The New Influencers: Khoa Phan

Followers: 80,000 on Vine, 15 million loops

Has worked with: Peanuts Worldwide, The Coca-Cola Company, MTV, (RED), UNICEF, HP, HBO

Channel: https://vine.co/Khoa

Though Zach King uses polished editing to work his Vine magic, animator Khoa Phan takes an old-school approach to his videos: paper-based, stop-motion animation.

"It’s true that my Vines are very time-consuming when you consider the amount of time that goes into the thought process, timing each frame, filming, and minor editing," Phan says.

But that work has paid off: Phan has created animations for several prominent brands, including Peanuts Worldwide, The Coca-Cola Company, MTV, (RED), UNICEF, HP, and HBO.

With less than 100,000 followers on Vine, Phan doesn’t have a huge audience on his own channel (brands that commission animations often share them on the company’s own channels, according to Phan). But he says that brands searching for creators to work with shouldn’t focus only on raw numbers.

"What’s really important is marketing to the right audience," he says. "Many creators can reach a massive amount of people, but you want to keep those people as followers of the brand."

Stop-motion animation is a fairly time consuming process; many popular Viners can upload several videos each day. What made you want to get into the Vine world when your content takes so long to create?
I’m more of a "quality over quantity" kind of guy. It’s true that my vines are very time consuming when you consider the amount of time that goes into the thought process, timing each frame, filming, and minor editing, such as adding sounds or brightness. I don’t really care much about how many loops my Vines get, I just want to produce videos that I’m proud of.

You don’t have an enormous number of followers on Vine, yet you've worked with some pretty big brands. How do these brands find you? How do they promote the products you create for them?
The brands usually either reach me by email or through Twitter. Some of them mention how they stumbled upon my name by searching "Vine". When I collaborate with the brand, I make animated videos for them to put on their social channels on either Vine or Instagram.

When did you realize your animation would be a way to make connections with some of the world's biggest brands?
I never thought I’d be pursuing making animations for clients. It really was a fun, creative outlet for me when I had the time. I wasn’t expecting the fun animations I made to be seen by tons of people. But when others started noticing my Vines, it just took off from there. Just a little over a month on Vine [the first brand, Peanuts World Wide,] reached out to me. After that, others came along, too, and my life took a quick turn into marketing and animation. 

Looking forward, what social platforms or digital tools are you particularly excited about?
I’m still excited about Vine today. I’ve seen it change so much over the time I’ve been on it. It’s still a place where I find some of my inspiration for my creativity. I’m also very fascinated about Snapchat. The whole fleeting captured moment concept is a big draw. It forces you to watch, since it’s time sensitive and you may never see it again.

What is your advice to brands that want to work with creators?
My advice is to pick creators that will represent the brand well. Creators with a big following are great, but what’s really important is marketing to the right audience. Many creators can reach a massive amount of people, but you want to keep those people as followers of the brand. You want people that care for the brand itself.

And what advice would you give to content creators when they are approached by brands for the first time?
My advice to future content creators is make sure it feels right. You don’t want to regret working with anyone. Don’t expect easy work. Sometimes you’ll get clients that won’t like your amazing ideas (for some reason). It’s tough, but not everyone will agree with your vision. Your job is to find the best middle ground to please brands and their audience.

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