22 feet, like we could do anything. We could build like double story sets, which we've now done. So we have a team of artists here that work on a lot of these giant things and miniatures and, and all the sets. And, and that's really fun to be able to clap on that level and, uh, really create exactly what we need for these videos. A lot of people come up to me and like, where do these weird ideas? Is it like in the shower? Is it when you're walking or, um, driving, but it really is just sitting down with a group of really talented people who will help you say yes to the idea, [00:03:00] and then eventually carve down to the best version of the idea and having that collaborative
Speaker 2: Spirit. What, what goes on in your head when you see all this?
Speaker 3: Well, now when I see this, uh, I get scared, cuz it's a big mess that we have to keep cleaning up constantly. The more toys you have, the more they just spread out. Everyone plays with them. It's I mean, you, you have to pinch yourself every once in a while. I'm, I'm excited that you've joined the studio today because we're gonna shoot a video where it's playing with perspective in our reality of perspective. So we're gonna have a house. I'm gonna walk outta [00:03:30] the house. Hi baby. Get my car. And back up, we figure out the caption later in our videos, but it's probably gonna be something about like how hard it is to back up down those like long driveways.
Speaker 4: Hey,
Speaker 3: Hey, so I'm gonna back up and then end up hitting the house and it's gonna be revealed that the house is miniature, but by the time you get to that park, you're gonna be like, but I saw him come outta the house. How did that? And then, you know, it'll loop, this video is gonna be a challenge because getting the there's like [00:04:00] three things that need to happen. It's the camera. It needs to be in the exact spot. Like there cause no room for air. And then the house has to be in the right spot in relation to the camera. Wow.
Speaker 4: Right there. That is so freakishly
Speaker 3: Exact and then the car and the backup. And also the fact that we only have one of these doll house min that's rigged to follow over. So once I crash into it, like we have to use that take,
Speaker 4: I could ruin everything right now. All right.
Speaker 3: [00:04:30] There's something really exciting about like knowing when we're done, but also terrifying that we only have one take. So
Speaker 2: Yeah. Truly no pressure here. Yeah. No
Speaker 3: Pressure. You ready?
Speaker 4: Yep. Action. Oh no. [00:05:00] I think my family's in there. That was, that was way more intense than the cardboard box. Let's uh, let's let's reset. Noah, can you put the house back? Um, so I'm getting a phone call. Hold on. Can I hit this thing? Which is like, I've never hit this for, and so I, I bounced up and I was like, I just ran someone over. No, no, it was fun. [00:05:30] Oh, this poor house. Well, everybody that is a wrap. Good work.
Speaker 2: One of the things that stands out to me about you is that you have gone from YouTube to buying to Instagram, to TikTok, and it's really rare to find somebody who's been able to stay relevant across all those platforms. So how do you manage to do that and is staying relevant, something that you keep in mind when you come up with the ideas for your
Speaker 3: Videos, we make, what we think is really interesting. And, and usually that resonates with a, a lot of people across the audience. It's not about showing off these tricks, right? It's not about these cool techniques [00:06:00] we can do. It's a is about that seed of the idea and that that needs to carry through all the way through the end.
Speaker 2: One of the things that I know is important to you is Asian American, Pacific Islander representation. How does that translate into your work and why is that
Speaker 3: Important to you? You know, I don't, I don't think it has a direct act obvious correlation in my work, um, where I preach it. And I, and I kind of do this with all my beliefs. I don't put it in my, my bio or, or like pro proclaim it. Cause I think people should see it for me. Um, [00:06:30] being Asian American is really fun and, and exciting. And, and I think for anybody, whatever their culture is, they should hold on to that and find out more this summer. One of the projects I did up in, uh, Oregon with my family was interview my, my three remaining, um, auntie we call 'em the great aunties. I was strucken back by the amount of, you know, racial, um, prejudice. They had to go through to even raise our family in the Pacific Northwest decades ago. [00:07:00] It's been important for me to capture and record and document. And that's, I think where I see it play out is my love for filmmaking meets my family heritage and trying to preserve those stories for future generations.
Speaker 2: Where do you envision yourself in the coming years?
Speaker 3: We, we love like that feeling of that kind of you get from Disneyland going to Disneyland and you feel there were Imagineers who designed this thing going to be cool. If we could put the wonder that we do in our videos into a coffee experience or into like a real life activation, um, that's a place you just go on the [00:07:30] street. Like that would be cool. So I have no idea, but I know the storytelling of it and like adding that sense of magic and wonder is always gonna beprobably in my style for a long time.
Speaker 2: Thanks so much for watching. If you like that behind the scenes, look definitely hit that like button and subscribe for more content from CNET.
Speaker 4: But again, dead serious note. Can we save this until we're wrapped on the video though and miniature garden? Totally. Absolutely. We can. [00:08:00] It sounds hopeful. I think I, I hope we got it. Just don't throw it away yet. Yeah, yeah.