Entrepreneur: Zach King

Tilt: Magical film editing

Scene: Website, YouTube (13.4M), TikTok ​​(67.9M), Instagram (24.5M), Facebook (7.2M)

Snack Bites: 

  • Zach used his rejection from film school to fuel his online content creation beginnings. 
  • He gained millions on Vine, the short-form video, now-defunct platform. 
  • Among his first YouTube channel’s videos is Jedi Kittens Strike Back.

Why We’re a Stan: Zach didn’t die on the vine after film school rejection or the ending of the short-form video platform. Instead, he launched a business that is thriving over a decade later, making him one of the most popular online video creators in the world.

The Story

One of the top most-followed TikTokers, Zach King has cemented himself as a creator worth watching on the short-video platform plus YouTube and Instagram. Viewers are entertained by the content and marvel at his editing skills, magic tricks, and mind-bending effects.

A rejection to admission into Biola University’s film program led him on this content entrepreneur path. As he told Digital Trends, “I had this realization a few years ago that even though I may never be able to make a movie for the theater, the silver screen might not be a thing for me.

“But I am making movies for the little screen now, for millions of devices. It’s cool because, in a way, I hit that dream.”

When @ZachKing turned a film school rejection into a #ContentBusiness making movies for the little screen. Millions are watching. #Stan #CreatorEconomy Click To Tweet

Zach King’s early start

In 2009, Zack King started his own YouTube channel to have a creative outlet after his film school rejection. His account FinalCutKing was filled with videos created using Apple’s Final Cut Pro editing software like this one – Jedi Kittens Strike Back.

Two years later, Zach was a winner in YouTube’s NextUp creator contest, receiving mentorship and $35K to continue to produce videos. Ultimately, he grew his subscribers to over 1M. His most popular videos on the channel include Best Zach King Vine Magic Compilation of All Time, Clash of Crayons, Indiana Bones – Raiders of the Lost Bark, and Vine like a King!, a series of clips showcasing his well-received videos from Vine, the short-form video platform that ceased operations in 2016.

Uploading constantly to Vine helped Zach grow his online fan base to over 3.4M followers. Zach earned revenue from sponsorships and product placements for the Fantastic Four movie and Universal Orlando. As he told People magazine in 2015: “We realized the audience likes physical things; they like physical impact … When we do a stunt, it takes a lot of time to prep and practice and figure out how to break through a wall or flood the living room.”

@ZachKing grew his Vine fan base to over 3.4M before the short-video platform ceased operations. #ContentEntrepreneur #CreatorEconomy #Stan Click To Tweet

He told the magazine he also gets his inspiration from“ just watch[ing] behind-the-scenes videos to see how they were making the stuntman fall in Iron Man or Jurassic Park. It’s probably not the best-recommended way to do it. Now we work with a couple of different stunt teams, and they’ve given me some tips to be a little safer than I was.”

Moving beyond Vine

He later created his self-named channel, Zach King,  occasionally offering a behind-the-scenes look at how he brings his daily videos to life. Videos like Revealing the Surprising Ways I Make My Illusions, How to Make a Western Short Film – Magic Makers, and Recreating a Zach King Video are a few that show off his content tilt – film editing and magic skills.  

Zach also recognizes the value of not putting all his videos on a single platform. As he tells Digital Trends: “It’s fascinating because part of the business now is to be on all the main platforms. In the past, with Vine, especially not having a long shelf life, you have to be diversified as a creator as part of the business. 

“You still have your own style and voice and branding throughout all of your content, and your audience will get to know you and come to expect what you create,” he says. “I like to get on platforms really early before they get incredibly popular, just to figure out if there’s a community growing there, to figure out what I like about it, creatively if it is sparking any new ideas.”

The video content business requires being on all the main platforms. You have to be diversified as a creator, says @ZachKing via @DigitalTrends. #Stan #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

It’s no wonder that TikTok has become his most-followed account, with 67.9M choosing to have his content on their feed. He studies how the platform delivers content. “I found the hashtag trends to be really inspiring. It was like being given a sandbox of limitations. Some creators don’t like limitations, they don’t want to play in the sandbox, they want to be out in the ocean, but I like having those rules because it guides me,” he has said.

Today, everyone’s beloved TikToker is making money off of his platform by way of  Zack King merch and publishing a book in 2017.

About the author

Shameyka McCalman is a wordsmith whose work often centers around fashion, art, and other creatives of color. She earned her communications degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston and enjoys sifting through clothes in local vintage shops, frequenting nearby plays, and gazing at exhibitions on view in museums.