Davy Liu - former Disney animator Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast

Ep 99: Life of a Former Disney #LionKing #Mulan #BeautyAndtheBeast Animator | Davy Liu (Former Disney Animator & Founder, Kendu Films)

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Welcome to Episode 99!

STIMY Episode 99 features Davy Liu.

Davy Liu is a former Disney animator who’s worked on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan, Atlantis and Star Wars, and is the founder of Kendu Films.

Given Davy’s illustrious career, you would’ve thought that he’s had a smooth career trajectory but that’s hardly the case.

In this episode, we talk all about Davy carving out a career he loved, what it was like working at Disney, the art of storytelling, why he left his cushy 6-figure job and faced years of panic attacks, divorce, and no money left to support himself, and how his faith guided him to founding Kendu Films.


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    Who is Davy Liu?

    Davy Liu is a self-described Chinese Forrest Gump.

    He struggled while growing up in Taiwan, where everyone was expected to score straight As but he just couldn’t. 

    Instead, he had the gift of drawing straight lines. And being an artist was not on the cards.

    • 2:34 Being “dead” in his mother’s womb for 10 days
    • 5:03 Being dumber than Forrest Gump
    I just could not survive. According to Taiwanese educations, I was dumber than Forrest Gump. I just couldn't study.
    Davy Liu - former Disney animator Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast
    Davy Liu
    Former Disney animator & Founder of Kendu Films

    You Kendu It

    When he later moved to the US, he was placed in an all-black school (everyone thought he was Bruce Lee!). 

    While there, Poppy Kincaid, his 8th grade art teacher, transformed his life. Telling him that “he could do it”.

    He ended up going to art school (then dropping out when he realised fine arts wasn’t for him), and had to apply 4 times to get into Disney!!

    • 6:37 Moving to an all-black school in Florida
    • 8:22 How Poppy Kincaid, his 8th grade art teacher, changed his life
    • 13:17 Dropping out of fine arts
    • 16:02 Seeing himself as an artist
    • 17:21 Nearly drowning
    Davy Liu - former Disney animator Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast
    The drawing that Davy Liu did which resulted in him winning the Top 20 in entire USA in middle school

    Working at Disney

    Davy shares what it was like working at Disney, including on some of the most iconic Disney animation films of that era. As well as the art of storytelling and how Disney  didn’t teach them to draw cartoon characters – instead, they were taught how to make the best commercials!

    • 21:58 Applying to Disney
    • 23:22 Working at Disney
    • 26:07 Disney animation films take 4 years to complete – here’s why
    • 29:53 Pushing boundaries v generating revenue
    • 32:59 What makes a good story?
    • 34:11 No one wanted to work on The Lion King!
    • 35:27 Disney doesn’t teach you to draw cartoon characters; it teaches you to make the best commercials
    • 39:31 Working on Mulan
    • 41:05 The backstory to Mushu the Dragon
    • 42:20 How to make Asians more creative?
    Davy Liu - former Disney animator Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast

    Founding Kendu Films 

    After 5 years at Disney, Davy decided to quit his cushy 6-figure job.

    However, this was followed immediately by 2-3 years of some of his darkest periods, where he went through severe anxiety, lost all his money and also had a divorce.

    Davy shares how he got through that dark period, why he founded Kendu Films and what he hopes to achieve moving forward. 

    • 46:15 Entering a dark period after quitting Disney
    • 49:16 Feeling that God had abandoned him
    • 50:49 Vision behind Kendu Films
    • 51:25 Power of telling stories from an animal’s perspective
    • 55:28 What’s next?

    If you’re looking for more inspirational stories, check out:

    • Red Hong Yi: Artist who paints without a paintbrush. She has worked with Jackie Chan, Google, Facebook & Nespresso. Her artwork was featured at the World Economic Forum & more recently on TIME Magazine’s 26 April special issue on climate change
    • Yulia Brodskaya: Paper quilling artist who’s worked and sold collections to Oprah, the Guardian, Issey Miyake, Wimbledon
    • Lauren Hom: Hand lettering artist, illustrator & designer with a knack for viral marketing campaigns
    • Richard Lui: MSNBC & NBC News TV Anchor, and Peabody & Emmy award winner

    If you enjoyed this episode with Davy, you can: 

    Leave a Review

    If you enjoy listening to the podcast, we’d love for you to leave a review on iTunes / Apple Podcasts. The link works even if you aren’t on an iPhone. 😉


    If you’d like to support STIMY as a patron, you can visit STIMY’s Patreon page here

    External Links

    Some of the things we talked about in this STIMY Episode can be found below:

    Davy Liu - former Disney animator Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast

    STIMY Ep 99: Davy Liu (Former Disney Animator + Founder, Kendu Films)

    Davy Liu: I remember going to Disney's internship the first day. They told us that we're not here to teach you how to draw a cartoon character. We're here to teach you to make the best commercials there is ever born.

    Why commercial? Yeah, the biggest ever advertising, it's called animations. Why? Because they have a whole slate of industry after animations. Isn't that amazing? When they make this animated film, they recognize after that animated film, there is followings of fans that will want to buy, not just movie tickets.

    They want to buy toys. They want to buy your experience. They want to go to theme park. They want to experience what Simba experience. So for us, as an animator, when we go to Africa, we want to take that experience and that kind of journey for every kid or every big kid that wants to see this film.

    And they wanted experience it over and over again.

    Ling Yah: Hey everyone. Welcome to episode 99 of the So This Is My Why podcast. I'm your host and producer, Ling Yah, and today's guest is Davy Liu. Now Davy has a really inspiring story. He's a self-described Chinese Forrest Gump who says that God didn't give him the gift of getting straight As, but did give him a gift of drawing straight lines.

    His struggle in his childhood to find his place, especially growing up in Taiwan where he was expected to score straight As, but he couldn't. And when he moved to the US he ended up in an old black school. But one art teacher transformed his life, telling him that he could do it, and he ended up being a Disney animator after four tries and has worked on films that you will have heard of like Beauty and the Beast, lion King, Aladin, Mullan, Atlantis, and Star Wars.

    Do you remember General Shang from Mulan? General Shang was actually drawn based off David. The likeness is uncanny.

    this episode, we talk all about what it was like working at Disney, the art of storytelling, why he left his cushy Disney six figure.

    And faced years of panic attack, divorce, and no money left to support him and how his faith guided him to founding Kendu film. It's a fantastic episode that you don't wanna miss.

    So are you ready?

    Let's go.

    You had a dramatic birth story. You were actually 10 days dead with no heartbeat in your mother's womb. What happened there?

    Davy Liu: My dad has a very famous journal in Taiwan.

    On August 14th, 1968, that day, short paragraph says a baby resurrected from the dead. My dad always reminds me what happened when I was a child.

    I guess I didn't want to come out. And then, the doctor continued to observe and eventually I did not come out and the heartbeat stopped. That kept going on over a week.

