The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Japanese will be a feature length documentary that explores Japan from the most northerly point, to the southern tip of the four main islands. This will take us from Cape Sōya of Hokkaidō down to Cape Sata of Kyūshū and of course the entire journey will be undertaken by hitchhiking (and the occasional ferry ride!). This is a journey of a minimum of 1700 miles (2700km) and due to the nature of hitchhiking, undoubtedly will be many hundreds of miles more with the inevitable interesting detours we will take with our generous Japanese drivers.
This film will be an exploration into a lesser seen side of Japan outside of the big cities of Tokyo and Osaka and into the rural cultural soul of the country. We will conduct micro interviews with the drivers who are adventurous enough to take us up on the journey to gain an understanding of the real Japan. Not only this, but we will include tips for travelling, hitchhiking and the film will act as a general travel guide for anyone considering their own Japanese excursion.
Along the journey Dean will be taking a collection of HDR photographs for backers to use royalty free, while Emma will create digital paintings and animated cinemagraphs of interesting sights. We are even giving backers the opportunity to give feedback on an early rough cut of the final documentary. This will not only allow you to voice your thoughts on the final edit, but also give an insight to budding film makers on the creative process.
All in all this will be a fantastic journey with some great rewards on offer exclusively to you, the backers. So lets make this creative endeavor happen!
Just before we launched the Kickstarter campaign, InsideJapan Tours came on board as an official sponsor. InsideJapan offers a wide range of unique small tours, imaginative self guided adventures and fully tailored cultural experiences across the many islands that make up Japan. We are really excited to have the support from InsideJapan and are sure that their experience and advice will undoubtedly benefit the whole trip.
To see more about what InsideJapan Tours has to offer, feel free to have a look around their website.
As a bonus tier for fans of short films I'm bundling in my most recent short 'Franglais'. A part French, part English language dark comedy set in the Côte d'Azur. This Kickstarter campaign will be the only place to get access to the film before potential festival screenings next year. It is still in post production, final grade, music and dual language subtitling should be completed within the next couple of months, but here is a kickstarter special teaser trailer to give you a taste of what you can expect (warning: contains some strong language).
'Franglais' also provides a great example of colour keys/ scripts that we are providing as part of the 'Filmmaker' reward. A selection of the colour keys from the film can be seen here.
To finish, I want to include a quote from the book The Hitchhickers Guide to Japan by Will Ferguson.
"The biggest single advantage that hitchhikers have over other travelers is this: As a hitchhiker you have an ally―the driver. The Japanese are remarkably dependable once they have taken ad hoc responsibility for you...This is what makes hitchhiking Japan such a unique experience. Western individualism meets Japanese kindness, and together they travel down the road."
Risks and challenges
This project faces one key risk and one key challenge.
The main risk is of course is hitchhiking itself. However there are important considerations that we have already taken into account to curb that risk.
• There are no laws governing hitchhiking in Japan, so it is not illegal.
• Our destination is flexible ("South") & slower secondary roads will benefit the film.
• The Japanese are very friendly & we're not the first westerners to have hitchhiked Japan
• Japan boasts one of the worlds lowest crime rates.(Robbery per 100,000 people in 2012. UK = 137, Japan = 4)
Our main challenge will be the language barrier for conducting good interviews. To counter this we have taken several steps:
• We both studied Japanese for over 4 months before our arrival in Japan
• We have found our language improving more rapidly since we landed.
• We will have been speaking with Japanese people everyday for 3 months.
• We are preparing a hitchhiking & interview language document with help from Japanese friends so we have a large amount of appropriate vocabulary.
• The people that choose to stop are more likely to speak at least a little English as they decided to pick up two westerners.
• All Japanese spoken in the final cut of the film will be translated and subtitled into English.
So although we have risks and challenges as with any ambitious project, we have taken precautions and steps to minimise any trouble and we do not doubt that our documentary will be completed in full.
+"Official Sponsor" title with your logo in opening and closing credits
+"Official Sponsor" graphics & links on all marketing and screening material
+I'll write a personalised guest blog post to promote your services
•Name in film credits •HD download of the final film •Bonus footage/ outtakes •Collection of cinemagraphs •Illustrations •HDR photographs •HD 'Franglais' short film •Early access rough cut & feedback