Bad news sells. It’s something you don’t think about, or perhaps even notice, when you read the daily news in normal times (unless, of course, your news comes from the gossip mags). These are not normal times. What’s Your High is an antidote not only to the horrid world news dominating right now, but the pessimism that has been invading the creative industry’s news for longer. It’s also a reminder that the industry is filled with people who have a real passion for what they do and that passion is the catalyst for progress, for finding solutions to problems and moving them out of the way.
Grasse may take his time getting to the positive in his story, but he is, without question, the creative industry’s cheerleader. He has always been passionate about keeping creativity buoyant and he is currently the best “ambassador” that Japanese production could ever have.
Here is Peter Grasse’s What’s Your High story:
Technology-preaching no-talent spongers are a real low. From corona’s silver-solution to the financial crisis’ procurement-solution, they always arrive to exploit the worst of times.
I read a recent article suggesting remote robotic cameras could replace directors and local talent would, hereafter, replace the world’s best. I honestly can’t imagine a worse scenario.
The unique perspective of a foreign eye revealed through provincial tools and labour. The overseas producer who’s seen and won the war. The distance-driven director who transforms our everyday into exceptional excellence. Without these positive personas, my life as a line producer, would simply not be worthwhile.
Production only just survived the bean-counters. Technology didn’t derail filmmaking but, instead, the craft of filmmaking motivated technology. Year after year, we continue to tell stories through commerce, and our appetite to make more keeps this art alive. Now they want us to give up rubbing shoulders with the best? No. Never!
Mind you, the poor players that strut and fret their hour upon our local stage can continue to forgo the trip. The wanna-be business class hacks dreaming of sushi will never be better than our own and should stay home.
Yet, the fun-geniuses, the inspiring special people…The Kuntzs, the Hoytemas, the Traktors, Kefalis, Ohes, Bloomfields, Nardos, de Viciolas, Middleditchs and Frosts. They need to travel to new landscapes far and wide to open our eyes and enliven our hearts. They help us, locals, to be our best and entertain the world in return. Not to mention the stories, the wisdom, and spirited good-natured camaraderie. We wouldn’t give them up for the world.
And so, the world should not give up. A life lived in fear is a life half-lived, and our future is bright! Many places are back on track, and when the crisis passes – which it will – filmmakers will have a renewed energy eager to nourish audiences’ hunger for real, raw, mind-expanding content. The stuff that robots and remote controls cannot make.
Besides, you can’t fake Tokyo in Toronto. And why would you? Like many locations, Japan is open for business. Spring and pre-production are already in the air. Tokyo experienced the initial bog-roll rush now gripping the rest of the world and put a lid on it quick-smart to produce a speedy recovery. Now low on the global viral list, and looking to the Olympics with optimism, Japan has risen back to being the safest, cleanest, and friendliest production place on Earth.
So, rather than kowtowing to fear and trying to sell production some soft remote solution, let’s support our top talent to get back on the horse and create work we can all be proud of. The resulting interactivity is what sustains our future and gladdens us all.
Peter Grasse is the founder of production service company, Mr+Positive Tokyo. “Mr+ has produced for the world’s best filmmakers in the world’s best location, Japan,” he notes. There is no doubt that Mr+ is Grasse’s greatest high.