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Unedited Feed from the Makoto Shinkai panel at Otakon 2011. Transcription: bayoab
Note: ( ) is usually commenting on the panel and was not said.

14:59:43 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (The lights go down...)
15:02:28 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (And nothing happens... but the interpreter is here)
15:04:39 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Good afternoon
15:05:05 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Without further ado
15:05:05 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Please welcome director Makoto Shinkai
15:05:27 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And the producer of the film (missed name)
15:05:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Hi, nice to meet you, I'm makoto shinkai
15:05:58 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Hello, nice to meet you, i'm koishiro ito, i'm the director of his films,
15:06:06 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So raise your hands if you were able to catch the premiere
15:06:23 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (Polling the audience about how they feel about the movie)
15:06:45 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, since so many of you have seen the film, I think i'd like to talk about it if that's okay with you
15:07:28 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> The movie Hoshi no ou kodomo is a movie that continues very many themes, and i think with only a single viewing of the iflm, you might come out thinking it's very complicated
15:07:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> But underlying it, it's a simple story about traveling to one place and coming back
15:08:32 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So like i said, its' a simple story, old themes going back to the fairy tales of japan, like urashimataro, or like spirited away, being whisked away to a mysterious world and coming back
15:09:11 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So the question is what happens when you go away, when you go away, you realize the worth and the values of things you left behind, you realize how beautiful your home town is or how (important your family is once you step away fromt them)
15:10:43 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> *SPOILERS* So as I spoke on this a little earlier, asuna needed to make the trip to because near the end of the movie, she admits to the others, the izoku, that she was just lonely, it took her to make this trip to realize that shun was no longer around, shin is not shun and she would never see him again * SPOILERS*
15:10:37 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So this story,based on a simple traveling adventure story has all these themes, but i wanted to make this film more acceptable to a wider audience
15:11:18 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> I wanted to go back to the classic themes so the character designs are different, it goes back to the themes you would see from ghibli films or other classic pieces
15:11:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (Fan reaction is postivie but) I don't know hwo it will perform overseas, but business is business, and i'm worried to see how it will perform business wise
15:11:49 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, that pretty much covers what i wanted to say about the movie this morning
15:12:04 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> if there is anything you want to know about this film or any past films, please come and ask
15:12:46 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (These are film clips from Kumo no Mukuo available for anyone who asks a question)
15:13:07 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: So you did voices of a distant star, what made you decided to do that instead of going through the industry to get it produced
15:14:17 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So the truth of how that came to be is that i was working at a game company, and my job was to create the opening seuqence to the game, i realized how great it was to create your own animation when doing that, so while doing the job, i started to make my own animation, and that's how hoshi no koe came about
15:15:00 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So at that time, cell phones were starting to become widely available, and i had just bought my first cell phone
15:15:33 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And so i used to send mail through the phone to my girlfriend, no longer with her, but as i sent these emails, it would take 3-4 days to respond, it felt like she was on another planet...
15:16:00 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So it was me realizing how fun it was to create animation, and my first cell phone, is the reason voices from a distant star was created
15:16:44 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: I noticed that all your movies always involved... hopeless..er sorry.. star crossed lovers and always romance... in the future are you planning on diversifying your work?
15:17:04 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Well..
15:18:59 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, i haven't really thought, i guess my titles do invovle a lot of lost love, hard to say what the next one iwll bring, i did mention at the q&a session that the next one i'm thinking of doing is about a boy who leaves his home, it might sort of reflect the situation in japan right now, and as things in japan changed, it might reflect the storys i do, but it's about a boy who leaves town and then realizes what he had and lost (involves romance too)
15:19:14 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: regarding the guns in hoshi, what firearms were those based off of?
15:19:49 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So the ages... is set around 1975.. and the guns dont' exist in real life, but i was thinking of the era and the design based on existing guns
15:20:31 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: They didn't seem to be from the same era as the story...