    Then the doctor says, that's it, you know, after past 10 days. They have shot many needles to flush this dead tissues out. But then finally they're gonna do C-section and surgeries. My dad is a man of faith. He believes that God can change His mind because he himself also experienced something.

    Dr. said he only had TB. in 1950 something and no cure, and God cured him. He's 96 today flying over the world, still running his business. So our life, our family has experienced something that's really extraordinary. And then, so the day that they're gonna do C- sections here I am. I came out. My dad told a doctor, listen, try one more time, just be sure this baby is dead. Or maybe God change his mind.

    I guess God changed his mind. The doctor listened to it. The heartbeat came back very softly, but the doctor says this kid's gonna borned dumb. It's gonna have a problem because they injected a lot of medication into this baby's brain. So the doctors think this baby's gonna born with complications. With all kinds of physical, mental problems.

    So anyhow, here I am. I was born. Luckily I didn't turn out to be like Forrest Gump, but I can say I was like Forrest Gump in Taiwan growing up.

    Ling Yah: You mentioned a lot about your dad and I noticed in my research, you also referred to your dad a lot. He was a renowned baker. He ran this 蘋果麵包 place.

    Yes, sir. And he sounds like he really influenced you greatly. Yeah. I mean, in what way would you say?

    Davy Liu: It's 55 years now he's been doing this apple bread. He invented apple bread before Steve invented Apple computer in 1970. He invented in 1963.

    Anyway, he loves people. He cares about people. Everything he does is about people. So I grew up Every time I see my dad, he is always selling bread. And then at the end, he would always pray for people. I don't know what it is. I wasn't sure if he was selling bread or selling Jesus.

    Every time you buy bread from Mr. Lou, you always get prayer from him. So I always knew that there's something extraordinary behind my dad's life. He's more passionate about this guy that loves him instead of his business.

    Ling Yah: And what was it like for you growing up, the youngest of seven kids. You were in Taiwan I imagine such an Asian context, be doctor, lawyer, engineer, get straight As.

    I have a feeling that wasn't you.

    Davy Liu: If you grew up in Taiwan, you go to school system, right? You get thrown in this Olympic gold medal race.

    Everybody's racing for gold medal. You gotta be number one. Anything besides number one, you're nothing.

    My mom bought into this. So me and my sister and my brother and everybody get into this rat race of just, you compete, bring the best tutoring study study study, go to school seven days a week.

    I just could not survive. According to Taiwanese educations, I was dumber than Forrest Gump. I just couldn't study.

    They didn't have the word ADHD at that time, I mean, I could not focus because the Chinese writing in the books, there's no pictures, but I see pictures, right.

    Because Chinese, the kanjis and the ink and stuff like that. To me, it's like a perfect QR code. I see pictures every page. But then when I'm sitting there, I'm not paying attention. The teacher would throw chalks at me. And The people the school will laugh at me.

    Student will laugh at me cuz I'm nicknamed is called the clown. Cuz every time I see pictures in the text, I start drawing pictures, I start connecting the dots.

    I start draw the Confucius. He's too serious. I turn him into an iron robot or something.

    I didn't feel like I fitted in Taiwan, but what are you gonna do? I face bamboo sticks with my teacher and I come home I have to face my mum's bamboo sticks. My mom is born same year as Bruce Lee.

    So she is a year of the dragon. I always say my mom's superior tiger mom. It's more like a dragon mom. She is tough.

    Ling Yah: I imagine growing up in that kind environment. You have felt as though you have questioned where your place was in the world and you were still really young age 13 when you moved to Florida.

    So you went from this old Chinese environment to this old black ghetto American middle school. That's what I, and you couldn't even speak English. What was that like? There must have been really hard.

    Davy Liu: Yeah. I barely memorized. I wasn't sure the alphabet was 26 or 25. I just remember I can, so ABC after pass o, I can memorize. But then I show up in America and my mom always have a way of explaining everything.

    My mom says, I know your English is not good. Just say yes to everything. So I showed up in Orlando, Florida, right? Orlando, Florida. And then I'm the first Taiwanese kid landed in an all black school.

    I thought going to America, but I showed up I thought I was in Africa. I mean, it was all black kids and every black kid has never seen a Chinese kid.

    I struggled. I can't understand what they're saying cuz the English that I learned in school is different than this black English.

    So long story short, they never seen a Chinese guy. They thought I look like Bruce Lee, so they eventually wanna challenge me for a fight. They asked me, I know Kung Fu. I said, yes, what colors a bell? I said black, because in middle schools, leather belt's all black. How many degrees I counted? I count how many hole I have in my belt. It's you know, I'm eight degree black bell.

    So ever since then I told these black kids, they never mess with me. Then I hurry up and my father shipped me up numb checks because I barely know who Bruce Lee is and I started dress like him, look like him.

    That's how he could protect himself. You know. You guys ever heard my TED talk years ago. Some guys heard my stories and they love the inspirational of Taiwanese family. Go to Orlando And then there's a TV show called fresh off the boat was inspired by my immigrations.

    Ling Yah: I imagine people thought you were Bruce Lee. You were not Bruce Lee. But then I heard that your eighth grade teacher, Poppy Kincaid ,who really transformed your life. Allowed you to figure out what you wanted to do. So what was her role in your life?

    Davy Liu: Well, that is the turning point of my life. In Taiwan, every day I face test paper. Everything has only one answer.

    Then I went America, my art teacher gave me a piece of paper that's all white. There was no underscore. There is no perfect answer.

    She gave me this piece of paper and she said, Davy, I heard you love to draw. She said, you can do it. Oh man.

    That word was so powerful. I didn't want to let her down.

    So I went home. I took my homework assignment. She wanted me to draw something, represent Chinese. So I drew a Chinese dragon and I give it to her as a homework. And that drawing became top point in the whole United States in 1982. That became a sensation to my family and everybody else.

    Because I am the biggest loser in Taiwan. Then I came to America and with this Chinese dragon drawing, because she believed in me and I want to show her that, yes, I can do it.

    All that time my mom want me to be this doctor, lawyer. I use this metaphor. I say, Hey, you know, God my mom want me to be a bee, a cricket. I'm a Firefly. I might look like an insect, but I have a different purpose.

    I can't make straight As, but I can draw straight lines. So that's what I talk about. I talk about finding your gift, man. Don't imitate. Don't like oh, I wish I could be so and so. No, there's all of us.

    We all have a unique gift. I hope every kid or every parents beginning when your children is young, start believing that they can do it. Don't put them into a box says well you're at. so and so therefore, someday you're gonna be known No, give them empty piece of paper. Okay. Mentally and just allow them to find who they are.

    Yes, they still gotta study. Yes, they gotta do their, chores. But allow them to discover who they are. Are they a bee, butterfly, cricket or Firefly.

