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  • Listening to: J.COLE: SIDELINE STORY
  • Playing: POSSUM
  • Drinking: WATER (gotta wash 'em down!)
About roughly two years ago,  I made an announcement that would most undoubtedly change my life forever:…

Actually, It was exactly 2 years ago on this date of the 22nd of September that i first arrived in my tiny, empty apartment in Geum Cheon-gu-Gasan Dong, in Seoul, South Korea. Aside from Hyeong-Seung Kim ( who was working as a producer on Season 3 of The Boondocks there) and my patient and amazing, JM studio producer at the time, Erin Kim (who helped set everything up, from me getting my paper work for 7, arduous months of Korean beaurocracy, to apartment set-up, location and arrival at Daerim Station to pick me up), I knew virtually no one. Not a one. And since it was my first time seeing South Korea, I didn't know my surroundings. Didn't know a lick of Korean. And secretly, as excited and full of adrenaline i was to be there that day, behind it all...

I was terrified.

I had no clue how i'd start, how i'd be embraced and moreso, how i'd fit in. It was a ballsy career move, Not only for me, in deciding to QUIT my comfy job at Warner Bros animation studio & carve out my own lane, but a ballsy business move by JM President Mee Joung, who saw value in hiring a foreign talent individually without the support of a major studio or network funding it. It all made no sense, technically...

That's why it worked. ;-)

I started at JM ANIMATION STUDIOS here in Seoul, who were responsible for work on some of my favorite American and Japanese animated projects like: Avatar: The Last Air Bender, Wonderful Days, Fist of the North Star, Noein, Macross Zero, Hellsing, Count of Monte Cristo, and produced Season 3 of the Peabody Award-winning series "The Boondocks."   I worked on several projects, including devlopment of an original animated series idea. As time went on, things changed and many of the staff formed a new studio , STUDIO MIR, who is currently producing the mind-bending ( no pun intended), much-anticipated animated series, THE LAST AIRBENDER: THE LEGEND OF KORRA, in which I was MIR staff as part of the story team as well as assisting in animation production. It was an honor, to say the least. A year later, I eventually moved on as producer for a couple more projects with MOI animation.

"You must be willing to do what others won't, to achieve what others don't." I believe that. I truly do.

My quest to move to Korea just to make the transition from resident unknown, to becoming a known name amongst the top Korean animation greats and bosses while simultaneously learning the ins and outs of outsourced animation production process was nothing short of unreasonable logic to many back home. I've always had that problem, however...being unreasonable. Reasonable logic might have swayed my hand and convince me to stay comfy and secure back home i believe, and dammit if during the snags and cultural shocks i encountered here didn't make me want to reconsider, pack it up and turn tail back to Hollywood!! But as my final month here creeps around the corner, I realize now more than ever that sticking it out and staying focused was the right thing to do. Going from the feeling of outside doubt, uncertainty and obscure fear, to owning the moment, creating your own luck and making your ideas realities that others can touch provides a sense of accomplishment i wouldnt trade for anything and i wish the feeling on all of you out there who have a dream.

I've got several exciting things that i've been involved with over the last 2 years coming down the pipe at the moment and cannot wait until you all get to see what's been cooking. Many of you already have already seen trailers for some of them and will fully see as soon as next year.  I can say that I'm glad i took the risk and that it's paid off in so many ways. I'd like to thank everyone I've met here in Seoul during my short stay here. All the great, new buddies i've encountered, my "Hyeongs" at MIR, MOI and DONG WOO, through whom i've grown exponentially with their guidance and patience, teaching me tricks and skills i would have never learned otherwise had i stayed in the states.

I'd like to also thank, again, those who have supported me abroad and stateside. Those who've forced me to better myself, force me to think more, challenge & attempt to exceed my expectations, being prolific, step outside my comfort zones and told me when my shit stunk. I deeply thank you. Also, a big thanks to you folks here on DA for the interest in my wacky musings and to my family and friends so far away back home, I love ya!

