All posts in “producer”

On Becoming a Professional…

In the 1975 classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Horror film, “Rocky Horror Picture Show” (based on the 1973 Broadway Hit musical) a memorable refrain for all in show business to whom that production inspired, was the song and words of Dr. Frankenfurter (and the entire cast): “Don’t dream it. Be it.”

After all these years in production of TV and radio (and now film) I think I completely understand what this (“Be it.”) means: Not only does it mean that you should have dreams and try to be your dream in life, it concurrently means, “If you want to “be it” you have to be professional, you must act professional.” It is simple. That’s what, “Don’t dream it, be it” means: Be professional.

Because to really be what you dream about means that you must become a professional at it; it doesn’t matter if your dream is to become an actor or actress, professional sports player, musician, stunt pilot, photographer, writer, nurse or doctor. “To be it” means to live it and support yourself and your family financially by “being it.”

If you want to, “Be it,” then that means you must be professional. To be professional, you must act professional.

Demand professionalism and perfection from yourself and everybody else; but YOU, yourself, must do so first.

More than twenty years ago, when I was a struggling radio and TV producer (and after making some real bad programs – many got cancelled after a few months) it finally dawned upon me…. One day (by repeated effort or blind luck), I stumbled upon a way to make great programs.

At that time, I studied a lot and I often borrowed from those that inspired me in my youth; and that one day it all fell together and it “clicked.”

I want to use the word, “formula” or “plan” or “chemistry,” I don’t know what word to use exactly, but I found a “way” to make great shows each and every time.

It was like a light clicked on in my head, and all of a sudden, I knew; I understood everything that it required to make great shows. And, because I knew, I was able to replicate it over and over and consistently each and every time. I know my program partner, George Williams, also understood at that time too, because we discussed it. We knew then what it takes to be professional… Not just professional, but good professionals!

I felt no longer that I wanted to make a good show; I wanted to make great shows; shows that people would remember for twenty years long after the shows were gone. In Japanese, we call it, 伝説な番組 (Densetsu na Bangumi) “A legendary program.” I have been lucky enough to have people tell me, in my entire lifetime, that I made, so far, three legendary programs.

I thank God for my luck in being in the right place at the right time.

I knew then how to make one of the best radio shows in the world. I no longer cared about making the “best show at the station.” I rallied the team to know – and to believe – that we were making the best show in all of Asia and a show that is on par, if not better, than anything on the radio in London, New York or Los Angeles. I really do know that was the case.

And I was able to get my entire team to believe that. No! I got my entire team to KNOW that we were making one of the best radio programs in the entire world.

And when you get a team of people to believe, to really know, that they are a part of something that is one of the best in the world, then you have an awesome amount of power.

When you work for that goal, learn all you can from others; read voraciously; have an open mind; borrow from past greats… And most importantly, as my friend Roger Marshall adds,

“It is important to surround ourselves with others who are better and who can challenge and support us.”


Then perhaps, one day, it will come… That’s the moment the light will go on in your head too. You will “know.” Suddenly it becomes easy…

When this happened to me – I think it was in the mid-late nineties – I believe that was the moment that I finally became professional….

It was also the moment that I decided to work on being more humble. Because being humble and being able to ask people for help when needed, is a sign of good management, maturity and professionalism.

Here are some quotes that I would hope dear reader would look over and ponder… Especially the last one by David Bowie.

“There was a moment when I changed from an amateur to a professional. I assumed the burden of a profession.” ― Agatha Christie

“When passion blends with profession it turns into a masterpiece…” ― Ramana Pemmaraju

“What makes you great is not what you do but, how you do what you do” ― Constance Chuks Friday

“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.” ― Steven Pressfield

“If you learn how to master yourself, you stand a good chance of learning how to master your job.” ― Auliq Ice

“There are three qualities that make someone a true professional. These are the ability to work unsupervised, the ability to certify the completion of a job or task and, finally, the ability to behave with integrity at all times.” ― Subroto Bagchi

“Skills or professionalism is another factor of growth” ― Sunday Adelaja


“As you get older, the questions come down to about two or three. How long? And what do I do with the time I’ve got left?” – David Bowie


NOTE: Anytime I write anything about being a quality professional, I am constantly reminded of my friend, Roger Marshall of Odgers Bernstein. Roger is the consummate professional in Japan.