    Ling Yah: It's one thing to find your gift though and another thing to make it what you do with your life. At the time with poppy, did you figure out and think that this is what I'm gonna do with my life?

    And were your parents accepting of it?

    Davy Liu: I didn't think about making a living, but I do know my mom told me, Hey uh, it's nice that you won awards and drawings, but that's a hobby, right? Nobody take artists a career.

    Haven't you heard a starving artist. I mean, my uncle, everybody, my relatives in Florida tells me, don't do art man.

    Go pursue something, like a real skills. All right. Drawing. It's not a real skill. Yeah. I have all this. I don't wanna say negativity. They love me. They just want to protect me. I understand

    A firefly, man. That's all I can do is shine. All right. I mean, that's all I can do is shine. I can't get honey. I can't play music.

    The only way that I could be happy. And when I say happy, meaning that's what I'm good at. And I dream about it. I just love art. And then I remember going to libraries still couldn't understand English, but I could understand pictures. And then like when I came to America, the libraries, I saw Michael Angelo.

    I mean, I was like, wow, Michael Angelo. He was my hero. I mean, I saw everything he does. I love drawing. And then especially when I was, you know, 13, 14, I love drawing nudes. I just love Michael Angelo. And then my mom was worried about me going to the library and checking out Playboys. You know, it was just struggling, trying to become an artist, but to me it's not possible cause my mom just doesn't think that's a real career.

    Ling Yah: Apart from obviously your well-intentioned parents, your relatives who were very concerned with your love of art. I noticed that in high school you were the art school president. So is it safe to say you also have peers who actually also love art and they would have encouraged you along this path in spite of all the negativity?

    Davy Liu: Yeah. In high school, I drop off the art class real quick, cuz it wasn't serious. Art class in high school was a joke. It was more like a daycare art class. So I, start turning it upside down. I start becoming the president. I start leading the art.

    I want people to really know what art is. Art is not just taking the art course. I mean, you just sit there and do the basic. Art is really study the art history and beauty of where the beautiful art comes. So yeah, became a yearbook club. I drew all the faculties.

    I just love art. I was very focused. I didn't know what school I was going to. I didn't know what I was gonna do, but you know, one thing I love is I have this curiosity of this staying stupid and staying hungry, and I just love art.

    Anytime I can get a book, studying about art. I just wanna learn, even though I couldn't understand English, but I could see the picture and I could see the variety of different artists in the last few century that human has tried.

    So I kind of pretty much self learn. I started copying at home. That's what you do when you're amateur, you just kind of copy and, and looking at it. And I even look at some of the Chinese paintings, but I was just so into European art.

    That was my favourite.

    Ling Yah: For you to have loved art so much to make it your life essentially out of school, what was it like to go on a scholarship to Atlanta college of art and realize that actually abstract art wasn't for you and you had to switch and find yourself. There must have been a really difficult period.

    Davy Liu: Yeah. It's quite confusing. You think all our school are the same. No, all our school is not created equal. So when I went to art school, nobody told me, but later on, I found out that if you go to art school, only less than 3% actually could become a real professional. So the 97% end up paying debts.

    If you going to pursue art, you've gone to be passionate. This is not like just getting a degree. So when I went to art school in Atlanta college of art , in the first year, I noticed all my classmates, they all have like rainbow hair in the eighties.

    They all look like punk rock. Everybody all look like an artist, but I'm the only guy kind of look like just a regular engineer guy.

    I don't have holes, no tattoo. I don't smoke. I don't do drugs. I just go to class and I just wanna learn about art . and I, notice one semester going to it, I'm going like, oh my gosh, everybody's doing the abstract stuff in the first year.

    They really don't understand and learn how to do the basic foundation of drawings. Every kid dreamed about becoming the next Picasso and Andy Warhol. That's just not realistic. No wonder are you gonna stop. So I told my mom. I threatened my mom. I gotta change. You know, Even though I get a free scholarship here, but I wasn't learning anything.

    I had to tell myself this, this is not what I'm passionate about. I didn't want to become an artist without learning what art is. I didn't want to quickly jump into the abstractions cuz I, honestly I couldn't stand it. At least for me, I was 16, 17. I didn't feel like that was for me, man.

    I don't believe that doing an abstraction art is something that I could pursue. So I threatened my mom. I, I even quit school and I think that's the difference. It's like when you have to follow your inner voice, even though in the Chinese culture, like you're standing up against your mother. You know, here's my mother.

    I didn't have a normal mother. My mother is Bruce Lee. I mean, I have to be tough. I have to say, mom, this is my life. I gotta do what I think it's right for me. Okay.

    My parents are still running their bakery business in Taiwan. Typical eighties at that time. They're very busy.

    They don't have time for you if you need money. They, you know, which is very nice. But man, I, I wasn't very close to my mother and father. They just didn't know who I am. That's when I discovered who I am. I know who I am. I want to be an artist. I don't know what kind yet in 1988 at that time, but I transferred.

    And then my mom finally says, okay, fine. You know? So I went to Ringling school of art design. That school changed my life. I quickly understood that oh, so you can actually make a living as an artist. So that was illustrator. Ah, I think I can do this.

    Ling Yah: You said before that in your third year at Ringling, you saw yourself as an artist.

    Why was it third year?

    Davy Liu: Yeah, because then I can see career, right. I mean, I gotta be a responsible to myself. I have to answer, okay, am I gonna go I'm street to street and sell paintings? No, that I don't see that being me.

    When I understood what a illustrator does is basically illustrator is I see some of these very famous artists at that time in the eighties, right.

    Brian Holland.

    And, you know there's all this different illustrator making a living. And I saw their painting and I saw their drawings and they all have a style and they basically get jazz from time magazine, some of these large publications. And I like, I think I can do this, I could see a career.

    When you talk about become an artist, there's such a variety. It's such a big university of what art can be. But during the eighties at that time for me, I need to see who am I gonna be in five years from now. An illustrator? That's when I saw, yeah, I can be an illustrator.

    Not just an artist, but I'm an illustrator, meaning that I'm gonna be doing at least basic things.

    Survival is editorial illustrations. So at least I can answer to my own self say, Hey, okay, I'm gonna graduate with an illustration degree.

    Ling Yah: And at the time around 1987, you was 18. Didn't you go to cocoa beach for surfing. Oh yeah. And that was another huge moment in your life as well.

    Davy Liu: I would say that's huge. I think this is right before I went to Ringling.

    I was so lost, man. I, I, was disappointed with the art school I was going to, even though the scholarship was great. I did not know who I was gonna be. And I was working on my uncle as a dishwasher. Man, I was 17 years old or 18. I was so broken. I was so disappointed. Okay, I guess I'm not gonna be an artist.

    I'll work part-time as a dishwasher in my uncle's Chinese restaurant. And I'll just draw it home. Right. And then that summer I went to Coco beach. when I experienced something extraordinary.