In closing, I truly hope this shows--however big or small a scale--that it's possible, regardless of your ethnic or cultural background, that hard work, drive, focus and unwavered resolve shows through your craft enough  to be given a chance. I've done it here so there are no excuses.

I'll be returning to Cali next month, revived, refreshed and seasoned ( kimchi style, baby!) with some awesome news.

Stay up and make room for your dreams.

- LeS
Add a Comment:
zkzkan Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2011
bwaaaa I think I'm about to cry! I was gonna go to Korea and have a job there in the studio in about a year or two but since you're going back I have no reason to go to Korea anymo!!! D:
Viethra-Schepherd Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2011
You're what inspired me to move in order to get into animation. You showed me, it was possible. Thank you.
soliton Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011  Professional General Artist
You the man, man.
filthyrich Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011
Let me know if you make it out to NYC pal!
Princess-Mimi Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Ooops, missed out a word there. that's 'decrease your horizons". Always freaking do that.
Princess-Mimi Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
I did that (moved to a foreign country) at the age of six. Trust me, knowing the language, while it might be a plus, doesn't make the culture shock impact less. Traveling and being the odd person out makes you more aware of yourself as an individual, makes you more aware of your identity. You grow, because by experiencing other cultures and schools of thought, you're forced to reevaluate what you know and readjust your standards to fit yourself and the world around you. I've been lucky enough to travel a bit and experience other cultures. There are only 2 main outcomes when you leave your comfort zone, it can make you want to decrease your so that things are less complicated and frightening, or you do the opposite. I personally, adore traveling, someday I'm going to move to the far east and go nuts! XD
3dark7 Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're a true inspiration, I wish you the best in all you do!:D
Core-Point Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
"You must be willing to do what others won't, to achieve what others don't." is this an original quote? well its great whatever the case.

Your awesome.
Spryt07 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011
Wow, I just saw History unfold on my Deviant art updates, Great work sir and God go with you....
Leonidas666 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1pez Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011
congratulations! and for what it's worth, you keep making want to succeed. Thanks for that ^__^
JECOLEUK Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011  Professional Artist
Good for you, brother. You're shining light for the rest of us. NEVER, EVER stop chasing your dreams.
4DLink Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2011
You, sir, are a boss.
Reading what you've said made me think of this song. I'd recommend anyone give it a listen.
Fort Mindor - Be Somebody [link]
Arcturion Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011
Great read, and very inspirational! My own time here in South Korea is almost over as well (my career path is a different business though XD) and I'll be returning to the States shortly after the New Year. But I definitely feel that I've learned a lot and grown during my short stay in the ROK (Republic of Korea). Good luck in all of our future endeavors, man!
biyutefulphlower Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011  Student Writer
Wow, I've been reading so many things that have inspired me with week, and this is definitely at the top of the list!!
shtl Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Priceless experience. You had Bollocks to follow your path man, respect!
Can't wait to see what you''l make with all this man!

keep good shit up!
twistedwinds Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I wish I could save this, somehow, in a folder called, "Successful examples of hard work." Often times its so easy for me to get disillusioned and seeing how far people travel based just on their efforts, its really commendable... and inspiring!

Props to you! :D
SeanPCorwin Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
You are an inspiration, man.
JCLF88 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
Thanks for the inspiration KiD.>. Much love >>>Good luck with the Future
Osz7 Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
Thank you for sharing all this with us. Plz, update your Youtube channel when you have time. I really hope you have a Flickr account to upload your photos to so we can enjoy your stay in South Korea, as well.
LuisPuig Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011  Professional General Artist
Great message man. Thanks for taking the time to share that with us.
Andres-Blanco Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2011
thanks for inspiring too much people to pursuit their dreams,
honestly, i'm terrible small right now, but this type of things always remember you how much we have to work to grow up.

angelmizuya Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
seriously man, thank you for sharing this. it's a really inspiring story you've shared and it's giving me encouragement to stick it out in my own personal endeavors with my own moves and transitions here in california. it's definitely a bigger pond than wisconsin, but it's not the less still just a stepping stone to where i want to be: japan.

