Last week I pitched my idea to two of my friends from a major advertising company, Adco one of the oldest and most well-respected advertising companies in Japan, and this week they confirmed a face-to-face meeting to discuss producing a circus show in Tokyo. Even though they seem to be looking for a show, they are understandably skittish, as this is not the kind of thing that is done in Japan. I want to get them excited about the idea of bringing the Taiwan show here for even a limited tour, like one week, just to make a million dollars to prove to them that such an exchange can work.
These guys love looking at the numbers, and they love investors with fancy names and name cards. It seems that the name and the image is 10 times more important in Japan than anywhere else I have been in the world. The shitty thing I’m leaning about producing entertainment in Japan is that live entertainment needs to go through commercial agencies and The Rocker is a bit more punk rock. I hope that Adco will be able to balance him out a bit, but this means that he might end up having a mind-twisting poster like “The Rocker presents ‘Fuck the USA’ brought to you by McDonalds, Microsoft, and NHK TV.” But for now, there is no way around it. Brand matters to Japanese producers. Disney or Cirque du Soleil are seen as an iron-clad investment worth a guarantee. For example, it seems that Cirque du Soleil is working on a “Cirque du Soleil: The Music” show which travels in arenas instead of in big tops – this could work in Asia and a producer would be willing to take the risk in venues in Japan that could be really well-suited for such a project – spaces that are on the scale of Tohu, but industrial-looking and very flexible.
But for our sort of “no-name” project, we can only rely on being able to dazzle ’em with science: they don’t care if it is modern or artistic or new, they just need to know that they will make money on it. That’s why we need those Taiwanese investors to cover some of the risk and I have no idea how to approach a Taiwanese investor! Our project in Taiwan is going to be a two-week performing arts festival (street performing and circus and modern dance, mostly) where I’ll be assisting with the direction, coaching, fine tuning, (and maybe even performing myself) in Fall of 2006. Ideally, I’d get both Adco and Global Live Entertainment on the invitee list because the missing link right now is a company willing to bring a new circus/multimedia show to tour Tokyo within the next two years.
But long before that, I need to get more info about The Rocker and his Taiwanese investors. Time to write some emails….
Another option would be for me to work for Adco as I continue developing the idea of a Japanese tour so that I can essentially do what I am doing now, but get a work visa and get paid for it at the same time. I already seem to be working a 20 hour week to answer their questions about this project anyway, so if they are really interested I hope they remember me when paycheck time comes around!