PLEASE READ: The Best Producers in Japan I Have Ever Met!


At Robot55 we make video productions for businesses and services and products, but we also pride ourselves on making videos for art and music. Our starting price is ¥70,000 and we are sure we can work out something that fits your budget. Oh, and we love making band videos too! Contact us!

ROBOT55 はビジネス、商業、製品紹介動画の制作のみならず、アートや音楽の映像も創っております。ビジネス動画においてはウェブ動画時代の到来に合わせ、お求めや すい¥70,000という格安価格より承ります。ご予算に応じて皆様にご満足のいく高品質動画を制作致します。勿論インディー・バンド向けPV制作も行っ ております。よ!


ビ デオ編集格安、ビデオ撮影格安、動画制作東京、格安ビデオ制作, 格安, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー,  格安, ビジネスビデオ制作, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー, A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story, Japanese, Rock n Roll, Producer, Japan, Tokyo, Becoming Professional, how to become professional, Robot55

The Best Producers in Japan I Have Ever Met!

After more than 30 years working in TV and radio in Japan and actually being in the music business since 1978 (37 years as of 2015) and working with so many producers that I can’t count (nor remember) them all, I’d like to give a nod to the best ones I’ve worked with. There are five producers who I think were the best and they have really influenced me.

Mostly though, today, I want to talk about a producer who I think, for me, is the best producer I have ever met in Japan. His name is Motoyoshi Tai.

Why is he the best producer? Well, all five of these guys I know and who have inspired me make great productions; Mr. Tai has an extra “Sixth Sense” about him. What I mean to say is that he seems to never get mad! He has taught me patience! And for an obsessive guy like me, patience is important!

The other 4 producers who really impressed me over these nearly 40 years are; Mr. Mizuno, Mr. Shinya Ohta, Mr. Atsushi Uchino, Mr. Kimitoshi Takeyama. I wrote a bit about Mr. Mizuno below. Mr. Ohta, Mr. Uchino and Mr. Takeyama have impressed me because the productions they make are top quality and I really respect and trust them; everybody does. And are the most honest producers I have ever met… Trust me, there are LOTS of dishonest producers!

Trust is something that take a long time to get, but just one action to destroy. Those three guys are so honest, it is their sales and charm point. People will follow them. They all taught me well.

Mr. Tai is an extremely honest guy too but, for me, his advantage is completely different and on a more cerebral level. He is a different sort of producer. He has taught me the most useful thing of all, I’d say. I already know that being honest all the time matters. Mr. Tai was most impressive to me not because of anything in particular of what he does or says, but because of what he doesn’t do or say; Mr. Tai is sort of like a “Zen Buddhist producer.” He never seems to get upset and is always patient and calm and in a good mood; yet even when people screw things up, he gets the job done and done well. He is such a nice guy that it seems it is impossible to get mad at him. The guy NEVER gets upset, it seems.

This is why he has impressed me so much.

Let me explain:

I have been working on a program that is the “Set Program” with the smash hit animation of the summer of 2015 in Japan: Ninja Slayer from Animation. That program is called “The TV Show.”

To explain what the TV show is; Every week on the Ninja Slayer from Animation program, the famous Japanese rock band, the Boom Satellites, performs the opening theme. Also, for every week’s ending theme, a different, cool, underground Japanese band performs the ending song.

The TV Show is sort of a “Making of Ninja Slayer from Animation” program: We interview the gang who actually make Ninja Slayer from Animation and we also interview the artists who perform the ending themes.

The TV Show’s concept was like this: “Imagine if Monty Python hosted a musical artist interview show.” The show was wacky and had several corners inside to add to the “Monty Pythonish mood.” We are proud to say that our show is a smash hit and we had over 10 million viewers in the first 5 months.

In the blue boxes, announcements about The TV Show and "Over 10 million viewers in under 6 months!"

In the blue boxes, announcements about The TV Show and “Over 10 million viewers in under 6 months!”