thank you for sharing that, sticking it out, thick and thin, and having courage and persistence will pay off in the long run.

i wish you the best of luck in your last month in korea, i'm sure it was really fun and life-changing and i definitely look forward to seeing what you will come up with when you come back stateside. definitely will keeping watching you on dA~~ (^^)
captkiro Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
can't wait dude. wanna see what plans you have in store now when you come back to cali.
kaicastle Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional General Artist
Gee, that's so.. inspiring man! I read this twice :)
o137o Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
welcome back to California big homie! And thank you very much for sharing this.
Madpenciler Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Wow fam u did it congratz..u def livn d dream bronx all dayyyy!!!
Yaky-Urane Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
dude you are one great source of inspiration..its really great 2 years of hard work... shit man.. GOOD JOB... KEEP IT ILL
SaigoNakisage Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Now i have a great example to follow my own dreams! Wishing you all the best, meyn XD
Silveraxe Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you for writing this and sharing with us. It's truly inspiring, and shows us how much our fears get in our way of achieving our passions.
Thanks and have a safe trip!
Chopichu132 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Thank you for this, I needed this. I'm going to make broader moves toward my future.
JamrocKid Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional General Artist
you only live once, right? sounds like you're making the most of it =) Keep it up man!
Inkthinker Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I look forward to seeing what you've got next. Bring it on home.
JunBowman Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Student General Artist
Inspiration at it's finest.
pepperedcat Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Truly inspiring~!
you're the man.
albieart Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Great inspiration come from blazing the trail for others to follow. Keep being that inspiration. Can't wait for Black Dynamite!!!!!!
joverine Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional General Artist
Great journal entry man!

This is similar to how I felt about my 2month gig in Hong Kong earlier this year. So many growth experiences that simply cannot happen without a leap of faith. Running towards and eventually blasting through your fears is the only way!

Congrats man and thanks for this write up :)

Can't wait to see what you have cookin!
Poetron Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
That's what I'm talkin about, just keep doin your thing man.
KonekoRyu Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011   General Artist
ah... to work at a place you love. how long did it take for you to actually get started in moving to korea, did life ever delay your plans at all?

(speaking from what I'm going through at the moment)
SethKearsley Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional Filmographer
stoked for you. Let's grab a beer when you're back! I'm sure we can find Hite somewhere.
MichaelCrichlow Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
Much respect, man. Truly. :thumbsup:
TedKimArt Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
축하합니다 chuka hamnida LeSean!
Alamus Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thats pretty awesome dude.

Pretty damn awesome.
newtman001 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional General Artist
We don't know each other, but I am happy for you and PROUD of you. You've done what I've never had the courage to do, and done it well. I hope that mutual friends here will allow us to finally meet face to face; I have a million questions for you. Not just about work and life in Korea and Asia, but about the courage and conviction to follow your dreams regardless of where they may take you. What you've done is a real profile in courage.

You're obviously a talented and determined man. I need more of that in my own life, and I hope you can share some of yours. Welcome back to America, and I look forward to meeting you.
basicnoir Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011
You inspire me in a lot of ways and that move was, awe inspiring, your boldness and commitment just adds to the quality of your work itself. Thank you and good luck in Cali, I know more awesome things are in the wind. :)
SkyWheel Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Student Filmographer
It's been awesome following your journey from America to Korea and learning about the whole process of a studio there. I'll miss hearing about Korea, but can't wait to see what else is in store for you! Keep us updated, haha.

Congrats on all that you've done in these two years. :) You're a huge inspiration!

on a side-note, How much Korean have you learned during your stay there? I was wondering if the language barrier was really problematic for you and if being immersed in the language helped you learn a lot of it. : 0
ide-e Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
beautiful! no matter what i think all west part of the world people should visit Asia sometimes, there is so much to learn in every way...
Pltnm06Ghost Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Professional General Artist
...Wisdom :iconmanlytearsplz:
Kurotoboe Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Student Digital Artist
I just shed a tear. :)
geoffreydean Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, buddy. Come back home!
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