Q&A with Danny Kim MFA EDA ‘18, Founder & Director, Docu+
Meet MFA EDA alum Danny Kim ‘18, who recently founded Docu+, a documentary company specializing in international productions and branded content. He shares how DEMAN helped him transition from Duke to LA and offers advice for students pursuing careers in film.
MFA in Experimental and Documentary Arts with a certificate in Information Science + Studies
What are 2-3 ways your Duke experience helped prepare you for your current career role and/or previous roles?
The art of networking I learned while I was at Duke helped tremendously! Amy Unell can attest to my experience as I tried to show up to every DEMAN event, even as a busy graduate student. When I moved to LA after I graduated in 2018, Joshua Gibson, associate professor of the practice in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, gave me a list of alums in LA to contact. I started to network pretty much every day.
How did you make the transition from Duke to your career? What are a few helpful takeaways from your first years out of Duke?
Transitioning from Duke was not as smooth as I hoped. I didn’t have any jobs lined up in LA when I graduated. Instead, I packed my stuff in my car and decided to drive out to the wild, wild west to see what could happen. When I first arrived in LA, I sent out cold emails to a list of alumni contacts and started expanding my network, since people always emphasized the importance of building professional relationships to me.
How did you decide what you wanted to do after Duke? And how did you make transition(s) to different fields?
I was an MFA student at Duke so my experience is probably a little different than undergrads. I had more work experience previous to grad school and I knew I wanted to focus solely on documentaries. Getting my first job in the documentary field felt pretty much impossible in LA. However, after three months of networking, I landed my first opportunity as an assistant editor at a company owned by the son of Bob Dylan.
What is your favorite thing about working in your profession? Most challenging?
I moved back to South Korea two years ago and I am now starting a new documentary company from scratch. These are definitely challenging and exciting times for me. I like the fact that now I can solely focus on the stories that I want to tell using documentary as the chosen genre. I like how making documentaries enables me to meet people from all walks of life and hear their inspiring stories.
What are 2-3 pieces of advice you would offer to a student interested in your field(s)?
Start thinking about your professional goals early! Attend DEMAN events and build connections with visiting alumni. Try to adventure outside your comfort zone and see what happens.
Anything else to add?
Check out Docu+’s official Instagram account @docupluskr. My door is always open so any Dukies who are interested in documentaries, especially in the international environment, feel free to drop me a message and I’ll try to answer them to my best knowledge.