A Client’s Pain Is Your Gain
Art schools are great. They offer a unique social development experience that simply can’t be found anywhere else while also training you on an elite level in your chosen field.
However, as with most institutionalized learning, they often only focus on teaching you skills that they feel may be desirable in the eyes of an employer so you have a better chance of landing a nine-to-five job. This mindset can often amount to little more than performing as a creative factory worker.
Granted, a bad day in a creative field is better than a good day in just about any other field, but what about those with an entrepreneurial spirit that want to aspire to something greater? Finely-honed artistic production skills are not enough.
Understanding real-world, high-level guerilla business and marketing practices is essential if you want to flourish in your own professional endeavors, else be relegated to punching someone else’s clock. However, without a deep understanding of why businesses are in business in the first place, yours will inevitably struggle and most likely die a slow, painful death, joining the 90 percent failure rate of all startups.
On the other hand, if you consider that clients are the lifeblood of any business and if you can answer one disarmingly simple, yet jaw-droppingly epic question, you’ll be on the right path to joining the minority of successful startups.
What do your clients
Find the Pain All businesses provide a product or service, but the product or service is not in and of itself what your clients want. All they really want is a solution to a specific problem.
Sadly, pain is a much stronger motivator than pleasure, so if you dig deep enough to identify a client’s pain, you’ll discover the true reason they want or need your product or ser- vice and, more importantly, how you can best serve them by providing the best solution. Sending the Right Message
After identifying your clients’ deepest pain, your website and all of your marketing messages need to be crafted to convey this solution. For example, in the over saturated web design market, many companies hinge their success on promoting their technical prowess or having the ability to install the latest and greatest internet widget. Taking this approach begs the quintessential Marketing 101 question, “So what?” At first, a client only wants to know the highest, most impactful, self-serving benefit you have to offer them. Accolades, experience and team roster can come later.
Moreover, if you’re an animation house that specializes in providing animation and effects for presentations, marketing your business as “3D Animation” beckons the “So what?” question. On the other hand, “Win more clients by giving your presentations a wow factor” delivers the highest serving benefit you have to offer. If your message is strong enough, your specific deliverables are almost negligible because to reach potential clients, all you need to do is communicate that you have the solu-
“The storm follows the two main characters in the first episodes, becomes quite big in episode three, disappears, and comes back in the finale during the confrontation between the old and new gods,” explains Perceval. “It was created using a combination of matte paintings, putting displacements in Nuke, layering it, trying to get the parallax and the perspective. The storm itself was fully CG. One of our effects artists developed a tool for it; he managed to create a custom volume deformer from his effects simulations, and get the shape and speed that we wanted.”
The lighting had to be adjusted, especially for the final episode. “It was all shot without clouds. At that time the color pipeline was not fully set up. They had this idea of the shot get-
Whisper of the Heart ( Mimi wo sumaseba, 1995) is one of few Studio Ghibli films that can be called underappreciated. Although the film was a hit in Japan — fans even organized tours of the Tama Hills area of Tokyo, where most of action unfolds — it’s never received the attention it deserves in the U.S.
Based on a shoujo (girls’) manga by Aoi Hiiragi, Whisper is superficially a teen romance between uncertain, unfocused Shizuku Tsukishima (Brittany Snow) and determined Seiji Amasawa (David Gallagher). But Hayao Miyazaki’s screenplay is about much more.
Shizuku is a completely believable teenager on the brink of discovering who she is and who she might become. She loves to read. She writes lyrics for songs for class programs that her friends admire, but she doesn’t place much value in them. A chance encounter with Moon, a snooty cat, brings into her into contact with Seiji and his gentle grandfather (Harold Gould), whose antique shop contains an intriguing statue of an elegantly dressed cat.
Seiji is determined to become a great violin maker; he wants to travel to Cremona to study. His grandfather encourages him; his parents argue against the idea daily. Inspired by Seiji’s unwavering focus, Shizuku tries to write a story about the cat statue, “The Baron” (Cary Elwes), and his adventures. As she works, she discovers both the desire to become a writer and the work writing entails.
