I’m finally back home. After 13 months of living in Hong Kong, some generous individual paid for my ticket back home. A 16 hour flight later, I’m sitting in my dusty, moldy, garbage filled home, eating chick fil a, salads I’ve missed so much, and all nuts my mom buys way too much of.
And then there’s my dad. He works from 10a – 9p, and I’m jetlagged, so I don’t get to see him. But I briefly saw him, on the way to bed, and I didn’t say anything because I was tired.
But this morning, nobody else was home, just me and him. I sat upstairs, typing away, and he was in the kitchen, doing something. I couldn’t bring myself to go to say hi. That’s it. He was on the way out anyways. I could’ve just said a quick hi and ran back upstairs.
But instead I sat in my chair, racking my brain thinking why was I such a straight up pussy? Excuse my language and derogatory term, but clearly I’m not kind to myself in my head. It’s my dad. Why can’t I just go downstairs?
What was hitchiking over 30+ times? In Asia, the middle east, and Europe? What was knocking on strangers’ doors and sleeping in their house? What about shaving my luscious locks because I wanted to exercise not caring about what people think of me? Or wearing one shirt every. single. day. Where is my courage? What have I been doing in Hong Kong? Dicking around? Have I not trained for this? I’m a 24 year old who’s scared of talking to his dad. Put that on my resume. Wow.
I will talk to my dad before I leave this country again.
In Mrs. Carta’s second grace class, there was a girl named Chelsea Ho. She was the first Asian girl I had a crush on. In the following 16 years of my life, I didn’t even look at an Asian girl twice. So this was a big deal, at eight years old. During recess one day, swinging on the swings, I had to tell my two best friends I had a crush on her.
“I have a crush on Chelsea Ho”, I told them. “What do you like about her?”, my friend Noah asked. I said, “I like her personality more than what she looks like.” Noah laughed in my face, “What! Her personality? That means she’s ugly!” But no she wasn’t. In my eight year old brain, she was very cute. But I was just so attracted to her personality. She was fun, down for adventure, smart, seemed sure of herself like she could conquer the world; she showed all of this, all within the walls of Mrs. Carta’s second grade class.
I felt a little put off by Noah laughing in my face. Every year after that I had crushes on girls that were just pretty. Looks first. Personality second. As I get older, I realize more and more how important personality is, yet everybody and their mom puts such an emphasis on looks. I just got done working out my vanity muscles at the gym so people would like me more. Im up 7lbs from my “ideal” weight, so I want to start skipping meals. I already do skip breakfast so skipping more would mean one meal a day. Bleh.
Anyways, as an eight year old innocent child, I really cared about personality. I operated on the fact that I liked Chelsea because of who she was. The way she looked was just a bonus! How can I get back to that place? There’s this other woman in my community who is fun, spunky, caring. But she’s not that cute. I find myself thinking, “well I can’t like her because she’s not that cute.” What kind of bogus lie is that?!
Anyways Chelsea Ho crossed my mind sometime in high school and I looked her up on instagram and found her. She seemed so different. I think she was going through an emo phase.
So Chelsea thank you for being my first Asian crush and reminding me what it’s like to listen to my heart and not what society wants. Now in Hong Kong, I’m attracted to Asian women again! That sounds childish to some people but the walls have finally crumbled after 16 years of blocking myself from liking Asian women. Hurray!
In one month, I got to meet Damian Lillard and Francis Chan. I never thought I’d get to touch an NBA player on the shoulder and look him in the eye. Let alone one of my all time favorites! Then two weeks later, Francis Chan is in my office, sitting 3 feet from me, giving out advice like pots of gold. I hung on to every word. I could not take my eyes off of him. Wow. How cool is it to be famous?
I want to be famous.
How I met Damian Lillard:
My pastor texted me saying Damian Lillard is coming to town. “Get on over to this gym now!” What?! Damian Lillard? Logo Lillard? Putting Portland on his back Damian Lillard?!
There’s this one clip of him sinking a buzzer beater that I can’t stop replaying. Watch this and tell me how can you not fall in love with this man.
So I skipped my workout, rushed across the city, even called an Uber which I never do! The Uber driver completely did not see me when I was waving my arms like a lunatic at him, so I called him and yelled at him on the phone! “I was waving at you bro! Get your ass here!” I don’t do that. That’s so unlike me. But he was causing me to be late for Damian Lillard!
I finally got there and word had spread. There were so many teenage boys wearing his jersey. Dang. It was going to be hard to meet him. When he entered the gym, everybody swarmed him.
They all treated him like an object. Running up to him, grabbing a selfie, and running off. When he was shooting 3s and half court shots, nobody was cheering for him. It was just my voice in the gym! But when he brought out some free gifts, that’s when everybody started clamoring around, swarming him, barely giving him space to move, arms outstretched, twitching like they needed a fix. It kind of sucked.
Cheering for Dame
I really felt bad for him. But he had such an influence over these people. He had such an influence over me! I really wanted to shake his hand, talk to him, get a picture with him.
For those interested, you can watch these 2 videos and see what he was up to in HK.
