Featured Creative

Isaiah Kim: Music Video Director and VFX Artist

Featured Creative

Isaiah Kim: Music Video Director and VFX Artist

Isaiah Kim shares his journey and insights on crafting visually compelling and emotionally resonant music videos.
Feb 27, 2024

Isaiah Kim, a Los Angeles-based director and VFX artist, has carved a distinctive path in the world of video production, blending his talents across directing, visual effects, and storytelling. With a career that spans collaborations with Warner Music Group, Fendi, and Jazwares, Isaiah's journey is a testament to the power of visual storytelling. Beyond his professional pursuits, Isaiah is an avid dancer and outdoor enthusiast, always eager for the next adventure.

The Creative Background

Isaiah's transition from video editing to directing and VFX supervision reflects a broader evolution of his creative aspirations. He recalls the pivotal moment that set him on this path: "It wasn’t until a hot summer trip to Missoula, MT and artist Xedrin; where I would have the opportunity to make my first [music video]." This experience, despite the challenges, ignited a passion for music video production, leading him from Virginia back to Los Angeles to dive deeper into the industry.

Custom Music Videos

Isaiah's method for creating music videos is deeply rooted in empathy and collaboration, emphasizing the importance of understanding and aligning with an artist's vision and emotional landscape. His approach is not just about producing a video; it's about creating a shared narrative that resonates with both the artist and their audience.

The Foundation of Collaboration

"Every project is different and unique," Isaiah begins, highlighting the bespoke nature of his work. The inception of a music video project is always marked by conversations—deep dives into the artist's mind, exploring their ideas, inspirations, and the emotions they wish to convey. "At the heart of any collaborative project, a good relationship with the artist needs to be in place," he asserts. This foundational belief in collaboration ensures that the creative process is a shared journey, with the artist's vision steering the direction.

Understanding and Visual Translation

Once Isaiah has a grasp of the artist's vision, the next step involves translating these ideas into visual language. "I normally ask them questions about their general interests, to slowly get an idea of what kinds of visuals would pair well with their music and their initial interests." This process involves gathering visual references and mood boards that capture the essence of the artist's message, ensuring that every color, tone, and frame contributes to the storytelling.

The Director-Editor Synergy

Isaiah's dual role as director and video editor gives him a unique advantage in the creative process. "Being both a director and video editor has so many amazing benefits when it comes to pre-planning and execution on the day of production," he explains. This synergy allows him to envision the final product from the very beginning, ensuring a cohesive narrative that's both visually captivating and true to the artist's vision.

Crafting a Visual Script

The meticulous planning stage involves creating a visual script or map that outlines the music video shot by shot. "From there, I compile all of the references and ideas that I have and then essentially start writing out a visual editing script/Map that breaks down the video into a shot-by-shot breakdown." This detailed plan serves as the blueprint for the production, guiding every scene, transition, and visual effect to ensure that the final piece is a seamless amalgamation of the artist's vision and Isaiah's creative execution.

Memorable Projects and Creative Resilience

Reflecting on his work with Xedrin, Isaiah highlights two music videos, "MELT" and "Bleed Out," as among his favorites. "MELT," in particular, presented a unique challenge: "A shot that remains dear to me within the [music video] is the VFX sequence depicting an asteroid impacting the Earth." This project, along with the adaptive resilience required for "Bleed Out," showcases the blend of creativity, technical skill, and partnership that defines Isaiah's approach to visual storytelling.

Guidance for Aspiring Creatives

Isaiah candidly shares the reality of the creative process, emphasizing the importance of embracing every step, including the missteps. "I would say go in with the expectations that you’re going to make a lot of mediocre and terrible work when starting," he advises. This honest acknowledgment serves as a reminder that perfection is not the goal; growth is. The early projects, no matter how flawed they may seem, are crucial stepping stones in an artist's journey.

Perhaps one of the most impactful pieces of advice from Isaiah is the simple act of showing up. "One of my mentors once told me that 'showing up' constitutes half the battle," he recalls. This philosophy underscores the importance of presence—being physically and mentally available for opportunities, learning experiences, and collaborations, even when the project or role seems minor or unrelated to your ultimate goals.

Isaiah places a strong emphasis on the value of relationships in the creative industry. "Your creative partners and team are your true secret weapons, surpassing even any expensive gear package," he states. This perspective highlights that the tools of the trade, while important, cannot replace the human element—the ideas, support, and collaboration brought by fellow creatives. For Isaiah, networking and building trust with artists, clients, and colleagues have been pivotal to his success.

Final Thoughts for the Road Ahead

Isaiah’s advice to aspiring videographers and directors resonates with a deeper philosophy of life and creativity. It’s about embracing imperfections, valuing relationships over resources, and persistently pursuing one's passion despite the hurdles. His journey serves as an inspiring blueprint for those ready to embark on their own creative endeavors, reminding them that success is a mosaic of experiences, relationships, and relentless pursuit of vision.

Connect with Isaiah:


IG: @Kimycon | @Noir.noise_

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