    I grew up in churches. I grew up hearing about God created me, but I feel like God is so far it's too abstract.

    I don't think God has time for me. And something happened. I go Coco beach. I go there surfing. I was on the ocean for 45 minutes and I was caught the water undertow. And for the first time I beginning to realize the purpose. I ask myself, what is the purpose in that 45 minutes when I'm helpless?

    I know I'm gonna die. It beginning to help me to step back of all the things I want to pursue. Does that have meaning? I mean, I start thinking about all these things and I am so thankful. I would tell you it terrified me. But that moment is when I personally believe that there is this God that loves me and that he came as a human form and his name is Jesus.

    I know as a kid, my dad would talk about Jesus. But to me, it's just so far away. It's not realistic. But that moment may be it's a tragic, but it became a blessing. He became a major turn of point where I 17 year old wake up and realised the purpose of my life.

    Does it just become an artist? Is that what my mom is telling me every day, study hard so someday you make a living. That's all she ever told me. The ultimate is making a good living, but then I have a better purpose. I recognize that God's giving me this gift to draw straight lines. It's to reflect what this creator God created me to be.

    I get to reflect how good God is through my innovative creative self. So when I realized that that was the purpose, nearly drown. I was extremely thankful. I had a personal connection. I now have this personal faith that I embrace. And now I have this goal. I know I have this purpose, why I need to shine as a Firefly.

    Ling Yah: You now had this purpose. You had dedicated yourself to God, you knew you loved art, but how do you make that into a reality? Did doors just suddenly start opening?

    Davy Liu: You know, it's really lonely when you're all of a sudden this dramatic, right? Honestly at that time I was skinny. I was dating a girl and I was barely eating.

    I was just not healthy.

    When I came back from that drowning incidence, I realized how much God knows me and loves me so personal. It has changed me in such a profound way that even my parents was shocked and terrified of this new version of Dave.

    I was introvert. I was quiet. I was insecure. I didn't know who I was. I'll tell you, after that drowning, as I walked back from that ocean, I became a new person. I would go to school and day by day, I start finally these four friends that has the same fate as me in Ringling. And we begin to pray. We begin to get together and share our experience about this visually as an artist.

    I can't see God, but I can, I don't wanna say feel, but I slowly can unveil, see the masterpiece in everything He created and all what an artist does is really imitating.

    In the Bible, the first verse says in the beginning got created. That's God's first attribute. And I had that attribute in me.

    That came from a designer that had designed me to create, and it brought such a satisfy fulfillment. When I go to draw figures in school, I have a purpose. When I study art history, I have a purpose because everything aligned of how this amazing God created this epic universe and every single human life form animals, anatomy, everything.

    That white piece of paper now has given me a mission and when I draw, I believe that the pleasure that I felt was a pleasure that God, when he created me to become an artist.

    Ling Yah: And how did you become an artist? Cuz I think that was around the time where Little Mermaid came out, right?

    And Disney thing was going around looking for interns as well.

    Davy Liu: If you're gonna go to art school, the foundation class meaning drawing, it's so important. Figure drawing.

    Piece of paper and it's charcoal stick or pencil, if you can draw and understand dimension, and that's what the school I went to Ringling the difference of that in Atlanta college of art. When I went to the school, they really emphasize on foundations and draws and my art teacher happened to be Italian.

    He's a living Michael Angelo. I mean, He just taught me how to draw figures, right? Disney knew this school was very, very good. At that time there's only a few school in the country in America that really keeps solid foundation drawings and Ringling happened to be one. That was in Florida and Sarasota.

    It's only a couple hours away from Disney world. That's my hometown. When Disney came to our school, I see that they only recruit 8 student out of every graduate every year in America. I was like, wow, that's like get hit with the lighting.

    So of course I try the first time, I didn't make it. Second time. And then I see couple of my senior year friends, I was junior then, and they got into Disney. It's like, wait a minute, this potentially could happen. I saw their work.

    So the third time I try to improve. Most of people pretty much don't try cuz they know it's too hard.

    On the fourth year I didn't finish my college. I never graduated. I still missed two credits, but Disney recruited me. I got in and I just left college and I just started working with Disney.

    Ling Yah: Didn't you intend for it to be a three month internship because you wanted to go and leave for hallmark, but then you stayed for years in Disney. What happened?

    Davy Liu: Well, Disney's not my dream job and I had seen like Pinocchio and Little mermaid, but it wasn't my dream job. But I say, okay, three months. It's near my home. I can live with my parents. So I went there for three months.

    The first day I recognized that my art school actually begins in that internship in Disney. I recognized all the people I work with. At that time, they were working on the movie rescuer down under in 19 80, 19 90. I was blown away.

    How amazing the structure, right from storyboard to character design, to a layout and then doing design of the background. I love painting. So background painting was my brain. And here's Davy Liu's being Davy Liu. At that three months, they say they're only looked for animators.

    there was eight intern in our internship and I told the current president of the Walt Disney at that time, NA max Howard, and I saying fine, I'm not an animator type, man. Animation is too boring because one second takes 24 drawings.

    I have ADHD. I can't sit still. I mean, I can't do 24 drawings per second. That'll take me a week. So I told him that I want to really focus on background painting. So I insisted in my internship final project, I want to do background painting. I want to design, I wanna do production design.

    And long story short, my final project, I created my own little films and then I ended up gonna hired. Not as an animator, but as a background production design.

    I notice a lot of people when they get frightened, they don't know what they want, so they kind of let other people sit their track.

    And here I am. I was ready to leave Disney. They don't hire me as animator. I was hired because I was good at what I was doing. And I didn't just do this to prove to anybody. I have to be honest that if I stay in Disney, I have to do something that I passionate love which is painting design.

    can't do animation. It just not me.

    Ling Yah: When you made that request were you worried? Was there any pushback or were they very accepting?

    Davy Liu: No. I wasn't worried because I would die. my spirit would die if I stay there and do animations.

    At that time, there's no computer. I mean, you're flipping five piece of drawings and you're constantly just redrawing and redrawing and just doing the motion and movement of the character.

    No, I like painting too much. So was it there fear? No, not at all, because I knew that there's other company that offered me a job that I would go there in the heartbeat.

    At that time I would love to work at hallmark, you know, to design reading cards or just, do fun illustrations every day. I did think about staying in Disney.

    Ling Yah: What I thought was so fascinating is that, in Disney, it takes four years to make a film in three years just to plan, which sounds like an unbelievable amount of time.

    What do those four years encompass? What does it look like?

    Davy Liu: Well, that's because Disney really take their time. Okay. I mean, excellence does take time.

    In the first year, it's really rough. It's just developing concepts. Second year, if this project survived, they maybe get a few more people to do storyboards, maybe some character design, some paintings.

    And then this project really survived on the third year, you start seeing visual development, you start seeing solid characters. And when the project make it to third year, it's most likely they're gonna make it into the final fourth year, right?