15:20:55 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So even thought the world setting is around 1975, the special forces of archangel have the latest and greatest, so it might seem it's ahead of the time
15:21:35 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Tell us about the key differences between being able to express your creative vision in earlier works when he did it himself and now when he has a traditional staff
15:21:59 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Well, I have a large staff that i work with to create the films, compared to doing it alone, it's lonely to make it alone
15:22:39 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> But when you do create something by yourself, there's no stress, but if you do do it by yourself, it can't move beyond what you imagined without outside input
15:22:53 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, it's stressful when you work with staff, really stressful, but some staff members come to you with a design or piece of art that you haven't considered
15:23:40 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And by working with th staff, i have a devoted staff that's expendiing their youth, spending years of their lives to work with me, and that gives me a responsbility to see it throught to the end (lost part)
15:23:56 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Ito: This film took 2 years, but if he did it himself, it would probably take 10
15:24:06 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: You have an attention to detail
15:24:21 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Do you actually and go out and try and get footage yourself to get an idea of what it looks like in real life
15:25:47 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So, i dont take video, but we did take a lot of photographs, i took a staff of about 20 to nagano, where the surface world is supposed to be, and we took 1000 of pictures, we thought about the texture of the rock, (what it looked like during the day), (lost)
15:25:58 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (tried to capture the detail of the locale something like)
15:27:02 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And so i'm not saying i'm not influenced by video i see, one of the things that caught my eye recently, is lens flare, the really thin one in like the new startrek, i liked the way it looked on film, so i put it in the most recent film, probably the first anime film to do use such techniques
15:27:43 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Something special you are trying to convey during that one cut with (character leaving another), (is ther something that pets wouldn't get)
15:28:13 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Well growing up, we always had pets, dog and cats, inevitabley, they don't live as long, so i remember having to go up to the mountain side to bury them
15:28:46 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> When designing mimi, one of the concepts i wanted to convey was the america animation peanuts, there is a character linus who is always dragging a security blanket with him
15:30:09 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, as you understand, the whole concept of a security blanket is something that has to be with them ot give them comfort, to make them safe, eventually one would require said safety blanket, and just llinus's, mimi was one for asuna, but at that point in the story, she no longer needed it (lost)
15:30:24 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: What's it like working with a wide range of voice actors?
15:30:50 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: considering she was the voice of clarise and naussica, i was nervous working with her
15:31:51 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Since the character lisa was a dead character at that point, we couldn't have an ordinary voice, so i wanted to have one that was recognizable to many but one that could make clear she wasn't of this world
15:31:51 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (para)
15:32:16 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> What hurt my heart my most is the va is over 50 and the character is 20s... so having to say from the recording booth "make her sound younger"
15:32:27 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: (Another va... in ika musume)
15:32:33 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: You guys know what Ika musume is?
15:32:50 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> The voice for asuna was the lead in Ika musme series
15:33:02 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> I didn't cast her as asuna because i was a fan of the show
15:33:18 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> I'd like you to know,we auditioned for the role before the show was on the tv
15:34:16 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> When i ask her about the whole process of audition about what hse's doing next, she said i'm going to play ika musume, and i'm going to put ika and geso at the end of everything i say, and i'm like okay, that'll be an interesting show
15:34:47 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: You mentioned at the film Q&A that your growing up on a country setting had an impact on how the night sky and others look, i was wondering if nay other aspects of hte film where growing up in a rural setting had an influence
15:35:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: As I child, i didn't listening to a radio, but there was an outcrop of a rock like that, that i went out to look at the scenery
15:36:04 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And of course as a child, the view was just mountains, it was surroundied by mountains, and as a child, you can't help wonder what's beyond the mountains
15:36:54 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So it's not like i was unhappy(?) with where i was or with my life, but i wanted to see what was on the other side of the mountains...(and asuna is like that)
15:38:13 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: (long intro) what do you think of the true conclusion, including the 7 parts of the animation that you couldn't put into 5cm/s, and could you touch on the other 7 parts
15:39:10 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So 5cm/s was my first movie, it was also something i wrote a novel about, then someone else did a manga, and someone else did a novel, so there have been a lot of stories told on the 5cm/s story
15:40:05 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, i created this movie to be a mirror, a mirror to reflect, so that you would put yourself into the role of takaki, and for each of you to draw conclusions of what would happen next
15:41:25 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And for me, i guess the novel reflects the ending i would see in the mirror, it would be at the end when takaki brushes by akari at the rail crossing, but he's not sure if he did or not, but thinking of the possibility he did, but the possibility he did gives him enough of a foothold (missed part)
15:42:02 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Some say your latest work is ghibli like and you have been called the next miyazaki, what do you think about such comparison?
15:42:27 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Well, i've never met miyazaki, some of the other people on the staff have worked with him in the past
15:43:24 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And frankly... it's his movies that have inspired me and that i love, if you look at the latest movie, you will see scenes that are influenced based on his films..
