American author Harriet Jackson Brown Jr. once said, “Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” And English novelist Terry Pratchett wrote, “It’s still magic even if you know how it’s done.”
Whether you’re a parent or not, I think we can all use a daily reminder about who or what we are living for. So many people go through life without asking themselves these questions: “Why am I pursuing my career? What gets me out of bed in the morning? What is my purpose?”
If we’re living life solely for ourselves, then we won’t be happy. Why? Because that’s a lonely existence.
When we have a purpose that supports our passion, career, and actions, we live much happier and fulfilled lives. That purpose could be many things: supporting a family, building a heart-centered business, or creating content that impacts people’s lives for the better. What is your purpose? Why are you in the career that you’re in? Who do you care about?
When we live out our lives with purpose, we leave a legacy behind that people can follow in — that’s where the magic truly happens.
“It’s not about these surface-level achievements. It’s about being a person who’s putting good into the world.” – Zach King
My guest today knows all about magic — in fact, he’s famous for creating mind-blowing illusions — but more importantly, he’s focused on giving his family the time and care they deserve.
Who Is Zach King?
My guest today knows what it takes to share the joy of magic and illusions through a digital medium. Zach King began his magical journey at age seven when his parents first handed him a video camera. From that moment on, Zach began creating videos for his most enthusiastic audience — his family. But all that changed when Zach was a freshman in college.
One of his most ambitious videos, “Jedi Kittens,” was viewed over a million times in less than 24 hours. With this sudden viral success, Zach saw the opportunity to tell his unique stories to a wider audience.
Many of you will know Zach King from his days on YouTube, sharing advanced tutorials on filmmaking techniques and mastering visual effects. Or you might know him from Vine, using the six-second format to inspire wonder and awe in millions of people with his sharp editing skills and visual gags. Or more recently, you may have seen his viral TikTok videos where he takes practical effects to the next level to create mind-blowing illusions!
Zach King is a filmmaker with over 8 million subscribers on YouTube, 50 million followers on TikTok, and hundreds of millions of views across all his platforms. He’s also a father and has a passion for foster care and adoption!
In this interview, Zach and I talk about a variety of topics, including navigating fame as a father, finding your creative niche, and becoming a foster parent.
Zach King is the perfect example of a creator who’s doing it all from his heart, and I’m so excited to share this interview with you all! Without further ado, let’s get started.
It’s no secret that Zach King has reached massive fame on the internet, and his numbers on TikTok are steadily rising. With his incredible editing skills, creative thinking, and intricate sets, Zach takes filmmaking to a whole new level, and people are loving it.
But with this much fame — over 80 million followers across all platforms — there has to be intense pressure. I asked Zach what is his greatest fear as a creative, and this was his answer:
“My fears come out in the comments, and I know what’s a real fear when it pings me. I don’t spend a lot of time in the comments anymore. … [I’d] read a comment and it says, ‘This guy’s not relevant anymore.”… What if I can’t go a full hour and a half [in my videos], which has been my dream? … For many years I put [that] on me like I need to fulfill that and succeed in that.” – Zach King
Many creatives struggle with the fear of failure and put enormous pressure on themselves to keep creating content that’s better than anything they’ve ever done before. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with pushing yourself to be better, that impulse can become toxic when it’s motivated by what others may think. As a content creator myself, I also used to spend a lot of time in the comments of my videos, and when I read something negative, it was like the world was ending. But like Zach, I came to realize that the creative process isn’t just about the reception — it’s about what you’re creating:
“There is a satisfaction with the work when we post. … It’s not as difficult as a birth that I saw my wife go through, but it’s a similar process where you created something from kind of nothing — just an idea. … When we hit publish, it feels good to be at peace. … If this literally gets 10,000 views, it’s okay. I’m proud of what we’re putting out there because I learned so much in the process of making that. It’s not even about seeing the response to it.” – Zach King
If you’re a content creator, I want to encourage you to not spend time obsessing about the reception of your work. Some people are going to love it. Others are not. But at the end of the day, you will have inspired someone, and that’s what matters. Some people criticize Zach, saying that he’s not a magician, but he’s creating wonder in his videos and inspiring millions.
While Zach no longer spends too much time in the comments, there was one comment many years ago that shaped his career for the better. Zach had originally made tutorial videos for video editing on his YouTube channel — a learning resource for anyone interested in film. But then a fan suggested something more:
“It was really nerdy. I was screen recording … and putting it out on YouTube. And the comment that changed my whole career was, ‘Hey, you should show us a short film — a demo. So if you’re teaching [about] lightsabers, show us that. Make a two-minute short film with lightsabers and then like break it down.’… And I was like, ‘Oh I could totally do that.'” – Zach King
Out of this comment, Zach’s first viral video, “Jedi Kittens,” was born. His friend had just adopted some kittens, and Zach filmed them playing. He then went in and added little lightsabers that the kittens were “holding.” The video was only 45 seconds long, but little did he know that this would jumpstart his YouTube career:
“My parents called me, and I had been asleep because I stayed up all night to edit that video. And I just posted it, skipped my classes, and went to sleep. My parents were like, ‘You were on Good Morning America. They just played your video.’… So I was just thrown into that whole world.” – Zach King
At that time, Zach was among the first wave of YouTube creators who amassed a large following for their content. Zach shifted his focus from education to entertainment, and every short film he posted received more and more views. It came to the point where Zach realized that he needed a team to make this business sustainable. Shortly after he hired some people, Vine took off, and he gained two million followers in less than a year.