    So Lion King and another many other projects all like probably started with 10 projects and the eight project will get forfeit on the second years.

    Mullan and Lion King, Beauty Beast, they made it through the second year and they eventually got green light and then make it through the third year. And then the fourth year, which is, you know, 22,000, some people will work on the final production. So that's. how Disney does things, right.

    They really filter. They wanna make sure there's a market for it. They gotta make sure the story is excellent.

    When I went to Asia, I did a lot of consulting there in Taiwan and China, other animation studios, the problem that I see outside of Disney's like the Christian stuff, they just don't have that kind of discipline.

    And I understand they don't have that kind of budget.

    They want to do it quick. They want to, like, get this thing done in one year. But you know, it's scientific. If you just take your time and really sharpen your craft and really focus on stories. Most people just focus on animations and unfortunately, a great story is great story.

    You can do it in a stick figure or match sticks. It could be still excellence. What I was impressed with Disney learning from Disney is they really invest in storytelling before they do all this heavy duty animations.

    Ling Yah: I imagine at a time, because you first started with beauty and the beast nominated best picture, then there's Aladdin, made 300 million.

    Then there was Lion King, Mulan. I imagine with each success, not only was Disney invested in storytelling, you also wanted to constantly push and be better and better and better than the one before.

    What was that like? It must have been tremendous pressure as well, because you were already setting huge landmarks.

    Davy Liu: Yeah. We call in Disney that we have to outdo ourself. Cause we didn't have a competitor. Disney is it! We did not have competitors. So how do you do something that you outdo yourself?

    Absolutely. So you have to tear everything down and start over. Whatever we do, something like we didn't use Aladdin and Lion King, Mullan, I mean, everything we do, we can duplicate. You see that's the difference. Duplicate. Right?

    Asian mentality is like, oh, I found a success. So the formula success is this and this and this. So when I was in China, in this, animation studio, and they were like, we finally figured out the creativity formula. We realized Disney all the animations, every 10 minutes or something sad, every 30 minutes or something, something happy.

    And then an hour later, something dramatic and then something really sad. So they take that formula and they duplicate . Do you see what happened? It's the Asian mentality. It's always manufactured.

    One thing about creativity is you can't duplicate it. Creativity is alive. Creativity has a new breath every day, every projects, every person breathe that creativity.

    It's when you quantify, you want to make it into a time table where you can memorize creativity. That's when you kill creativity. And that's what I keep talking about. That's why I have this Kendu creativity workshop that we run in our studio outside of campus and school to all over. We offer to other schools.

    We talk about creativity. What is creativity? So they really can do all that in the Kendu workshop that we do here. We host it in America and virtual.

    Ling Yah: I love that you talked about creativity's alive, and I think lots of creatives would resonate with that. But at the same time, we also understand why people have productized it.

    They made it into a time table because if it works and it works. I've invested tremendous amount of time. I've invested tremendous amount of resources. I can't recoup these millions if it doesn't pay off. So how do you find that balance of really exploring, pushing the boundary, but also I can't afford to take the risk for it to fail.

    Davy Liu: Yeah. So I, have to be fair. Disney last year spent 28 US billions in developing new content. I have to be really fair. Disney is the ultimate giant of animations. In Disney, our formula is create seven films and all it does out of that seven, all you need one home run.

    So that means you can allow six failures. So even six failures in Disney is not losing money. Okay. Disney's been around. They have their culture, they kind of have all the system that they do they set up really well. And they continue to use that scientifically. There is a pipeline that Disney does very, very well.

    So, let's see if you have startup animation company. There's many animation company in Hong Kong or in Taiwan. All the investors, just hoping that one film and that's it. Boom, let's make it a home run. It just doesn't work that way. Pixar is a perfect example. Pixar was invested by Steve Jobs, right?

    First of all, no studio can't find a person like Steve job that has a vision that understand this is a long term investment. So a lot of these Asian people, they investing in animation, they expect to be same return. Like, you know, if I invested it in two weeks, two months, They're trying to plant this like a flower.

    They want an instant success. if you wanna get an animation industry, you're gonna really have to prepare it for seven years. At least seven years. Create at least three films. Okay. Three films.

    So that milestone three film, hopefully that one film will succeed and you'll create a brand. So animation is like planning a tree. You can't expect planting a tree and they have the same result as the flower. Like, plant a flower, in two, three weeks, I can see the result. Animation, you gotta give it some time to see the yielding of the harvest.

    And again, Pixar is a perfect model. They took a few films, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monster Inc. It took them a few films until Disney had brought the beast. Pixar became the ultimate. Even beyond Disney.

    Why? Because Pixar waited. You got Steve job that eventually invested 20 millions to prolong this dream of Pixar that their dream can be realized. But it's hard in Asia. One film is tank, that's it. They're done. And it's too bad. And I see animations in Asia.

    First film, it's training. It's internship to your company. Second film it is tried out. third film is potentially that you will learn all this eco system of animations. Just not gonna find that in, anywhere, not in China.

    You see them do one film well. They make a lot of money. Disperse. And that's why you don't see animation industry rise up in Asia.

    Ling Yah: What would you say makes a good story?

    Davy Liu: What would I say is a good story? I wish I could answer that in one minute for you.

    But I would say the secret of making that good story, number one. Is it something that is global? When we created B &B, Aladdin, the Lion King originally is a story about a tribal family.

    It's about a black tribal family. It's a folk story. Then we wanna make something Chinese, Mulan, right? What makes a good story is find that universal language.

    What is that universal language? Love, forgiveness, bravery, triumphant, right? You fail, but you get up again. I mean, these are all universal stories. These are universal key content. Those makes the key of any successful story, whether it's animation live action or even comic books.

    Those are very, very universal. So that's the basic criteria of a good story. And of course each story is a different journey. You can't quantify like 1 story is successful so therefore duplicate every single one.

    Can you imagine Mulan and Lion King I mean, all of them have the same kind of growth and same kind of contrast at the end. That would be so boring. And so predictable.

    Ling Yah: I love that you mentioned the Lion King. I heard you once mentioned that actually the Lion King, when you first started all the great animators didn't want to work in it, cuz it was considered a dump.

    And why was that? And how did it change?

    Davy Liu: Well, that's because Disney has they prioritize. So they, only have A, B, C crew. The A team are like the best animator, best director, the best, everything. And then B are like the B animator you know, so the B team C team. So we're kind of like the rookie, you know, I'm just graduated.

    Lion King was considered C. So the budget is different too. Like a film Beauty & the Beast was like D film. They focus on it, they put a hundred millions on it. Aladdin is like a B films, like 80 million.

    Lion King's more like 60 million C. They prioritized differently because they don't expect everything's a home run. But they do shift and rotate different teams.