Then came Francis Chan. My pastor is friends him, so he came to our staff meeting. At the meeting he talked about being obedient to God, happy father’s day texts that made him cry, God making the impossible possible, ditching para-church strategy and just focusing and being with Jesus, and other things. I really clung on to every word. After reading his book Crazy Love, I went on a 5 day fast. I didn’t eat for 5 days! Crazy how these celebrities have so much influence.
Then I think about Jesus. What if he came to Hong Kong, just waltzed right in and word spread quick? Would I behave the same way? This man drove out demons! Healed a woman who couldn’t stop bleeding! Healed a man who was stuck on the ground for 38 years!
I really hope I would. Seeing the way I reacted towards Dame and Francis, I thought, “Damn, why am I not more like that for Jesus?” Jesus does so much more than shoot three pointers. He does so much more than write books. He looks at me for all the flaws I am and loves me. Whereas Francis asked me to repeat my name because he’s never heard “Kiubon” before.
Then there’s the part of me that actually wants to be famous. I make films. I could be a famous director. I just won a fat grant. I have a compelling story to tell. I could use my influence to love people and spread the Gospel. But only after I get applauded on stage for winning a bunch of rewards and really wrestle about when I mention Jesus in the speech.
So being famous is cool. But making Jesus more famous is where it’s at. That’s where I won’t get disappointed. That’s where I find satisfaction. That’s where truth is. It was really cool I got to meet those two people. But it’s even cooler I get to pray to God and talk with him. I get to be with him all the time. He’s always with me. And he’s taking ubers and running around the city just to see me. Wow. In Jesus’ eyes, I am famous! He wants to be with me more than anything else. He’s just waiting to see if I feel the same way.
Today I worked for 90 minutes straight on a documentary that’s been two+ years in the making. That was a huge victory for me. It’s taken forever to find motivation to finish. I have so many better things to do: a common lie in my head.
Soon this phrase will become cliche because of how true it is. Action first. Motivation second. Not the other way around.
I can finish this doc even as I add another doc onto my plate by just chipping away at it every single day.
Gimmie all the glory. I want people to know my name. I want to be cool, admired, liked, praised.
Following this 100k offer, I’ve done so much research on up and coming Asian filmmakers. I can be like them. But better. I didn’t go to a fancy film school. My family is poor. Watch me take this money, make a film that blows your brains out, then I’ll walk on stage with my carefully rehearsed speech to appear humble yet confident. Gimmie the glory.
And then I take a step back and realize, who actually cares? How many dumps do people actually give?
There’s one person I want to please with this film: my dad. If I fail at that, I will suffice for second place.
Maybe this stuff mentioned above will happen. None of it will matter. None of it will have a bearing on my eternity and my true worth. Because the only reason I’m making this film is because of my dad. Everything else gets in the way. I have to continually remind myself, glory is futile. Glory is ephemeral. Glory is dumb.
And when/if my dad finally tells me he loves me and is proud of me, I will accept it and celebrate. But it won’t complete me. Because my true worth is fixed on something greater, eternal, bigger than me.
There’s a boy at the Singapore zoo holding a plush snake his mom just bought for him. It was probably expensive. His mom probably didn’t want to buy it for him. She has bills to pay. But he looks kinda happy. He’s playing with the tail and head, feeding it into each other. But soon he’ll throw it in the corner of his room, replaced with some other toy. And he might dig it up years later, not remembering much about his time at the night Safari, but finding a solid emblem of yes his mother loved him when he was younger.
Here’s what I would do if I got 100k to make a documentary about my dad:
I would immediately reach back out to my VA, scheduling a call to assign him lots of work. I would reach out to a new VA to take up the other half of my work.
I would put $50,000 into a high yield saving account to earn interest while I work on pre and post production.
I would ask my friend Hunter to be my producer.
I would storyboard, write a script, and preproduce as much as I can. I would ask my film mentors for help.
After shooting, I would spend $25,000 for coloring, sound mixing, sound designing, and editing. The rest of the $25,000 would be for marketing and distribution if needed.
Hopefully this film will do well in prestigious film festivals, garnering a name for myself and for the brand.
I would start a company (name already picked) focusing on small crew documentary filmmaking. Selling the films we make would be the main source of income. We wouldn’t get that much at first, so that’s why I have the full time job to fall back on, essentially making me passive income. I would start crews in strategic cities around the world to adopt the brand into their culture to make films. Bangalore, Paris, Rio, Shanghai, Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow, Mexio City, Atlanta, Tehran (of course this would take a long time). As the company scales and grows, more income will come in.
I could also make a company encouraging and empowering regular people to interview their loved ones. The company could be a nonprofit, it could train regular people on basic filmmaking skills, so they could interview the people in their family (like me interviewing my Dad for the feature above). All of these interviews can be compiled into another feature length doc or shown on this company’s platform. It would be boring to random lay people, but fascinating for the people who took the time to interview their loved ones and then everybody in that family and go there to watch. This could also be a podcast.
The company that grants me the $100k would help with accountability, networking, marketing and distribution, entrepreneur training, motivation, and having a platform to promote and publicize.
AI can be used for animation, helping animators with the heavy lifting for the documentaries. AR can be used for the documentary I shot in Europe (shifting with strangers).
Another route with the documentary company is, people can start up their own companies as long as they focus on story and character. And then they would be posted on their respected YT channels and then the big company would repost the really good ones. Just like TEDx and TED.