Jay Kim, 32, is a filmmaker from New York, and a self-professed movie nerd, comic book nerd and sci-fi nerd.
“I worked in the film industry doing corporate stuff, which just means that I took a nice desk job to make big figures,” he said. Jay graduated from New York University in 2005 and worked as a freelance editor and shooter in New York City for about ten years.
Three years ago, he moved to Nashville to work with Every Nation, a Nashville based nondenominational worldwide church movement with a focus of discipleship.
“I’m just grateful I get to be using my college degree,” he joked. “I’m grateful to be using my passion, my gift, my ability and to have a standard for disciple making.”
PASSION for FILM
Around the time he was eight-years-old, Jay’s dad decided to get out of the steel industry to become a full-time pastor.
“I grew up a seminary kid,” he said. “We moved from Long Island to upstate New York while my dad was in seminary then we moved back when he graduated.”
At his high school in Long Island, he said there was a great arts program called STAC or Student Television and Arts Company.
“You had to audition for the program,” he said. “We all split up in our disciplines, and the program had been around so long that they had alumni who were successful at what they did come back and teach. They would bring them in and have ridiculously great workshops.”
Jay said film studies in STAC ignited his passion for film eventually leading him to study it at NYU.
“I got hit pretty hard when the economy crashed, because no one was willing to have a whole bunch of in-house corporate video guys anymore,” he said. “I was working odd-jobs here and there, at a comedy club and cutting videos for Footlocker.”
Jay was attending an Every Nation church in New York when Pastor Ron Lewis at King’s Park International Church, a sister church in Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, and founder of three New York churches requested Jay be his personal photographer at Campus Harvest.
“Campus Harvest is a massive college student conference. Some students come and get saved and some come and get called to ministry.”
“I started getting involved in Every Nation and I followed them on Facebook. Then, they posted a job on Facebook for a videographer,” he said. He said at the time he didn’t need a job, but he felt lead to applied.
He said part of the interview process was to make a video.
“I ripped down all the stuff and cut together a video that they used on their YouTube channel. Then I got hired.”
Jay said his girlfriend told him to go wherever God takes him. They have been doing a long-distance relationship for the last three years.
Today, Jay is the videographer for the North American region of Every Nation, which is made up of 66 churches in the U.S. and Canada.
He said at times it is a little overwhelming, but he’s been the most prolific he’s ever been in his entire career.
“It is a desk, but it is not your traditional 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” he said.
NEW KID on the COMMUNITY
“Well, I’m the new kid here,” he said. “Community, whether it’s your church community or a community of like minded people like photographers, videographers and artist, it’s life-giving.
He said if people become alone, they are cut off of life sources and they are going to run out of their own very quickly.
“It’s about understanding together that this life isn’t anything anyone can do under their own strength. This life is gift from God and it is by His grace that we continue on. We are strengthened, we are encouraged and we are challenged by other people. It’s where you’re sharpened and you’re not sharpened unless you’re challenged.”
Jay said the local Instagram community is fun for him, and it’s also changes the way he shoots. He said he’s been challenged to think about composition more than ever before.
In the short time that he’s been in Nashville he pointed out the food scene as being one of his favorite parts about the city.
“I’m just wondering where all the Korean people are?” he said then laughed.
He said in Nashville there’s a fueled desire to explore, one thing he didn’t really notice about New York City.
“We aren’t in the Pacific Northwest, you can’t just walk out to your backyard and see fog coming off the mountains or on a lake. You have to search for it here. Nashville is beautiful, but the most beautiful places are ones you have to look for.”
Jay said with a house and a mortgage to pay, he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
“I’m not really into local politics or anything like that,” he said. “I like what I see when I see young people who want to be creative.”
He said it’s not New York City in which and people don’t come to Nashville to be discovered unless they are musicians, but he said creativity can flourish anywhere.
“The kids with the weird mustaches and skinny jeans are the ones making interesting things,” he said.
He said in the future, he’s looking forward to getting some help and taking operations to the next level. He said he’d also like to spend more time on his own personal work like narrative projects and short films.
“I’ve got some ideas rambling around my brain,” he said.
When he’s not working, Jay is playing with his cats, Orson and Winifred. He also spends time on the worship team and small groups at Bethel World Outreach in Brentwood, an Every Nation church.
Jay blogs too! Read and follow his blog here.