Japan’s Film Industry
Ping Mag has a great interview with Anna Baltl, a 23-year-old Austrian woman who has recently begun making music videos in Japan as a camera assistant at a small production company specialising in music clips. She explains how she got into the business and highlights some of the major differences betweens Europe’s film industry and that of Japan’s – both culturally and professionally.
How did you get hired by the Japanese company?
That was through Film Marmalade, a network for amateur and independent filmmakers in Tokyo. It can be helpful if you are looking for special people, like a Final Cut expert that is bilingual in English and Japanese. One day I showed up at Marmalade and met a director called John Williams who later took me to other film parties. In the end I got introduced to a Japanese camera assistant that decided to take me under his wings and “adopt” me as trainee. That is how the Japanese system works: even university graduates have to become scholars again and be accepted by a Senpai, a master. As you might know, film business is very hierarchical: you start as the assistant of the assistant and then work your way up… I started with a one-month training, and now I have a contract to start with. By Japanese custom you don’t talk about the salary in the beginning – and as you usually get paid by the end of the next month, I only know now what I earn…