    Yeah, lion king, I'll tell you who would've known. Right? We hire not the best. I mean, Elton John at that time was nobody. People kind of forget who he was. He was a famous seventies disco guy. All of a sudden, nineties you bring him back. His people gonna recognize Elton John again, right?

    Then you got this new composer. Nobody knows who he is. Hans Zimmer. So all these risk that we took, right? These are what the C budget, but it has the A team result.

    I mean, it, became a huge sensation. Who would know? Nobody. Even Disney doesn't know the perfect formula for success.

    Ling Yah: It's so fascinating to hear you say that because for me, I grew up in it. I loved it. For me, that was an A film the whole way through. And I wonder what it was like behind the scenes. I heard little things you shared before, like you went to Africa, it was in Africa where you turned that whole story of the black family into a lion and car.

    Was that what happened? Like what was some of the behind the scenes?

    Davy Liu: Yeah, I remember going to Disney's internship the first day. They told us that we're not here to teach you how to draw a cartoon character. We're here to teach you to make the best commercials there is ever born.

    Why commercial? Yeah, the biggest ever advertising, it's called animations. Why? Because they have a whole slate of industry after animations. Isn't that amazing? When they make this animated film, they recognize after that animated film, there is followings of fans that will want to buy, not just movie tickets.

    They want to buy toys. They want to buy your experience. They want to go to theme park. They want to experience what Simba experience. So for us, as an animator, when we go to Africa, we want to take that experience and that kind of journey for every kid or every big kid that wants to see this film.

    And they wanted experience it over and over again. And they want this beautiful character resonate in their cups, in their backpack, right.

    I've spoke in Proctor and gamble in Singapore.

    In Asia, it's like upside down. Imagine if there's a pyramid. A pyramid on top of the pyramid. It is the animated film. That is the top of the pyramid.

    In Asia, it's upside down. Asia started with products. Product, without stories. I talked to all this big corporate. I say, you know, you ever seen Disney sell products, never Disney sell stories. They sell inspirations. Asia don't know what creativity is, but we have the best products, right? We have all the amazing products. I talk about creativity. How do you build creativity? I always said, When I go to Taiwan, I grew up, we have this really amazing rice cake that we sell in my store and there'll be 50 packs of it. 50 of them in a pack, a big bag of it, right? In a wrapping, maybe news print. Wasn't really exciting.

    Then you go to Japan airport, it's the same rice cake. The design of the package is just gorgeous. It takes half an hour to open it up because they wrap that thing as of you open up a piece of diamond. You see presentations, creativity. Give your product stories.

    That's something that Disney does really, really well and that's the part that's pure creativity. It touches people's heart. People don't come to you because you have the best toothpaste or the best shampoo. If you can give your shampoo or toothpick a story, people are going to be emotionally connected with your product.

    And that's the difference between Asian mentality with their marketing and the way we talk, storytelling. Commercial, you call it of the outcome. And it made Lion King 60 million. Today up to date is over 14 billion dollars in licensing.

    14 billion dollars in licensing. Not in products, all that is royalties of every kid wants to buy Simba cups, Simba toilet paper. I mean anything Simba.

    I really hope that through this podcast the Asia people that hear this thing that they're rise up. I keep talking about we Asian people. You know, we are like a cow for the west. The west in America, or the west society are like the cowboy.

    They kind of drive the industry. The Asian mentality is like, everything is you know, I grew up made in Taiwan, made in China, made in Hong Kong. We don't create, we just duplicate. We just do manufacturing. And that's the same thing with our education.

    And that's why this powerful innovation that once upon a time, a least in China, they created the gun powder, the compass, the paper. You know, they made the biggest Great Wall still today.

    That has been lost all because you got mom and dad that didn't believe their kids can do it.

    Ling Yah: Let's go back because you also mentioned Mulan and that is really, really unique just because how many times do we have an Asian story being told in the Western context? What was it like working on this film?

    Davy Liu: I remember in Taiwan I studied the story of Mulan. To me, it's so boring. I mean, honestly, it's just so boring. So when we brought this Mulan thing, I don't want to be about Mulan because it it's just so boring.

    So we gotta add characters, like Mushu or some other fictional character right? I mean, if you look at Mulan, the real hero are Mushu. It's definitely not Mulan.

    So that's what I talk about creativity, right? You take a subject, but you using another secondary character and making secondary character in a unnoticeable way.

    Mulan, just the canvas. The real fun entertainment character is that Mushu. If you watch Mulan without the Mushu, completely boring.

    In Asia, it's like, oh my gosh, I got a big news, another big company hiring the biggest actor in China.

    Guess what they're making? Monkey King! Oh my gosh. How many thousands A version of Monkey King. You see what I'm talking about?

    Asian gets caught up in this little tunnel that they just absolutely embrace and they just do the same stuff over and over and over again. You know, China is supposedly 5,000 years history,

    There's a lot more things than Monkey King. We don't have to keep doing Monkey King. All right. So again, you know, I just hope that through this podcast that somebody please don't make another monkey king,

    Ling Yah: I hope people do hear and remember this. You've mentioned just before we move on, Mushu. What's the backstory to Mushu?

    How did the whole character come about?

    Davy Liu: Well, we have other characters beside Mushu, but we knew for sure, dragon is a real big thing in the Chinese culture. We have to have a name. Obviously Mushu is not a dragon. Mushu came from a very famous dish in America, Mushu pork.

    We knew it was gonna be a dragon. We didn't wanna make this a big, scary dragon. We knew that this dragon is gonna have to have a Timon and Pumbaa character attitude that is fun and playful.

    So Mushu is just a young, fun character that every kid can relate. It's not perfect.

    It's fumbling and it's falling. I would think it's a Western version of a Chinese. If you ever eat Chinese food in America, like you can't have a pure Chinese food. A real white American people They don't really eat pure Chinese food. You can't, you gotta kind of Americanize it.

    So I would say Mushu, it's kind of like the bridge of a Chinese character and American character mix all at once. So Muhsu can kind of slowly allow children to embrace the Asian culture through this cute character that we design.

    Ling Yah: You've talked a lot about this contrast between the East and the West, how it's just imitating, nothing original.

    Given your global perspective, what is the thing that we can do to encourage people in the east to be more creative and to just go beyond.

    Giving allowances, telling people to follow their dreams, giving more conferences where you bring together people from all different industries. What are the practical ways to change that culture?

    Davy Liu: It begins with the family. Okay. And when I say family, it begins with the mom and dad beginning to see their children what they are unique. What is their specialties? Now I'm not saying every kid's gonna become an artist.

    What's gonna change this universal innovation thing that can break through it's that parents start believing that their kids is unique. They can do it. Okay. They, so they go to the school. Yep. Every parents are frightened that their kids grow up or they won't be good to anything, or they won't get the best job or become successful before you go to there.

    Don't forfeit what their life's calling is. Take time to pause. Our kids are going so busy, going nonstop.