“It was a different level of exposure. … There’d be like one person a week who’d come up to me in the store … but once Vine happened, it was like everybody in the room. … That was a weird experience.” – Zach King
With fame, there comes the pressure to perform but also adoration from fans. I was curious to hear if Zach ever let that get to his head, but with the rise and fall of Vine, the attention eventually leveled out. Zach learned that to keep his business running, he had to diversify across several platforms, including TikTok, to reach a wider audience.
As a content creator, Zach is dedicated to his work and adding wonder to the world, and he’s continuing to amass more and more fame. But he has another job he considers even more important.
First and foremost, Zach King is a father. He has one biological son, Liam, and an adopted son, Mason, and his family is his everything. In our interview, Zach shared his love for adoption and the story of how he and his wife got into the foster care movement:
“[My wife] came from a family [where] … she was the only biological kid [and] there were two adopted kids. And my youngest sister was adopted into my family from China. So we both had that experience of having siblings that were adopted. … So we connected on that and felt like … a great way to figure out if we could [adoption] is [to] do foster care. … My business was just picking up, and I was growing a team, and a lot of people would just think, ‘Oh, you’re too busy. Do it later in your life.’ But for us, it was really a strong tug on our hearts. … It felt like a mission that we needed to do.” – Zach King
After opening their doors and walking through the foster care application, Zach and his wife Rachel got a call to pick up a baby. The certification process took about six months, but after they turned in their application, it only took four days. There is a huge need for loving foster parents and adoptive parents, and Zach and his wife felt called to supply that need.
They raised their first foster baby for a little while and then gave him back to his original family. Zach said the process was heartbreaking, but at the same time, he was celebrating the biological parents:
“If someone has kids in the foster care system, most likely their parents have been in the foster care system, and it goes down generations. … Before I was educated about foster care, I had a lot of judgment. I was like, ‘Why can’t you kinda fix it yourself and [raise] these kids?’… But they just weren’t trained. … This family went through the training, and it [was] hard work to get back on course from where their life was. And so we were celebrating them, and that’s the goal. You want to be celebrating the birth parents the whole time.” – Zach King
The goal is that the child will be back with their biological parent(s) if circumstances allow for that to happen. In this intermittent period, the foster parents provide the love, support, and care that the child needs to thrive. After their first experience fostering, Zach and Rachel decided to do it again, but this one turned out a bit differently:
“Our second kiddo joined the family, and we were just so thrilled. He was our son the first two years that we had him, and the fact that he got to join our family … [he became] our forever son.” – Zach King
Both Mason and Liam have taught Zach so much about being a creator, and they have inspired so much creativity in him as a result:
“Kids are the most creative things in the world … you can see their innocence. … I don’t want to be the ‘no’ person. I want to be expansive and teach [them]. Sure, there [are] boundaries of life that you need to be safe for your own physical wellbeing. But other than that, anything should be possible for the kids. … I want to be there cheering them on and saying, ‘yes!” – Zach King
Being a father has changed Zach’s life — his family is at the center of everything. All the fame in the world falls short of the love he receives from his kids. Even though I’m not a father, I was inspired by Zach’s care for his family and how his sons inspire even more creativity in him. Zach does so much good in the video world, but more importantly, he’s making a positive impact in the lives of his children.
Zach King is the perfect example of a content creator who leads from the heart, and I was honored to have him on The School of Greatness. If you’re interested in learning more about the foster care system or adoption, Zach has some advice for you:
“Look up an agency in your area. I think it’s really helpful to not go directly with the government but go through an agency because they’ll help guide you and be a little bit of a filter to the process. … It’s not as hard as people think … you can give your home to a kiddo.” – Zach King
There are so many children out there who don’t have a home. If you resonate with Zach’s words, I encourage you to educate yourself about the process and think about whether foster care or adoption is right for you!
I really love Zach’s definition of greatness:
“I look at the resilience of so many kiddos who’ve gone through hard lives — teenagers and adults [also] who’ve gone through trauma. Greatness is the resilience and coming back from that trauma and just going down the journey of healing. … Those are the people I look up to … I’m like, ‘How did you come from this family life and turn out the way you did? It’s just incredible. So I think greatness is having an incredible capacity of that resilience.” – Zach King
If you enjoyed this interview, tag Zach, @zachking, and me, @lewishowes, with a screenshot of the episode and your greatest takeaways! We would love to hear how this message inspired you!
I’ll leave you with this: Content creation shouldn’t be about the fame. It should be about the impact. If you can inspire just one person, you’re making a huge difference.
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