Final Cut King: Meet the Man Doing Digital Magic

We sat down with Zach King, an Internet sensation who produces videos that are pure magic.
By Nate Hoppes

The magic of social media star Final Cut King (Zach King) is evident every time he posts a video. Whether he's turning goldfish crackers into real, live goldfish, making ears of corn burst into popcorn or vanishing out of thin air leaving nothing but the clothes on his back, we're always left wondering … how did he do that?

King recently created a video (watch it above) where it’s clear the Red Bull Editions play a major role in his process, but we're still left with more questions than answers. Naturally, we sat down with him to get to the bottom of it.

Like a true magician, King never reveals his secrets, but he happily discusses the inspiration behind his digital magic that mesmerizes his 3.4 million Instagram followers and 2.9 million Vine followers Do you consider yourself a magician?
Zach King: (Laughs) No, but I get that question all of the time. To other people I totally see why they think that. I’m totally fine with that title, but maybe film illusionist is better. At the core I would call myself a filmmaker.

Growing up, did you want to be a magician?
Yeah. I did magic with my grandpa from age 8 through early high school years. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at tricks anymore. I used to go to magic conferences and shows. I thought it was cool. I was like everyone else, “How did they do that?”

You know it’s not real — because it can’t be real — but that someone can make you believe something is so real, but it’s not. Plus, I was always a little prankster and mischievous, so I like magic because that’s really the best way to do it.

What’s one of your favorite tricks you’ve performed?
I really like the opening of the egg and the chicken pops out. It’s something I always thought would happen when I was a kid. Or the one when I got sucked up into a vacuum cleaner. It was always a fear I had as a kid. I wondered what would happen if that actually happened.

What has been the craziest response to one of your tricks?
We just posted one of the craziest comments we’ve received. Someone tried to jump into a car, and broke the driver side glass. It was pretty crazy.

What are the majority of the comments you get on these videos?
A lot of people ask, “How the heck are you doing that? Is it real? There’s no way this can be real.” A lot of people are just trying to figure out where the editing is. They know it’s there, they just don't know how it’s there.

How do you come up with some of these crazy concepts? 
They are all things myself and the team have thought about, and wished they could be real. For example, we made this one about a laundry machine, that you just put your clothes in, it cleans it, folds it and pops it out the other side. A lot of these are just ideas that we wished were real as kids. Solving a simple problem in a cool creative way.

One of the things we try to do to keep that creativity and playfulness is always playing. If you come to the office, we have toys everywhere, we even have Legos and train sets, just continue to build stuff. The idea is to keep those younger ideas in our head naturally.

After watching some of your older videos vs. the newer ones, it’s clear your acting ability has progressed. Have you worked on it?
(Laughs) No, people always tell me I suck. I’m not an actor at all, I just put myself in front of the camera to brand the videos. It’s funny a lot of people think I’m actor, and a terrible one at that.

Who’s been your acting inspiration?
Nobody at the moment. Actually lately, we’ve tried to stop talking in the videos. I’ve learned, [the] less talking, the better.

Do you ever get recognized when you go out?
Yeah, I do, but nobody knows my name. They just know me as that Vine guy or that magic guy. It’s pretty strange but cool.

Do the ladies love short-form videos? 
(Laughs) I don’t know about that. But I did get married four months ago, so she does love short-form videos.

With all of your incredible digital wizardry, what’s your ultimate goal? 
The ultimate goal is to get into feature filmmaking. We want to tell longer stories; I don't know if those will live in theatrical releases or all digitally distributed. We're filmmakers at heart inspired by (Steven) Spielberg, George Lucas, J.J. Abrams and the guys who make the big-budget, great action films. Ultimately we are long-form filmmakers but have loved doing these small opens. It gets our creativity going on an everyday level.

If you were to make a film, what’s your first film going to be about?
I don’t know, but I have a feeling it will have to do with animals. The mystery of “what if” ... will always be a theme of our films. A little bit of sci-fi or fantasy because we do like the visual flair elements in movies.

What impact has social media had on your filmmaking?
The social media aspect is huge. A lot filmmaking today is not just about honing your craft, it’s about pleasing your audience in real time. Having an audience looking for instant satisfaction, people can immediately watch it, comment, share it and like it. That’s awesome currency to filmmakers today.

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