KAREN SONG is a queer Korean-American director, New Yorker, global wanderer and cultural enthusiast. Studied in a myriad of art forms and all that a lifetime in NYC has taught her, the dramatic medium of film, television, live theater and working with actors, is where she finds her center. She is currently based out of Los Angeles and Brooklyn. The road to directing scripted narrative work has been a professionally enriching yet windy path.
Over the years of studying and working in various disciplines in the theater, and in motion picture and entertainment, she has evolved a comprehensive toolbox as a director. Additionally, professional capacities as producer, editor, writer, DP/Cameraperson and actor— have helped establish a deeper foundation to her process as a director. While immersing in a vast variety of arenas— from ad agency work to music videos to live events; from live theater to documentaries; from helming multi-cam live shoots, to producing broadcast television ads and music industry albums; from working with animation to content for new technologies, to directing radio ads and hosting podcasts—all these have provided rich opportunities to expand her point of view and her senses, tested the foundation of her skillsets, and inspired a versatility to her directorial and storytelling approach. All this experience she brings to the film and tv projects she is currently developing.
Among her career credits, she directed a series of branded content and commercials for experiential agencies for premium clients like American Express for US Open tennis and golf; and produced documentary content and motion graphics-heavy signage & L.E.D. stage design content for the "How Sweet the Sound" gospel competition live arena tour with Verizon Wireless. On the ultimate adventure, she travelled across 5 continents to shoot the documentary-style branded content web series, "All The Wrong Places" for Mini Cooper/BMW & VICE Media, as well as for other documentary projects in Indonesia on an environmental expedition on a sailboat, Russia on a fossil fuel story, Kenya in an orphanage/school in Kawangware, and Korea delving into ancestral roots. In her early career, she travelled on-tour with Ricky Martin and then later Britney Spears, to implement onsite activations and visibility for sponsorship brands Pepsi and Polaroid. She also was the Director of the music video department at Elektra Records during one of music video’s golden eras, where she was able to commission a music video for Beyoncé, then in Destiny’s Child.
Most recently she directed hundreds of LIVE and pre-recorded multi-cam fitness content at Tonal, and for Equinox & Pure Yoga brands prior, tapping both into her experiences as a lifelong athlete as well as an actor. This opportunity to be able to work on-set daily provided invaluable conditioning of her directorial skills, progressing the depth and speed of her skillsets, creating systems for new platforms, and drawing the best out of a big crew under tight deadlines. Also notable at Tonal—utilizing her training as an actor and knowledge working with actors, as well as conducting hundreds of documentary interviews with non-actors, she was able to direct on-camera talent to natural and connected performances as they recorded tens of thousands of stand-alone video and audio units that would be implemented into the only A.I.-based workout machine on the market—A.K.A. an otherwise disconnected process to feed into a robot.
She started her career as an Associate Producer on the star-studded TV programs, music videos and albums “Ain’t Nuthin’ But A She Thing” (Polygram Records/MTV Worldwide) and “Inner City Blues: The Music of Marvin Gaye” (Motown Records/MTV Worldwide) working with some of the most influential artists of all time and their top-rate teams/collaborators, ranging from Madonna, Bono, Patti Smith, Queen Latifah, Annie Lennox, and many more. Music videos continue to feed a steady source of inspiration. She loves the medium’s dynamic and visceral qualities, as sensory spectacle and/or conceptual/abstract storytelling.
She had the great privilege of being mentored as a stage director by the late Tony Award-winning director Jack Hofsiss, and was a member of the HB Ensemble as a director and actor. Furthermore as an actor, she had a bit role on ABC's primetime TV show, "Life on Mars" starring Harvey Keitel, in which she earned her SAG-eligibility. As a playwright, a collection of stage plays she wrote entitled "Love and Other Natural Disasters," was staged and produced Off-Broadway at the Manhattan Repertory Theater.
She is currently in post-production with "Sundays at Cafe Tabac," a documentary feature film about the explosion of lesbian visibility in mainstream media and LGBTQ activism in the early ‘90s told through the lens of this legendary gathering in a golden era of lesbian nightlife in downtown New York City; and development/production on "Women, Gods & Monsters," a documentary about an elite group of women surfers who charge monster waves. She is co-host and creator of the Café Tabac Film podcast featuring inspiring coming out stories, and contributing co-host of the Swell Season Surf Radio podcast.
As she embarks concertedly into scripted narrative work—dynamic, expressive, sensual, mythical, conceptual ideas in the art of storytelling and juducious experiential spectacle will be markedly central to her approach to her craft. Completing the narrative feature films and TV episodic scripts that she’s been working on over the years, will magnify those goals as well.
She is a graduate of Brown University, was a former Division 1 athlete and All-American lacrosse player, and is an avid surfer who leads surf/sail expeditions for women.