    Hopefully more parents believe in their children. Give them more room to grow and discover themselves. Have you give your children a blank piece of paper? When I say blank piece of paper, I'm saying emotionally, mentally, physically.

    Don't give constantly a SAT paper that they gotta have a perfect answer. Allow them to have that some room. Is it 10% of time this kid can actually sit out and reflect on all the things that you are trying to love them with? Can they embrace something that it's them, that only they can do.

    That's really hard. You go to Taiwan, they're still tutoring school, every corner, every street, every alley. Same thing with China. We are all in this race of trying to get into Harvard, the best school, the best educations. That's important. But if you don't know if you are a Firefly or you are a B, or you're cricket or butterfly, what's the point of studying education.

    I know I'm speaking this as a metaphor as a parable, but I hope parents understood. I speak in Taiwan and I say I'm a Firefly. I found our firely. So when I'm done, I usually do book signing and all that stuff.

    This mother, I remember she was just in tears and feels shameful. She said her son was in high school, taking tests to go to college. She said, my son is also a Firefly after hearing your speech, I'm going to encourage him to be a Firefly. thank you so much.

    But of course, three days later, her mom changed her mind. Her son showed me the note she wrote in the Facebook. She called her son, sh. SHA, Hey, Mom changed her mind, because I believe that there's only one Davy Lou. I don't think you're that lucky.

    Oh no. I mean, It's just so sad for a mother to confident only last no more than three days. And the same thing here. I spoke an elementary in a parent day and then blonde hair mom came up to me and she'd cry and sob. And she said, thank you so much. We're reminded we all have our Firefly children.

    I have a son here go to this private school. The brother is straight A. The sister is straight A and Brian is the middle. He's a straight C and he's not happy.

    He's depressed because he feels stupid. He doesn't feel as good as siblings. So when, but he loves the draw, he loves the draw.

    I was trying to find a word to encourage him. After hearing your speech today, I quickly ran to find my son, Brian, and I hold him.

    I told Brian, I said, Brian, you know who you are. You are mommy's favorite Firefly and I am so proud of you. You see what a big difference.

    It's a same speaker, but the different outlook, different response, different affirmations and empower your children.

    One couldn't wait to destroy the dream of this Firefly, but the other one have no words. Couldn't find a words to discover and to praise and to also encourage this Firefly to glow.

    Ling Yah: Speaking of support and encouragement from families, you mentioned leaving Disney and your parents not understanding. What was that push behind it because I read that after you left Disney, everything in your life just went downhill? You were depressed, you divorced.

    It sounds like a really terrible time.

    Davy Liu: Yeah. It was a terrible time, right? I mean, so- I got a little bit tired of doing animation so I got, a job from George. George was working on Star War episode one. So I was like, I'm gonna try it out.

    So I went, I to work in industrial live magic for about two years. And, But there's that inner passion of me that I want to create this film called the Giant Leap, right?

    It's about the story of how animal discover Noah's Ark. It's something that is very personal and I really want to tell that story because I was so blown away.

    One day I was reading the Bible, a book of Genesis that these animal were called by God. They were inspired. They came to the Ark seven days before the flood. I said, my goodness, what did these animals saw? What did they saw that caused them to come to find this refuge. I mean, all this year, it took 120 years for Noah to build the Ark.

    I wanted to tell that story. I wanted really create a story and so I started develop this thing started back in, when I was in Disney, and I went to Warner brothers.

    I had this written as a rough script and Warner brother embraced it for two years, but the script came back to me. I own it again.

    There's this inner voice inside of me says, Hey Davy, you are a miracle. I should not live my life just for retirement. I wanna do something that has a meaning. I wanna work that can carry into eternity.

    I wanna do something that impact the children's from generation to come. I love Disney, what Disney did for me for my career, but that's not me.

    That's not me. I wanna do something that I believe in. Taking the animation of the art that I love. I thought I was gonna become a painter like those van Gogh painters, right. They're famous after they die 500 years later,

    But Disney has brought a new form of art within me. And now I get to tell a story of the Bible.

    I want to really make that big world come alive. I want to make that hundred years of building the arc from the animal point of view. I want, to make that journey for childrens or adults to recognize this God, he loved us so much, and he created this beautiful Ark for those who believe, and they would be saved if they go into this Ark. So that was something that I was really passionate.

    You were asking me when I left, it cost me everything. Absolutely. It cost me everything. My first wife left me.

    I moved down from San Francisco to Orange county. I was in a dark, dark place. Anxiety attack, you know, I didn't have depressions. My family deserted me. I feel so alone in my garage, in my home here in Orange County.

    I didn't know what to do, but there is this long and bright calling in my soul.

    This is I was born to do. I was really clear.

    Ling Yah: I love that you were so clear this is what you were born to do. But that said, that period I didn't wanna diminish it. It was three to four years long. That's a really long time.

    When I read about this period of life, it reminded me very much of the story of Job.

    He also lost everything. And I wonder, did you feel at any point that God had abandoned you? Was there any doubt? Was there any, yes, I believe this is what I meant to be, but maybe not now?

    Davy Liu: I feel like God has abandoned me. That's 22 years ago. I still feel like that today. I feel like God has abandoned me.

    Yeah, I mean, God just never shows up in an audible voice, you know?

    Yeah. Even though I prayed, I do my devotions. I never sense that God's this close. I mean, maybe some people does. I don't. I struggle. I still struggle. Sometimes I feel like God doesn't even hear what I have to do.

    This is nothing new, right?

    I mean, even king David, he's struggling with anxiety and fearful people pursuing him even as a king and his son's trying to kill him. Right. Where's God, where's God?

    He has no beginning, no end. So for his perspective, I still have to recognize how small you know, with the short little span of life that 54 years.

    I know that's hard for us to imagine eternity. How I respond, what I do, what I invest in, what I am passionate about, it matters because it has something to do with eternity.

    And so it's important. Yeah. My faith is small and I'm learning. I fall, I struggle, but I know that I don't struggle alone.

    Ling Yah: What is the vision behind Kendu films?

    Davy Liu: I grew up with so many negativity in my world. When I came the America, it only takes one word from my art teacher to say, you can do it.

    So I really wanna bring this invitations of God's love to every humanity through animated films.

    And that's what Kendu film does. I want every kid, every adult to know that you can do it.

    We want to create films that is far from religious, but I want to create that story of invitations from book of Genesis, to book of revelations of God's love for all humanity,

    Ling Yah: When you're creating the stories for Kendu, and we talked earlier about what makes a good story. You said it's this common emotions that everyone can get swept around.

    I get the feeling that another point that you probably learned from Disney is telling stories from an animal perspective, which is something that I've noticed all your stories have. Why an animal?

    Davy Liu: If you stop in the traffic light and you look over to the car next to you, you see a dog picking out.

    Doesn't matter what kind of dog, every person would smile. I noticed animal has that way of telling stories that goes beyond culture.

