Compared with other industries, creativity is an essential aspect of motion picture production. Even the tools of the trade are thus inclined. What I mean by “creative” is originality – or in other words, having an original aesthetic that leads to the creation of something from nothing. It is a requirement of people who are willing to take on the challenge of doing things no one has attempted.
These days, we are moving along a vector that is opposed to the creative one; so much is created from logic and calculation, particularly in Japan. These events and products – and there are so many – are being overshadowed by their overseas counterparts. This is true of the users, the providers, the creators, everyone in the industry. I got to thinking about why this is so.
For example, I was viewing something in the screening room of a certain film company. The contrast was unnecessarily high and the luminance was extremely vivid even though it was not an HDR production. When I inquired, I was told that the projector had been set up for a 3D screening and left that way, even though this was a 2D product. And no one working there had even picked up on this.
Then at a certain post-production screening room, where it is calibrated every day, I was left wondering if they were relying on the suggested guidelines for the settings. The reason was unclear, but this alone was obvious: the result is totally different from what is being produced overseas. Something isn’t right. Even if the camera is set up according to the instructions, things won’t necessarily go by the book when you’re on-set.
It would be impossible to list all the ways something could go wrong, but you could tell that there was “an absence of the human touch” – there was no one making adjustments in these situations.
Japanese manufacturers were the best in the world, once. But clearly this was in the past, and you can see it yourself when you go to an overseas exhibit or on a publicity event. The effort and ardor of the people involved are different.
Without mincing words, what sets these people apart is their manpower, their passion, their drive, their dedication to their work – it’s not a question of Japan’s technical skills anymore. And that has given rise to a huge concern.
There are many meticulous and perfectionist-type people among the Japanese. They pursue progress and effeciency in their craft, but as a result I think people have regressed. This is not just true of the Japanese, but of people in developed countries as well. Do people in the industry really love the craft itself? I am not seeing the human touch. Are they making something because they love it? These are critical questions. Of course it’s “work”, but are they stuck in the rut of myopically toiling away just to fill the hours? Sometimes these questions give me pause for thought.
Isn’t it akin to taking the seed of a beautiful flower and burying it in sterile ground? “Effort can’t beat single-mindedness of spirit.” This is something the head of a certain well-known apparel company said, and I say it a lot too because I like it. What’s the point of accumulating hours of effort if you have no will, no passion for it? There’s no way you will beat someone who has the will and the drive to create something. It will only end in something that lacks the human touch.
Isn’t it time to revisit what is born of commitment and passion?