As mentioned in my last blog post, I am looking into life after leaving University, and how to best continue animating and enjoy doing it.
For years I have been obsessed with the idea of escaping from grey Britain, to the slightly warmer, slightly more Asian, slightly more perfect Japan. I love almost everything about the country and their culture, and would move there in a heart beat if given the opportunity.
On a complete whim I found a woman called Christine Tyler's twitter, where she was discussing with someone her recent move from America to Japan. I then found out she has a Youtube channel and have been an avid follower since, watching all of her videos. This one however was the most helpful as she answers common questions about what it is actually like living in Japan. Saying this, all of her other videos are so lovely to watch, whether it is a personal video about how to bake bread or a recording of a visit to a temple garden.
This has to be the best discovery I have made about Japan so far.. Basically Japan chooses three animators each year to be their artist in residence, living in the heart of Tokyo for 70 days (around two and a half months). This year the maker of 'Oh Willy' Emma De Swaef got one of the three spaces, unsurprisingly really as her animation skills are mind boggling. During your time there (if you get a space.. usually there is around one hundred applicants, aged between 20 and 35, so with varying skill and experience) you are expected to show your film at various viewings, and get the opportunity to visit some of their best animation studios and education facilities. Along with all of the various visits, each artist is expected to create a new piece of work whilst staying there. This scheme sounds so much fun, and definitely something I will look into applying for after graduating, if not in the distant future.
I also found this blog post about someone else's experience in Japan, and how they freelanced in illustration over there. Surprisingly to me, it is quite easy to get a visa in Japan as a freelance artist, as long as you can prove that you are creating work while you are out there. This visa lasts 9 months, but after your stay there you are able to apply for a top up of 6 months extra (but there is a limited amount of times you can keep doing this.)
It was also relatively easy to find this long list of only a few of Japan's animation studios. Most of them will be Anime studios, but I am sure many will be for advertising and other forms of entertainment.
It is a common thought that Japan only produces Anime style animations, but Japan along with America are actually known for their vast amount of animation styles, which means that I wouldn't necessarily have to adapt my drawing style to find opportunities for work.
One thing I can justify doing (If I am unable to get a visa or any other way of working there), is to go on a holiday to visit. You are able to spend 60 days in Japan without a visa. As I am hoping to go to Hong Kong next summer with Chris to visit some of his many relatives, we were planning to perhaps fly from there to Japan for a few days before returning back to the UK. If that trip is successful I think after leaving University I may save to go on a long holiday there where I can collect ideas and items to inspire me to create different illustrations and animations when I return.