15:43:29 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (purposely dropped part)
15:44:48 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Like I said,... i think his films are amazing,... i remember seeing laputa in junior high, and the emotions i felt after i saw made me want to do something similar, and if a junior high school studen would get that same feeling, that would make me happy (Again, purposely dropped part)
15:45:30 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Regarding the comparison, I don't think i could ever reach his greatness of the films, but all i can do is keep making films and someday look back and say "These were pretty good"
15:46:14 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (translator: One of the scenes i noticed, was when the thing went inside the cliff as it fell down the waterfall... when they are going down and lock arms, that was so laputa)
15:46:58 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Is there one setting you prefer writing? is there a challenge to do more action packed fighting scenes we saw today vs the i want to cry alot scenes from the other movies
15:47:02 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (hoshi being sf, 5cm being real, new being fantasy)
15:47:33 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: so growing up, in the teenage years, i was a big scifi fan, my favorite author is author c clarke, 2001 a space oddesy and such
15:48:34 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So like arthur c clarkes (lost).. it was heavily influenced...(lost.. about how the distances let you affect the view point)
15:49:33 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So my current favorite author is one called Greg Egan(?).. just the fantastic viewpoints of how one can depict, of how one can expand a (???) into the universe, it's possible because it's words and there is your imagination, i don't know if i could depict it (lost parts)
15:49:46 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Is there one influence in your mind that you can say is greatest on your films?
15:50:10 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: The japanese writer haruki murakami has a heavy influence on me
15:51:36 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So since i read sci-fi in teens, i read murakami in my 20s and enjoyed ghibli films, so a mishmash of those... (lost)(something from murakami) (something from scifi), wonderment of ghibli
15:52:40 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: About 5cm, when takaki is on the train, going to see akari, and it keeps stopping, that paralls... how he's stuck later in his life... is that something that was written early or something that came up naturallly later
15:53:06 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: You pointing that out, is "hey, i think that makes sense too", so i can't say that it was a conscious decision
15:53:50 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Truth be told, I had a gf who lived far away from me in the past, and i went to visit her in the winter time, and i was delayed just like takaki, so that's one of hthe reasons that scene exists in the movie
15:55:25 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: In your movies, there are lots of themes about lost distance relationships and texting, and it's important to me because i have a ldr liek that.. i was wondering.. what really personal reason do you have for putting it in your movies because it's such a prominent theme
15:55:53 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> what do you think the film does for people suffering from LDR?
15:56:48 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Well first of all, in japan you send emails through your phone, it's nottext, but one of the aspects of young love in japan right now, but depending on fast, how quickly he responds to you, is a guage to how much you actually love them
15:57:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And i feel that when you get mail from someone you like, you can't help but respond right away, but if it's from someone you don't like, you might put off the response, so mail as a commmunication, it could be a good thing or a bad thing
15:58:13 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And like in 5cm, ther was a line in there that "even though i sent a 1000 emails, i felt like my heart hasn't gotten 1 mm closer" i think it could turn out that way or it could be that one mail that gets you closer
15:58:22 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And good luck on your relationship
15:58:31 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Any advice to anyone inspired by you as a film maker?
15:59:46 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So, i've gotten so much inspiration from so much film makers and creators, i never imagined i would become one myself, but if that happens, that would make me greatly happy, but by that person being inpisred by my work, and then inspiring another person, that's a cycle of happiness and (lost)
16:00:13 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Could you elaborate more on how and why you went into making animated films and what challenges you had in your early years?
16:00:23 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (Wants an expansion on the earlier one)
16:00:45 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: First of all, like I said, it was in a game company, i never worked for an animation studio before i began doing this
16:01:11 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And i pretty much, everything i learned, i learned by studying by myself on my own and copying others
16:02:18 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So, at the game company, the two software i used most was photoshop and aftereffects, and i loved using those two, i'm sure it's popular, i began to wonder how much i could accomplish using these two pieces, .... (lost, learning the methods ) i really wanted to see what i could accomplish
16:03:03 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So i never set out to become an animation director, i was 30 before i even considered what i wanted to do, it was a sort of turn of events, before i knew it, i knew how fun it was to create animation, and i found myself directing movies
16:03:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Lots of water color, Did you have any training in painintg that led you to do that or any training that led you to that insense color scheme
16:03:47 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Never been trained in art what-so-ever
16:04:11 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> All i can say is that i loved looking at scenery growing up in the country
16:05:16 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Since I love scenery so much, but at the same time, i wante to see what was on the other side of the mountain, but when i was 18, i left for tokyo, but first i wanted to burn in the images at home
16:05:18 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> (lost end)
16:05:41 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: in 5cms, the last section, his adult life... what inspired the music video quality to that?
