Zach King: The Storyteller in All of Us at TEDxPortland (Transcript)

Read here the full transcript of filmmaker and YouTuber Zach King’s TEDx Talk: The Storyteller in All of Us at TEDxPortland conference. To learn more about the speaker, read the full bio of the speaker here.


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Zach King – Filmmaker and YouTuber

It was six years ago that I was just leaving Portland. I had been born and raised here, and I was taken off to LA to go live there. And it was scary to be a young — just graduated from high school – kid, planning on taking over the film world, and I was just planning on going out to be a film student in Los Angeles at that time.

And if you were to come up and ask me, “What do you think you are going to be doing when you graduate film school?” I would have, of course, said, “Well, I’m going to be in Hollywood, making feature films for the big screen, and my name up in lights, and working alongside my favorite director: Spielberg here. Of course, that was going to happen.

But actually, fast forward to today, and I’m actually making short videos out of my garage for this — the small screen and the Internet. And this is one of the tools that has changed my life among a couple of others.

See, what actually happened was I didn’t get into film school like I expected. I ended up having a year at university while I was waiting to reapply, and I was kind of bummed out like, “Okay, man, I thought my calling was to be a filmmaker, and direct with Spielberg.”

So I fell in love with something during that time, and it wasn’t a girl. I fell in love with the Internet and digital technology because at the time I realized both of these were really converging at a really cool way. The internet has poised itself; especially, websites like YouTube were just coming out, Vimeo. And you could post your work online, and start building a following.

And then on the other side you had digital technology taking off. Cameras were getting cheaper, they were getting better quality, and again, they were only costing a couple of thousand dollars.

And so I took a camera, and I started filming my own videos while I wasn’t in film school. I didn’t have film homework, so I did that and I posted online, and began building this following. And it started changing my life.

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Because when I go to film school, and I eventually am talking to classmates, and I am talking to my teachers, like: “How do you get into the film industry? How do you get into Hollywood?” Because I still want to direct, and they would tell me this, “OK. Well, here’s how it works: you go into Hollywood, and you work for 10 years up the ladder, doing nothing you really like to do. You’re being assistant to somebody, and doing this dirty job here, and then you finally get to a place where you can pitch your movie. Because that’s what all directors want — this chance to be in front of executives and pitch their story.

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