Our Image Makers series highlights the creatives working behind the scenes to bring the visions of today’s biggest musical artists to life. From the photographers and stylists, to glam teams, and blinged-out grill makers part of a core crew for the icons inhibiting our daily lives, we ask questions to uncover the steps they took to get them where they are.
Zac Facts has built his reputation as a filmmaker in the music video world around his unique ability to capture the dark and gritty elements of everyday life and transform them into masterful snippets of art. Facts started making waves around 2014, channelling the raw rap power of subjects like Machine Gun Kelly, but was quick to make moves towards more slick production, which has now become synonymous with his style.
His most recent project harnesses a hyper-surreal interpretation of island life within the music video he crafted for Nav and Gunna’s trap-heavy track featuring Travis Scott, “Turks.” In it, Facts rides the sinister gangster beat through a fictional military base lit up with flame throwers, a fully choreographed bikini-clad militia, and just the right amount of smoke and mirrors.
Facts has built his dynamic resume working with other artists including Sean Leon, Future, and Wiz Khalifa, bringing their wildly dynamic multiverses to life. With each track accompaniment he proves that he is just as much a visual artist as he is a storyteller, often wearing many hats through shooting, directing, and editing to ensure his vision is seen through to completion.
We caught up with the Toronto-based multi-hyphenate to find out how he got started as a videographer, what rappers he looks up to, and how to communicate a vision that is sufficiently the sum of all its parts.
What first made you want to become a music video creator?
I love to be creative. I’ve spent a good portion of my life looking for creative outlets and this one just happened to cross that threshold; hobby to business. I still don’t feel like I have a job. I guess that’s how “doing what you love” is supposed to feel.
How would you describe your creative process?
I feel as if I’m a chameleon. I approach each client, each artist differently, though my goal is always the same: to learn something about them and be what they need me to be. Creatively, I love to find what a client has in mind so I can see it from their perspective and infuse a bit of my own into it. I really don’t like it when clients have no idea what they want. I avoid those types now.
What does a typical workday look like for you right now?
It really depends on what I’m putting on. Sometimes I have to be a director and an editor in the same 24-hour cycle. Extrovert transforming into an introvert without the phone booth. Either way, it’s a long day of looking at a glowing screen. If there are no flights to catch, I’m grateful.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Having that creative release. Also, playing a small part in helping an artist achieve their goals. Inspiring people is something I’ve been catching on to lately. I didn’t realize how many people I inspired to do this; that’s also super cool.
What has been the biggest hurdle that you’ve had to overcome?
Myself. Always myself. I am my own biggest critic. I realize not everyone has that privilege, so I feel like it’s a privilege to even say that.
What are some aspects of your job that you hold the closest to you?
I really appreciate every moment; the good and the bad, the people I’ve met, and the friends I’ve made. When you boil it down, it’s really about the connections and the moments you’re able to share with those you care about. My mom told me she was proud of me. That would probably be my number one.
What is some advice you’d give to someone looking to work their way into the industry?
Don’t be a facilitator. Empathize from the perspective of others but don’t ever get so far away from the things you want to do. Be brave and strong when it comes to voicing your opinion and always trust yourself creatively. What’s meant to be is meant to be. If you fail, that’s not always a bad thing.
For any artists looking to make a music video to accompany their next single, what is some advice you would give them to get them started on the right path?
Know what you want and be ready to work for it. Trust your director, respect your director. Remember, he or she is an artist, just like you. Less is more, so be patient and don’t watch what the next person is doing. Be original.
What would you say has been the secret to your success as a filmmaker?
Humility, patience, and a genuine love for this. I love it so much. You have to be willing to sacrifice a lot for it and I’ve certainly done that.
Who is one artist you would give anything to work with right now?