16:05:54 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> how your relationship with the music in your films changes as your staff grows
16:06:47 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: So, as you said, of the 3 stories, the last is the shortest, and it's almost like a promotional music video the series
16:07:22 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> When you think about the time you spent as a child as an adult,... as a child, they were long, but as a adult, they went by
16:08:01 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And the reason we did that was because 3 years, in our grown up lives in our grown up lives pass in an instant while 3 years in kids seem like an eternity, (lost part) so that's the way i decided to depict the 3rd episode
16:08:43 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Of course, in regard to the second part, i was kinda limited when i was doing it by myself, as we grow, we get more options, i can go "hey, i'd like to use this person, or i'd like this person to do it for me."
16:09:04 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Noticed that your works have varied in length, do you have a preference for the length for your work?
16:09:39 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Since my company is small, and we don't do TV programs, we have the freedom to make it as long or short as we need
16:10:19 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So the most recent work, hoshi no ou koe, needed about 2 hours to tell the story, there are probably other stories i can tell in 5 or 10 seconds, it really depends on how long i need to tell the story
16:10:31 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> and since it was such a hardship to create a 2 hour film, i think my next one will be shorter
16:11:16 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Ito: And to tell you a backstory, originally, it was supposed to be 100 minutes, but it wasn't enough to tell the story
16:11:25 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Have you ever been offered to do a tv series?
16:12:00 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: This was answered earlier in the film panel, but i've had several offers to create a tv seires, but in order to create a weekly show, is beyond my personal capabilities at this point, so we've been turing them down
16:12:41 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: in the latest movie, you used a fantasy universe along side a love story... and more worldbuilding... are you going to use these again? normally you use actual locations instead of worldbuilding
16:13:52 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: to answer that would really depend on the story i want to tell, to go back to the beginning, this story is about going somewhere and coming back, and to do that you need to have a world that i know and i needed to create a world for her to go to and come back from
16:15:20 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> and so like i said, the homeworld for asuna is nagano prefecture, and it's a very familiar setting for a japanese person, but for agartha, i had done some work that took me to the middle east, so i used the experienceds i had there, searched the internet for locales, went to the library, so that's experienced by (??) tibet
16:15:36 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Most difficult challenges when starting your film career and how do you think that's changed?
16:16:04 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: Lets see, when i first started out, it was created something i wanted to do, so i turned my hobby into work...
16:16:31 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> so when your hobby becomes your work, you no longer have a way to relieve stress, you no longer have a hobby
16:17:31 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> and as i had turned my hobby into work, i loved creating animation, but there are business obligations, social obligations, working with others, you gotta clear it up within yourself and prioritize everything
16:17:36 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: So what's your hobby now....
16:17:41 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: I don't really have one
16:17:56 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> But I had a child about a year ago, so watching my child has become sort of a hobby for me
16:18:17 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: could you tell me about tenmon and how you came to collaborate with him
16:18:41 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: He did the music in 5cm and children, i first met him when i was working at the game company
16:19:45 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> So when we worked together, he had done the music to an opening animation i had done, and even though he was more senior in the company than i , when i went to him and asked him to do the music slightly different, he would hear me out, and would never put up a frown, so i liked working with him
16:20:19 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> And I mean he definitely is a musical talent, but that he doesn't complain when i asked him to change something may be the main reason i work with him
16:21:15 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: When you were making animation, if there was a time you felt (lost), could you share it with us?
16:22:34 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: It's not just..there are so many episodes, what first comes first mind is the reviews of my most recent film, it only came out 3 months ago, and ther eare reviews that are fantastic, and there are reviews that say its the worst film he's done, so he questions if he's qualified to be an animeation director
16:23:01 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> so i wonder to myself that there must be a more suited job for me, but i don't think there is anything else i can do at this point, so i think i'll continue to be an animation director
16:24:06 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Anime biz question.... interested in opinion on the critism that anime has gotten focused on the hardcore contingent, what do you think it would take to make anime mor accepted among the populace, or do you think it should remain a nice thing
16:24:38 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: First of all, i think the otaku culture in japan is kinda spreading right now
16:25:22 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> and in this growing otaku cluture, i think shows like madoka and k-on were created for that culture and were a big hit
16:26:20 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> so, amongst those shows, there are other shows like ghibli or pokemon, there are shows for kids, but, like the film i would create, i would like to appeal to otaku as well people who love films in general, i think there is a wide variety and that's a good thing
16:26:49 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> Q: Advice to give to people who were in the position you were in in terms of computer programs and how to get into the industry?
16:27:47 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> A: i think the advice for someone who wants to create their own work, your not constricted by making something good for business, you create something for your vision and that's a good thing
16:27:51 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> and i'm sure if you create something that you wanted to create, ther eare other people who want to see what you created, so good luck
16:27:54 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> and thank you everybody for coming
16:28:08 <bay|Ota|Shinkai> End
Notes: None