    Every country, every town, every city, every street there's dogs, there's cats. Every town there's animals, right?

    So if I can use the book of Genesis and turn Noah into a animal, turn Moses into a fish, turn Daniel into a lion, turn Jesus into a donkey.

    I mean, you can use animal because it's really the substance of the stories, right?

    Animal is universal, Chinese is not necessary universal because Chinese stories, maybe it could relate to me. So what makes it universal when you add Mushu into it?

    The Chinese story of Mulan become universal because now you're telling my stories. I'm Mushu.

    I have low self esteem problem. I try to prove to my peers that I can do it. That's why I talk about creativity, storytelling using from a different angle. And you can tell your stories. Less is more.

    That's what we said in Disney kiss. K I S S. Keep it simple, stupid, and that's awfully very hard, even for people like Proctor and gamble. Keep it simple, stupid.

    Ling Yah: I know these stories, you have actually turned into little books like Jordan's guests or Fire Fish, where the fish talks from the perspective of Moses parting the red sea, which is very fascinating.

    And I noticed as well that these stories are actually sold and available in China in every elementary school. I imagine getting these stories into a place like that must have been quite interesting.

    Davy Liu: Yeah. You know, you can find Bibles in the libraries in China, right? So what happened is that the Lion King can be go to every country, every nations, right?

    Why? Everybody know Mickey Mouse? Why? Because Disney are able to break down something that's universal language and they're able to engage children.

    If your story can engage someone that can't even understand the language, if you can visually tell them, you have succeeded. For example Tom and Jerry, you don't need translations.

    You can read and look at Tom and Jerry and you will laugh and you'll enjoy it. Doesn't matter if you're three year old, all the way to a hundred year old. You love Tom and Jerry. It's simple.

    So same thing. How can I take something that's very complex? It takes someone to go to seminary and study really, really hard.

    You gotta have so many different years of degree to understand a scripture. How do you take something that's complex and break it into a nation that doesn't understand it? They think it's Western. They think it's a religion, but take something that's wholesome.

    That's exactly what the Bible is. It's really wholesome. It's really just moral. It's pure moral. It's the best moral. But because in the context of a Jewish Israelite, it's hard for us, especially for me, from China.

    When I grew up, I always remember people say, oh, christianity for the Westerners.

    So when I had this vision of creating this animal you're now give a new, fresh perspective for the people that probably never would open the Bible.

    They see the transition of parting The Red Sea from this three little fish chasing by the great white. When the great white was trying to devour all the fish, the three little fish make a simple call said, dear make, would you put good fish on one side, bad fish, young the other, the rest sea open it in two.

    Now you're seeing it from the fish perspective of Moses parting the Red sea. So that's what I talk about creativity.

    Taking something everybody knows, you break it apart and you start refresh.

    Ling Yah: What's next for you in Kendu films?

    Davy Liu: You know, I love Disney Star Wars. That was 22 years ago.

    From day one I believe creating something that's epic, high quality. I can't sacrifice quality just because this is something that's about a story in the Bible. I did not want this be very low budget, very bad quality.

    I want the best team to create this film. 33 million budget, that's very doable to have a same output is what Disney film is putting. Now Disney's making 200 millions per film. Mine is 33. Make everything here in north America.

    I didn't want to make it in China cuz all this piracy. So I really want to be make this film really beautiful because that's what God deserve. People think you're nuts. You know why 33, you could do it in three.

    But I'm not interested in doing five star stick figures. My story is called "From the Lion King to the King of kings". You know, if I create a lion king to be five stars, then for the king of Kings, I want to be for seven, eight infinite star.

    Yeah, Just this year, I finally have this big corporate company that came in and give me 17 of the CEO's money. And so what's next you're asking me. I don't know. It's gonna be another 22 years until I find the next 16 so I can get my 33 and get it going.

    I haven't give up.

    Ling Yah: Davy, thank you so much for your time I normally love to end on my interviews with the same questions.

    So the first is this, do you feel like you've found your why?

    Davy Liu: I absolutely know my why My why is much easier than most people.

    So my why is, why am I here? I should have died in my mother's room. So my why is because my life is a miracle. Every breath, everything that I do, I have to remember. I have to live. The meaning of miracle through my creativity, through my drawings. I'm not promised to tomorrow.

    I'm not promised to make next moments, but if I do have this one breath, I gotta live out that miracle because I owe it to this miracle maker. So I want to create miracle with the work in Kendu films. Every day, every breath for every person.

    Ling Yah: And what kind of legacy do you wanna leave behind?

    Davy Liu: The legacy I want to leave for sure is not having people that admire or adore because there's nothing admirable and adore within me because I know where I came from.

    I was inspired by this so-called invisible God, but I'm inspired by what he did tangibly 2000 years ago. So I want to be remember of what he have said that you are enough. And that you can do it.

    So on my tombstone, I want people, if they ever mention the word, I can do it, you can do it. I wanna be part of that bridge that the word Kendu.

    It's beyond a ordinary word that kendu has power to one individual. And that can do came from this living God that breathe and love them and die for them and resurrected. And now you can have that can do spirit in every challenge that you do. I want them to remember that they can do.

    Ling Yah: And what do you think are the most important qualities of a successful person?

    Davy Liu: I think is to give and to help and to empower the other person so that the other person can outdo that person that brought the hope of the message.

    Ling Yah: And where can people go to find out more about what you're doing, support, buy your books?

    Davy Liu: You go on my website, my website it's kendu films. K E N D U F I LMS. It's very easy to Google me.

    I think so far, there's only one Davy Liu in this world, as far as I know. If you want to hear my talk. Just Davy Liu.com. DAVYLIU.com.

    Ling Yah: And is there anything else you'd like to share that we haven't covered so far?

    Davy Liu: No, I think I went beyond. You notice we're doing this in zoom I've closed my eyes the whole entire time, cuz I'm just feeling the spirit.

    I've done quite a bit of interviews. And this is my first time in interview with a Malaysia interviewer host. So I really want to be sensitive and respect the audience that whoever to hear this thing, hopefully this message will lift up your soul and just inspires you and never give up because there's a kendu spirit in you.

    So I want to say to you, you can do it.

    Ling Yah: And that was the end of episode 99. The show notes and transcript can be found at www.sothisismywhy.com/99

    Because some of you also submited questions for Davy. There will also be a special episode featuring questions from the audience. So do stick around and hear Davy answering your questions.

    And stay tuned for next Sunday, because we are entering episode 100.

    Because it's such a landmark, we're doing things a little different. I've invited a former STIMY guest Red Hong Yi from episode two, and a very dear friend of mine to come back on the podcast to interview me. We cover a lot of Ground, including questions that you dear listeners submitted, including why I started STIMY, What keeps me going, some of the most impactful stories, what it takes to run a podcast and so much more.

    So if you haven't done so already, do subscribe and see you next Sunday.

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