Kasey is a Canadian commercial director of Chinese and French roots. Being mixed-race has allowed him to explore narratives that are uniquely inclusive and emotional.
He sees the important relationship between music, imagery, and pacing. He likes to draw an emotion using classical ways of setting up shots, but isn't afraid of running with a camera when the idea calls for it. His stunning demo reel showcases jaw-dropping samples of his dramatic visual look, shaping his subjects in interesting ways and pushing conventional compositions.
Kasey comes from a background of motion graphics and design. He jumped into the world of filmmaking in 2014, working with Cycle Media as an assistant editor for 2 years. In 2016 he left Cycle Media to pursue directing commercial work. Since then he's directed for clients such as White Spot Restaurants, Okanagan Spring Brewery, BC Cancer Foundation, Sympli, Alo House, Go Auto, and Herschel as well as musical acts like Felix Cartal and Ackee Tecumseh.
Name: Kasey Lum
Repped by: Boldly
Kasey Lum> My favourite scripts are ones with simple stories and minimal dialogue. Setting tone and pace in 30 seconds - or even 15 - is more effective when you have the time to hold on shots, or allow for pauses between dialogue. In addition, finding a unique visual language - whether with camera movement, set design, or performance - is my favourite way to communicate an idea.
Kasey> When I read through a deck, I get a gut feeling early on about how the visuals should be. If I'm not familiar with the subject matter I delve into research - learning about the brand and the brand's competitors. I make a collage of inspiring still frames in Illustrator to see how I want the spot to look. Sometimes the hardest part is finding the perfect frame to convey an idea, and I can spend hours meticulously watching videos to cull just one or two images, but it’s so rewarding. I then go over the script and make any notes or changes that sit well with me and compartmentalize the concept so the execution is easier to visualize.
Kasey> Research is 100% important. It's also important to learn about a brand's competitors so I have a clear idea what is and isn't being done in the market. When informing myself about a brand, I like to do a big portion of research in the field; meeting with brand users and visiting locations. For me, it’s an immersive learning experience that expands from how a brand presents itself online.
Kasey> A director's relationship with agency creatives is important. Transparency is so crucial to how smoothly the project runs. I like being upfront, spending time with the creatives -whether on Zoom or phone calls - to bounce ideas back and forth. Feeling comfortable with the people you work closely with makes the whole process feel more collaborative.
Kasey> I love clever ideas, and if there’s a twist involved - even better. I tend to lean towards drama because tonally it allows for darker, more intense imagery, which I find beautiful.
Kasey> A common misconception among directors is that people see a commercial reel as the best representation of our work. Sometimes that is true but often we have to meet the specific needs of clients and agencies and, consequently, the end result doesn’t always reflect our approach. I appreciate when creatives take the time to watch my original narrative work to see how I handle performances, framing, and subject matter - naturally.
Kasey> I haven't worked with a cost consultant, but I have worked with very good line producers who are amazing at coming up with creative solutions when there are budgetary hurdles.
Kasey> One time we were filming at a small gas station in a town in B.C. There was only one main road that went through the whole town and it ran right next to the gas station. It was normally a very quiet gas station, with the odd vehicle driving through - and that's why we picked it. Unfortunately, on the day of filming, there was an accident 400 meters down the road causing a roadblock and a lineup of vehicles that stretched for a few kilometers. From where we were situated, we could see the billowing fire from the accident. Things were looking grim. We made a quick decision to frame out all of the vehicles and shot it MOS. It was a rough experience, but in-the-moment problem solving is a big part of filmmaking. You always have to be ready to pivot, be it to save a shot, or to improve a scene because an opportunity presents itself on the day.
Kasey> This comes back to building a trusting relationship with the agency/creatives. Showing up with an open mind is key, and feeling confident to respectfully defend your vision. For me it’s important to have a discussion when I feel like things are straying too far from personal taste. Once we have established trust, and the agency has hired me for my vision, I feel empowered to collaboratively push the creative to be the best it can be.
Kasey> I'm all for diversity. Being a person of colour, I've definitely been undermined—it sucks. Mentoring on set? Love it. I learned everything I know about advertising through shadowing and mentorship.
Kasey> I miss the freedom of pre-COVID life, but love the creative challenge it’s posed in the industry. I’ve found that collaborating with talented people and adapting to overcome hindrances feels very rewarding. I think we'll continue to see Zoom meetings and just general remote work for a while to come.
Kasey> With so many different platforms, every piece of content must be able to accommodate various sizes and formats. I like to plan for these in pre-production so that we can maximize the story and frame for each different aspect ratio.
Kasey> I love new tech and facets of the future, but I wouldn't necessarily include it in my work unless the script really asked for it. I'm currently working on a project that involves interactive storytelling, which is a form of entertainment in which the storyline is not predetermined. A user (viewer or player) experiences a unique story based on their interactions with the story world. You can see that this type of project would require a large amount of work based on how many paths you create. I think work like this is being explored more often and it’s important to play around with new ways of creating.
Ackee Tecumseh: Tamagotchi
This was a challenging project, but one I'm very happy with. It was a highly collaborative job - a co-directed piece with my long time friend Jordan Clarke. This project was the ultimate test of give and take, and I feel like we both got exactly what we wanted from the end product—a story that made sense and visuals that were tasteful and experimental.
This project was a fun experiment with transitions. 123 West wanted to make the world of White Spot lovers feel connected and nostalgic, so we found a way using performance and camera movements to provide practical and seamless transitions.
This was the first advertisement that I had to travel to another country for. It was a great learning experience for abroad production techniques; finding locations, sourcing gear and crew.
Opera (Short Film)
This was a passion project that manifested after meeting opera singer Lara Secord. I knew I wanted to make a film where her voice was the centre point—and build a story around that. The biggest learning curve on the project was figuring out how to best capture intense, high-pitch audio properly.