Email still not really running, I am just logging in at an internet station in Shinjuku to do business about two hours a day. Christmas in Holland is up in the air as I need to decide if it would be better to focus my energies on Tokyo right now with some of the projects that are coming up.
As I’m thinking more seriously about trying to develop projects here in Tokyo I’ve told a few people about the possibility of bringing a show here from Taiwan. here they are:
The Producer: worked for a major advertising company and a major movie studio, also working on his own projects and starting his own production company. Sort of all over the map, it is hard for me to get a handle on what he really does, but i know he directs and produces small-scale, but high visibility shows (at Disneyland, shopping centers, that kind of thing). He studied in the us and is fed up with Japanese conservativism in the arts, wants to do cool LV circus-style shows, but doesn’t know how and doesn’t have the personnel or the money/power to do it alone. He is supposed to be my partner if we win the bid for East Asian business development with Global Live Entertainment. He’s well-connected in all the power circles of Japanese entertainment. Good name card to have.
The Designer: works in an advertising company, as best as I can tell. his company is small-name, but still manages to land good, high-profile events, like the premiere of Pirates of the Carribbean 2, rock videos, in addition to designing posters, flyers, etc. He has talked to me a lot of times about wanting to produce a show, what would it take, etc, etc. I think he is trying to approach his boss with a project idea, but is intimidated by learning how to producing a large acrobatic show in Japan… he is just a graphic designer, after all, but the company is in a posh location, i will see it on Tuesday.
The Project Guy: a new contact in Japan. He runs a small production firm, wants to produce shows internationally. I might be approaching him about a job as an oversees contact manager. i wonder what he will have to tell us.
Mr. Taipei: actually an investor I met in Taipei. Very wordly, owns a bunch of restaurants and lounges in Taipei… barely know him, but had dinner with him at a party he invited me to. He was interested in what i am trying to do in terms of produce local Asian shows. I wonder if he might be interested in what we are doing with the Taiwanese circus school? His business card mentions CEO of his own company, VP, Chinese/German culture office, polish culture and economic association, chairman of Taipei Poems Club…. among other things.
So I am talking about projects in a very very very “what if” fashion to all these people because I’m still not totally clear on what The Rocker and I can really do. At its simplest, I’m imagining a well-publicized, limited run in a prominent, medium-sized venue in Tokyo.
But here’s the reality check:
The biggest show i have ever produced from beginning to end was three people, and everything fit into our suitcases. Budget: 5000 euro, but made profit of about 25%. we still succeeded in finding investors, publicity, a venue, transportation, a technical team, etc, etc, etc.
The biggest tour I have ever produced was four people in a station wagon through four countries in Europe. We still succeeded in getting festivals, venues, places to stay, food, make decisions on the spot, etc, etc. Budget, maybe 3000 euro, and we made a little profit, but we were not counting (it was our first project like that).
So while i know ALMOST diddly-shit, i still know a little.
Of course, as I talk to these potential partners (OK, I must remember that they are my friends, at least, in this case) about possibly bringing a Taiwanese show to Japan, I wonder if I am getting in over my head. Therefore, I am saying precious little about anything concrete, just letting them know that a show is happening, and that maybe it might be kind of nice to possibly see if we can find a way to discover an opportunity to bring it to Japan.
I don’t know if this is all pipe dreaming, but The Rocker seems to think it is a possibility, so that is what is keeping me calling these guys every week or so.
So here I am. i have some fish biting, and one that I have my eyes on. What more should I be telling them? I want to keep them interested with this possibility as long as possible to keep them involved but I don’t want to risk giving them too much all at once which may work against me in the long run if they decide it’s not what they want before even I know what the project actually is.
I think I will let them digest the possibility for a good while, and if I feel that things are getting cold, I will ask these two guys to meet each other, and see how that goes.
If it goes well, that will buy me some more time and by the time things start to cool off again I will hopefully have much more information based on the research we’re doing Taiwan… names, companies, etc.
Well, that is my strategy anyway. I don’t want to over-promise and risk losing face. If everything blows up, I want to be able to say, “ah well, it would have been nice,” have a drink, and there are no hard feelings anywhere.
I have meetings with all of them in the next couple of days, at which time I wanted to show perhaps a ‘best of’ of The Rocker’s and my past work which I will rip to DVD because they will think that is cooler than if I have to go online to find it during the meeting.
Am i taking this all to seriously? Am i moving too fast? The possibility excites the hell out of me, and I have all kinds of ideas about how I could proceed if the interest is there in terms of funding, publicity, etc, but I keep that in my brain when I am trying to sleep for now.
But shit, if this one venture works well for everyone involved, there is huge opportunity to start a market for Asian acrobatics/multimedia/live music crazy shit that doesn’t exist anywhere else.
I have seen some awesome butoh jazz things here, there is such a lively underground, and there are all these rich people going to these tiny bars to see it all, i can’t help but think that the Japanese would be open to see a show like the ones I saw in Taiwan, there is just NO MARKET for it as the situation is right now.
Carve out a niche, and we can be sitting pretty with projects galore!
So that is all the happy side. There’s also a lot of frustration:
The shit is moving slow for me over here… they have my spinning on strings waiting for three jobs that I get regular updates on, but no definite answer. I just got an email from Global Live Entertainment that things are going to take even longer because they are working out logistical issues, blah, blah, blah. Basically, for two months, I have been working like crazy for them, for nothing, and have no way to say, “HEY! give me a work visa and pay me or I am getting the fuck out of here!” because we are comme meme in Asia right now.
I can not be forceful until I have become indispensable, and this is where this project is coming in nicely, but it is taking its toll. I think once I have pitched this to these guys, if I can sell it as a cool possibility that I am willing to work on, I am going to say that I am getting the fuck out of here. If they want to work with me, they need to find a way to keep me here, because I am living on my own funds, on a visa that runs out tomorrow, basically, and they aren’t doing anything for me.
This is why I’m looking for work in Taiwan. If I can have a real possibility outside of the country, I am not tied to Japan, but I am still close enough to maintain contact with these other people. I am enjoying all this business wrangling, and am getting the hang of it quickly, but that alone isn’t feeding me over here. so I don’t know. I need to find contacts looking for an anglo, japano, franco phone to work in something arts related.
Things are tough with The Contortionist right now – it’s easier for me to deal with distance than it is for her. I get really lost in my work; I need to keep going with these projects, and for now that means I am in Tokyo 100%. It feels like she has pressure to be with people who are on tour with her.
I hope to be in the States soon, but I never know when… things have a way of piling up here, one project on another on another, without ever getting a definite answer… I tell myself this means that in about three months I will have a huge windfall, and that is when I will be able to relax and see all the people I need to see.
Things are getting down to the wire here, and that is where i have done my best in the past. we will see, no?