September 7, 2012

Friday, September 7, 2012

How is Animation Production Like Sushi?

I recently saw a great documentary called “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“. If you can see through the scales and tentacles, there are quite a few life and creativity lessons there.

Jiro is a master. He makes the finest sushi in Japan. But he is the first to admit that , although he creates new combinations and approaches, the work is mostly done by the time he puts the pieces together. He hires the finest Fish specialists, who buy only the best fish. The finest rice specialist, with the finest rice. Apprentices have to study with him for 10 years learning how he does things before they are allowed to make sushi.

A good animation director and show creator is like that. We may come up with the core idea, but it takes a team of specialists, masters at what they do, to give me the pieces that meet up to specifications before we put the final product together. Hire the best sound editor, music editor. Every member of the team should be motivated to rise to his or her best to produce something new and different worthy of the art of animation.

Couple that with your vocation being your right livelihood, and you have a winning combination.

Another thing I liked about Jiro’s approach is his need to stay small.

With his reputation, he could have a much larger sushi house, ( or even chains) but he chooses to keep a 10 seat sushi bar so he can focus on his customers and keep his ingredients the best he can find.

The customers pay up to $300. each, but his reservations are booked solid several months in advance. It’s not take away sushi. You sit and watch the master at work. Volume is not king here.

This is the way I like to view my independent films. Volume has it’s plusses, and working with great teams very quickly, but it’s also great to be a craftsman working meticulously one ingredient at a time.

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3 Responses to September 7, 2012

  1. Joe says:

    I’ve been hearing about this documentary a lot lately. Off-topic, but my friend went to eat in his restaurant. He did indeed have to book weeks in advance and pay through the nose, but he said the staff didn’t pay him much attention and hurried him along. He said the sushi was good but not perfect.

  2. Mr. Semaj says:

    This is a lesson that many commodities that are lucky enough to find success tend to forget.

    There’s no shame in a boutique business model.

  3. Gianna says:

    I think this is a lesson that most of us have to learn these days, more and more is left aside the satisfaction it brings dedication, for the simple pleasure of doing what you love, in favor of consumption.

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