Saturday, April 29, 2006

"I'm Hungry" - You must be an artist

A House of Cool Character Designer, Robin (Tiger Jeet), created this drawing for one of our original content Feature Film concepts entitled, The Dreaming. I've notice many visitors to our website ( that comment on our artist’s works. Most comments are from other artist which is a great complement of its own.
In life, I have been fortunate to have my personal world coloured by successful and staving (sometimes successfully starving) artists from all creeds. With my girlfriend performing all her life, I’ve cultured my soul with some great stage performances. Even luckier, I have become friends with her “artsy” performers. There is something about knowing the people performing on stage personally that makes the show so much alive. I'm often more entertained by the audiences emotions than I am with the performance itself; The transition of the people no longer becoming an audience but rather immersed in the story is a wonder to witness. Just like knowing the artist that produced the image above, the connection I have with them makes their singing, dancing or drawing the sweetest tasting watermelon. With all the uncertain situations that can come in life, the escape that comes with art patients the skin and drowns out the time.
Art is the reason why we have senses like sight and hearing. Its the best communication wand we have to let people into our worlds and have them feel the changes happening inside.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

House of Cool & My Great Grandpa for a Hundred K

When I was in my early twenties my old man witnessed me struggling with my first entrepreneurial business adventure. Now having a successfully failed business of his very own, I was hoping to get some sound words of encouragement. Some advice on “how to stick with it,” or a metaphor of some tree that has to grow roots before it can grow branches… something uplifting. Instead he says to me, “Son, no one in the Lui family will ever have a successful business because your Great Grandfather is buried in the wrong cemetery.” “Who, what, where?” – Apparently for superstitious Chinese old schooler’s like my pops, we are still having to pay for a two generation mishap. “How much will it cost to bury him in the right cemetery?” “A hundred K.” He said it so nonchalantly like this information was passed down to him and now I have the privilege of knowing so I can pass it down to the next generation… unless, of course, I could pay the $100,000.00… uh, better pass on the secret instead (hope it doesn’t include inflation).

So as I suppressed my entrepreneurial vices, I went through many journeys to see if I could stumble on to anything I would enjoy for decades at a time. I floated from different fields of work from understanding the details of the beauty industry to “dialing for dollars” persuading the rich and wealthy to switch brokerage firms. I even tried my hand at venture capital and managed an area of finance that helped people get back on their feet. I meandered through it all, always thinking, “there’s gotta be more for me.” I was never particularly great at one specific thing and never had dreams of a set career like a dentist or firefighter. I just knew I wanted to play a big part in something greater then myself. I had great mentors and learned colleagues; pay raises and excellent chances of promotions with abstract titles, all the while it didn’t quite fit in the puzzle that was me. Maybe I’m too busy trying to keep up with all the high hopes and pipe dreams.

Then one day House of Cool came; a place focused on dreaming. With more guts then anything else, including knowledge or experience in the entertainment field, I dove in. Armed with only watching cartoons and knowing how to spell Disney correctly in my repertoire, I began to learn. It took a while for House of Cool to get started but eventually creative talents echoed in the exposed brick in the building. It was then I realized everything else before this was a means to an end, just a pit stop to learn and go. House of Cool is a means to a beginning. It’s an idea on a grand scale pledged to entertain the world. Whether we achieve it or not, I want to say I tried. I may not have a definitive skill or ever receive a standing ovation but I believe this is a chance to do something good, something worthwhile.

Now if I can just get my Great Grandfather buried in the right place, maybe House of Cool’s luck will turn around and I can continue to pursue a dream.
You wouldn’t have a hundred K I could borrow? It will be put to good use.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

From being slow to finding faith to being married and having a child: WTF?

Watching my sister grow up struggling in many school subjects, being preached like many Chinese kids that they have to do better; I understood the pain and relief she must have felt when she found out that she had a learning disability. It has to be most discomforting to be constantly wondering why everyone seems to be learning faster and seemingly always trying to catch up. It pleased me to know she made it through college but stressed me to watch her study at 6:30 in the morning and not return until 2:00am the next day. This was her daily routine. She worked harder then anyone I knew at the time just to get near failing grades. Ultimately these were her steps to independence which deep down inside I always viewed it as an acute misleading detail in her life. I never believed she could truly be independent with the assortment of personal disabilities.
A few years back, I was home for dinner and noticed my sister closing her eyes and whispering something to herself. “What the Hell are you doin?” “Mom, Dad, Wes, I’m a Mormon now.” For a family that never practiced, preached or even seen the inside of a church in years past our memories, this was a disaster. Not only does my sister have a few mental disabilities but now she’s got split personalities. “Melissa, are you there? Where are you?” This was a common thought in my head. Out of all the faiths to choose from, she chooses the most strict, to the book, you better not swear and don’t you dare drink that beer and oh yeah, give me 10% of your earnings each pay religions. My sister asked me to stay at my place in Toronto for 2 weeks to find a job; 7 months later she was still there… If anyone is getting 10%, it should be ME! At the time, it was clear that I objected the idea of her choosing such a turn in faith.
As time grew on, I had to admit the church gave her strength and courage to believe strongly in herself; an acceptable trade off for the preaching’s and Mormon Chinese bible I got for Christmas I guess. At least I knew she wasn’t having sex before marriage. Oh wait… “I’m getting married… in a few months.” This was last years surprise surprise. The truth is, my parents and myself needed a long time to accept the love of her life; they’ve been going out for 6 or 7 years and that still wasn’t long enough for us to fully digest, so when marriage arose after the religion episode… lets just say time needed a lot of understanding and tenderness.
Flash forward… “Hi Wes, it’s Melissa…. You know... your sister. Nate (Mormon husband) has something to tell you.” “Hi Wes, it’s Nate…. You know... your brother-in-law that plans to change his last name to yours (seriously, he is going to take on our family's last name). Uh, We just wanted to tell you that you are going to be a proud new UNCLE!”
Paralyzed in thought, I think my response was, “a Chinese Mormon baby?” Now that’s mixed up s*&#.
Given a day to really think about it, my sister has gone a long way from being totally dependent to semi-independent to holy shit, I think she can really survive on her own.
You’ve got courage sis’! I’m happy for you and I’ll be there for ya’ always.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Finding Hope…

At my worst moments, I seem to always use Hope as if it were a common necessity I could find at the local convenience store. While it’s more like a free sample you can grab at Costco, sometimes I wish I could buy it so I know Hope has an obligation to me; it knows it has to pay up when the time comes. Of course it doesn’t and many times Hope makes you wait… and wait some more. So why do we all have it or better yet, need it? I think it all has to do with possibilities. The infinite ways we try to make our personal world better and hope they come true in reality or the times when there are no ways, no paths and all we can do is hope for the best. Sometimes hope is all we have… but its better then having doubt.

I hope this whole thing all works out.