Artist Affirmation: I am a creator. / by Kai Chuan

180428_aa_creator.jpg

Today, April 28, it has been one month since the initial launch of Two Feet Studios. That’s so incredible to me. I can’t believe how quickly the time flew by. I want to thank everyone — those reading this, supporting us, and creating with us. And I want to thank you all in advance as I take some time to share what’s been on my mind lately.


I have always been a creator.

It’s in my blood; it’s what gives me a sense of fulfillment. In school and even as early as elementary grades, I loved to give presentations. I made animations and comics on Powerpoint and loopholed them into being book reports and other class presentations. There were elaborate, timed animations to those performances — yes, performances. I printed full-color, illustrated and designed reports and projects because it made the work more enjoyable (and honestly, proved to be a great distraction from where my other content lacked). I created my own graphics and assets because I needed to realize my vision. I put so much effort into creating these projects to the very last day of senior year. They meant something to me. Creating work that delighted people made the work fulfilling. It’s a great feeling when friends now bring up projects from then that easily could have been lost in memory. I don’t even care if they remember the more embarrassing ones. They remembered.

I was in theatre all four years of high school. I started backstage, building and working sets. I did this comfortably for a couple productions. Then, an accidental audition brought me my first part on stage. I was only trying to read lines opposite a friend in need at their audition, but it unexpectedly became our audition. From then, I shifted from backstage to on-stage. I even directed a few plays and a musical. I loved all of it, but most importantly, feeling like I was a part of a community of impassioned creators like me.

When the age of YouTube emerged (the first, true rise of YouTube), I felt its pull. In high school, I always wanted to post videos, but I stuck with producing them for school instead. I made tons of videos for administrators to use, for extracurricular teams to celebrate a season, for student groups to record their work. My video-making even expanded to help a shopping mall in LA produce marketing videos on several occasions.

Ironically, my affinity for visual art was not always clear and present in my career goals in high school. I contemplated becoming an elementary school teacher, a psychologist, a roller coaster engineer (for Disneyland particularly). I don’t quite remember what specifically changed my perspective to pursue film. I know Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho had an impact, as well as Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (duh). I remember deciding to watch a lot of films — even ones I’d never even considered to watch — after school and almost daily. Fast-forward and suddenly, I was accepted and on my way to NYU.

I was thrilled. To spend nearly all my time at school creating was new! I did a lot and tried a lot. I even started that YouTube channel I had always dreamt of producing. That was fulfilling. Though, I only posted five videos before school obligations caught up to me. With school, I felt like I was gaining so much knowledge and confidence in filmmaking, but my growth really remained horizontal. All the new things I did and tried were film things. I definitely buffed my skills in the craft and learned to be a more effective storyteller. But my sense of fulfillment and interest dropped as time went on. Graduating a year early was a blessing as it led me to break out from this creative confinement.

The work I took on outside of academics served as an escape and outlet that provided creative independence. At these internships, I had a refreshing freedom in working on different and unique projects. One internship led to full-time work right out of school — a dream for any millennial post-grad, and even more so for myself, as the work was what had offered me a sense of fulfillment when school could not. I hustled and worked hard at it for almost a year. And again, the skills and experiences I took away — this time, in producing — were invaluable.

By the end of 2017, I had grown further into maturity than I ever had in a year. I felt older already in the months after school. I had time too. More time and space to really consider what I want to do — more broadly, what I want to do with my life.

And I’m still thinking about it now. I don’t think I’ll ever stop. It’s one of those things that grows with you, making the present all the more valuable.

Just a few days ago, I watched my YouTube videos for the first time since posting them in 2015. I was fully ready for the cringe-fest it was going to be. But honestly, I was truly captivated. I smiled. I made those videos in 2015 with the intention of inspiring and delighting others. I definitely might have done so, but what I didn’t expect was to do just that for myself as well. I’m amazed at the person I watched in those videos. He was fun and kind of charming. That “he” feels like such a different person from who I am now. To others, the difference might not be noticeable at all — I could be the same person then and now to you. But to me, it’s hard to feel like I came from that person. In some ways, I definitely feel more genuinely me. I am undoubtedly more grounded now than I was before. But in other respects, I feel like I’m missing out on that old me.

I want to create again and to be happy like that again, in addition to all the ways I’m happy now.

That’s why I started Two Feet Studios with Easton* — as a way for us to create the things we want to create. I’ve grown up in so many ways since those YouTube videos and since those Powerpoint comics. And I’ve discovered new parts of me: I’m interested in helping others create and creating to help others through personal, meaningful stories. This is what I want to do. And this is what I’m trying to do.

Two Feet Studios might have been a hasty endeavor, but I started it and here we are. It might not have existed otherwise. Two Feet Studios is not yet fruitful, but to think it would be from the outset is also unrealistic. This endeavor might paint me blind or stubborn or whatever, but I don’t think I can accept any other fate than one where I’m just creating. If I fall or if it never works out, that’s fine. I’m not afraid of failing — that’s something I’ve taken away from all my experience. It’s giving up that I fear.


I guess I express all of this for multiple reasons.

First, I am doing so to record this moment for myself and to parse through my own thoughts as I write, read, rewrite, and reread this.

Second, I am doing so to share all this with you. I want my past, present, and future collaborators to know where I come from. I want you all to know that my passion is creating — that my mindset with Two Feet Studios can get muddied, but this is who I am at my core. I want to clarify — for myself, more than anyone — that Two Feet Studios requires a shift. A small adjustment from business and clerical to passionate and free. A return to creating at the foreground, not as an incidental tool.

Two Feet Studios serves two purposes: as a community for artists to come together to collaborate and celebrate with one another, and consequently, as a platform for Easton and I to create the things we want to create.

Finally, I express all of this to introduce my consideration of bringing Two Feet Studios to YouTube and Patreon. I want to share my thoughts, my life, and my art through video again. Maybe it will reignite some of that Kai from 2015. Easton is even excited to give it a try. He confessed he’s always wanted to try making videos — high-school me smiled. As for Patreon, I know it’s a unique consideration of its own. I’ll admit it feels like a leap to me too. I have so many questions. But paving the path for Two Feet Studios has been just the same. And I’m not afraid of failure anyway, only of giving up. Patreon could be an opportunity to create and work freely, open doors.

So that’s all. Keep an eye out for our first YouTube video. And maybe a Patreon page too. We’ll let you know.

Thank you so much for making it all the way through this blog post. Cheers to our first month and many more to come with Two Feet Studios.

Your friend,
Kai

 

*Two Feet Studios is and always will be a joint endeavor between Easton and me. I want to clarify that this letter only shares my individual thoughts and motives. I hope we can all learn something from my process in overcoming this creative block. Perhaps in the future, others can write letters to themselves of experiences regarding their creative process to share here on the blog too.