The TV Show concept was created by me and Ken Nishikawa. Actually, Ken does all the hevy work, I sleep on the sofa during editing. Of course, both Ken and I come up with all the ideas for the show.

During these six months of shooting and producing the show, there’s been so many scheduling mistakes and problems. Mr. Tai is in the middle. He has to coordinate between the Ninja Slayer from Animation folks, a record label, a publishing company and me. And I am really stubborn when it comes to work.

There have been many times when I was upset about scheduling changes and demands from other parties concerning our show that I was pulling my hair out. Sometimes I would get upset and call Mr. Tai. But, no matter what happened, Mr. Tai would always calmly talk to me and clam me down and tell me that he’s discuss it with other people.

I often think he didn’t discuss it with anyone else because it seemed, in many cases, nothing would change.

This sort of thing happened repeatedly; I’d get mad, call up Mr. Tai. He’d calm me down and then we’d repeat the process again in a few weeks.

I have lots of other projects going on now, besides the TV Show, and all sorts of ridiculous things are happening all the time. I get absurd complaints from people that make no sense at all. The worst ones are from people who contradict themselves, but they don’t seem to realize they are doing so.

One day, when I was really frustrated with idiotic nonsensical complaints (totally lacking in business common sense) from people I work with, I wanted to scream. Then it dawned upon me; I thought, “How would Mr. Tai handle this?”

Why, he’d handle it with a smile and kind words and he’s not get bent outta shape. He’d say he’d try to do something about it and would ask other team members or staff what to do.

But, and this is the most important part; Mr. Tai would always calm the other people down who were complaining and that’s the key! Calming upset people down is an art form! Maybe Mr. Tai became this way because he has become legendary in working with many of Japan’s most famous artists and musicians, in movies and music for years! And we all know how difficult famous rock musicians can be! (Here is Mr. Tai’s Wiki page – sorry in Japanese only:

Getting mad or getting into an argument, no matter how ridiculous the other side is, won’t help anybody; especially in Japan!

Mr. Tai is a great producer. It’s not because he makes stuff like Steven Spielberg (maybe someday he will) but it’s because he has shown me the way to not go crazy in this business working with Prima Donnas and selfish crazy people.

Ultimately, Mr. Tai has taught me patience. He has taught me to not sweat the little things… Because, trust me, for a producer, there are millions of little things going on all the time. Mr. Tai has taught me to stay focused on the big picture.

And, for that, that is why I think Motoyoshi Tai is the best producer I have ever met.


*There was one more producer who really impressed me who I worked with about 27 years ago in the mid-eighties. His name Mizuno Kiyoshi. He was a “Take no prisoners” kind of guy. He once taught me that a good producer will do anything to get his hands on what he wants.

We sat in a coffee shop and he pointed to an ashtray and said to me: “Mike! If you wanted that ashtray and I told you that I would give it to you if you got down on your hands and knees and begged me. Would you do it?”

As a brash and foolish young man, I said, “No!”

Mizuno san replied, “Then you will never make a good producer. A good producer will do anything to get what he wants. A good producer would get on his hands and knees and beg. Because a few seconds of shame and embarrassment, means nothing when you get what you want in your hands and you have that forever.”

I know many people would find this sort of thinking distasteful. But this was, I think, the way producers used to be.

I have never forgotten that lesson. I have gotten many good jobs for my company talent because I would get on my knees and beg.

I’ve done it dozens of times. And everytime I did, the decision maker on the other side I was pleading with would say, “OK! OK! Get off your knees! We’ll do it.”

You might think I jest, but I don’t. People who know me well, know this is no exaggeration.

Mr. Mizuno was an old fashioned style producer: No nonsense, but I think if you weren’t careful and watched what you were doing, he would run over you like a truck. He taught me to be very careful.


Hey! We’re making a “Japanese Rock N Roll Ghost Story” Movie. The Crowdfunding campaign ends on Sept. 29, 2015. Please check out the trailer (with full English subtitles!) at the very top of this link:


At Robot55 we make video productions for businesses and services and products, but we also pride ourselves on making videos for art and music. Our starting price is ¥70,000 and we are sure we can work out something that fits your budget. Oh, and we love making band videos too! Contact us!