Created in 1997, the heyday of the Tamagotchi digital pets (which were animated that same year in a different series), Digimon is a Japanese media franchise that includes toys, virtual pets, video games, manga and trading cards. The TV series Digimon Adventure followed in 1999 and concluded a year later. Although it never matched the staggering popularity of Pokémon, which it resembles in some ways, Digimon has enjoyed enormous success with numerous television shows and theatrical features.
To mark the 15th anniversary of the end of the original Digimon Adventure, a six-part theatrical feature cycle titled Digimon Adventure tri. is in production. Reunion, the first film, was released in Japan in 2015. It and the subsequent entries in the series are being rolled out internationally — the fourth, Loss, received a theatrical release in the U.S. in February. Shout! Factory is also putting them out on DVD and Blu-ray.
All six 90-minute features are directed by Keitaro Motonaga with scripts by Yuuko Kaki- hara. That’s the equivalent of writing and directing more than two entire American TV seasons of the show — a veritable animation marathon.
In an interview conducted via email, Motonaga said, “With the help of our screenwriting team, we split and arranged big events into six parts, chasing down the main story while taking the perspective of each character into consideration. Then each piece had to be put together like an ultimate jigsaw puzzle. The most notable challenge was satisfying the audience in every chapter while simultaneously giving them high expectations for what was to come next.”
In the original Digimon Adventure, seven friends, led by Taichi “Tai” Yagami, were given digital devices and transported to the Digiworld, where the devices metamorphosed into cute creatures. (“Digimon” is an elision of “Digital Monsters,” just as “Pokémon” is an elision of “Pocket Monsters.”) Each kid was paired with a digital pet/friend; Tai got Koromon. When danger arose, the creatures could
“digivolve” into more powerful forms, capable of combating attacking monsters. In the subsequent series and films, the stories sometimes rambled confusingly, introducing new characters, new monsters and even elements taken from Norse mythology.
The tri. film cycle brings back the original cast, and is set shortly after the original broadcast series ended. The gang is entering high school, and they’ve been redesigned accordingly — Tai is taller and lankier, but his trademark mop of hair remains untamed. The members of the group have developed different interests: Tai plays soccer; Izzy is more involved with computers than ever; Matt plays in a band. Tai fears the group may lose the bond of friendship that enabled them to triumph in their earlier challenges. He didn’t need to worry: The gang reunites as they embark on new adventures and tackle new enemies and threats.
One of the challenges of any reboot is that the characters’ designs and personalities are already established. The preset nature of the characters may shorten the development phase of production, but the audience comes into the film with expectations about how the characters will look, act and interact. Failure to meet those expectations can alienate the fans the filmmakers need to attract. Motonaga says that while the preliminary work was “relatively easy,” “some aspects were difficult to control due to the characters’ strong personalities. But new bonds are depicted between the children and their Digimon; an enemy character emerges in the forefront; fierce battles take place.”
As the characters are a few years older than they were in Digimon Adventure, the filmmakers had a bit more leeway. “We rebuilt the characters taking into account their personal growth while retaining their original personalities from the original series,” Motonaga adds.
Similarly, veteran voice actor Johnny Yong Bosch, who’s taken over the role of Tai from Joshua Seth, told Anime News Network, “Usually, I would do my own research to try and figure out a little bit about the character, because obviously, I’m taking over from what somebody else did. But in this case the character is older now, so I can still do my take on it.”
Motonaga and his artists also made use of new computer techniques that weren’t available when the original series was created. “We incorporated elements of current technology to produce a more pronounced ‘coolness’ factor — while ensuring we didn’t ruin the image or feel of the original series.”
Motonaga concluded by inviting viewers to share the adventures Tai and his friends experience: “Join us as we follow the stories of children and their emotionally turbulent and beautiful journey to adulthood alongside their Partner Digimon. With the progression of each chapter comes the increased ferocity of each battle.” Digimon Adventure tri.: Reunion (2015), Determination (2016) and Confession (2017) are currently available on DVD/ Blu-Ray thru Shout! Factory. Fathom Events and Toei screened Loss in theaters Feb. 1, to be followed by Coexistence on May 10 and Future on Sept. 20.