ROBOT55 はビジネス、商業、製品紹介動画の制作のみならず、アートや音楽の映像も創っております。ビジネス動画においてはウェブ動画時代の到来に合わせ、お求めや すい¥70,000という格安価格より承ります。ご予算に応じて皆様にご満足のいく高品質動画を制作致します。勿論インディー・バンド向けPV制作も行っ ております。よ!


ビ デオ編集格安、ビデオ撮影格安、動画制作東京、格安ビデオ制作, 格安, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー,  格安, ビジネスビデオ制作, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー, A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story, Japanese, Rock n Roll, Motoyoshi Tai, Producer, Japan, Tokyo,ニンジャスレイヤー フロムアニメイシヨン, ニンジャスレイヤー

More Exciting (and Bizarre) Animations!〜おもしろい動画をご紹介

Just over a week ago, I posted an article that featured some very cool animations by a Stop-Motion animator named Adam Pesapane who is better known as simply, “Pes.” That article featured one animation in particular that is the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar. It is called,  “Fresh Guacamole.” It is a fantastically fun animation and you can watch it and a couple of others here: Need a Break? Watch These Three Fantastic Short Animations! (

That article was extremely popular (thanks!) so today I decided to give you some more by other well-known Stop Motion Animators. Of course, this isn’t a Saturday morning kids channel matinee, so these video productions are for adults as they are kind of bizarre and, maybe a tad bit scary, for kids… Especially kids who are used to something like Disney Cartoons.

First up is a guy named Dillon Markey. Dillon Markey is known for his work on The Mr. Men Show (2008), Robot Chicken (2005) and Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III (2010). Dillon has also worked with many famous animators and even Pes, so I thought he’d be cool to kick us off.

I think if I were a little kid, Dillon’s animation might give me nightmares!

In the late seventies, I used to go to an Art Cinema in Los Angeles to watch movies with my friends. I remember, at that theater, was the first time I had ever witnessed a David Lynch movie. It was “Eraserhead.” Yeah. That was a freaky movie. I saw it several times

One time before “Eraserhead” played there was a short film entitled “Asparagus.” I’ve looked for that animation for years and haven’t ever found it, until today. Alas, this is not with the original soundtrack (which was much more moody and psychedelic) but this new soundtrack also works well for me. This is awesome. It is by a band called, “KR3” who used Suzan Pitt’s animation for their music. Here’s “KR3 Fractures and Sparks.” (

You can see or buy other films by Suzan Pitt here at her personal homepage: (

Finally, these artists and their works are all very cool, but what collection would be complete without some sort of explanation or history? That brings us to the “grandfather” of all of this sort of animation who, without him, this stuff might not have ever happened. His name is Ray Harryhausen. You may not know the name, but if you were interested in 50s & 60s Science Fiction, then you definitely have seen his work.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Ray Harryhausen:

Raymond Frederick “Ray” Harryhausen (June 29, 1920 – May 7, 2013) was an American visual effects creator, writer, and producer who created a form of stop-motion model animation known as “Dynamation.” His most memorable works include the animation on Mighty Joe Young (1949), with his mentor Willis H. O’Brien, which won the Academy Award for special effects; The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), his first color film; and Jason and the Argonauts (1963), featuring a famous sword fight against seven skeleton warriors. His last film was Clash of the Titans (1981), after which he retired. Harryhausen moved to the United Kingdom and lived in London from 1960 until his death in 2013. During his life, his innovative style of special effects in films inspired numerous filmmakers including John Lasseter, Peter Jackson, and Tim Burton.

Ray Harryhausen was even friends with science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury! Wow!

Here is a compilation of some of Ray Harryhausen’s many works. If you are over 45 years old or so, I think you might like this drive down memory lane!

Recently, it seems that animations are all the rage (well, duh, this is Japan!) We at Robot55 are proud to announce that we are working with the fine folks at Ninja Slayer on bringing that exciting new animation to the world! Read about that here: Ninja Slayer Animation Begins April 16th at 11pm on Niconico (

So, until next time! Enjoy the show! I’ll have some more great videos and animations here for your pleasure next week!


ビデオ制作、格安ビデオ制作、ROBOT55, ロボット・ゴー・ゴー,