Interview
Eiko Tanaka
Hideki Futamura's Limit Cycle, from Genius Party. © Beyond C
Tanaka is still close to the production team though she is the manager. She has face-to-face meetings with the directors in every project and discusses the concept, scenario, and continuity until totally satisfied. It seems that her attitude toward work has sunk into everyone's mind in Studio 4°C as company policy. We asked her how "Tanakaism" was spread, and about how she educates each individual employee and the organization as a whole.

"Among the total of 83 staff members in Studio 4°C, all the producers have no experience working for another company. They all joined Studio 4°C and learned the basics of production in the Studio 4°C work setting. It might be a positive factor that they have no doubt or suspicion about what they were learning since they were not exposed to other ways. We're adapting the internal free-agent system. The creators, including the directors, are called for a particular project and form a team, and leave once the project is finished. Responsibility is given to each project member according to the skill and availability of that person. In our studio, teamwork is highly required, therefore those who lack communication skills and/or have problems getting along with co-workers sometimes have to leave the team. Also those who are rejected by other staff in the team also have to go. Our films turn out to have excellent quality because our staff hates to compromise in their work; we keep their motivations high and their best performance is always expected."

Tanaka does not mind that each producer who learned her way of production is not following her way. She is fine with the fact that each producer only adapts part of her way and does business in their own way. She feels that as long as the job gets done each producer should be free to choose their own methods. She seems to be very flexible about how the work gets done, but on the other hand she is relentless to those who give up easily. She even says, "We do not need someone who says they cannot do it. They should feel happy doing what they want to do and give their best to their work."

Even though Studio 4°C has been doing so well, they have an issue with finding a distributor who has the same level of passion as Tanaka.

"Of course we have special feelings for each film we have made. We would like to show our cherished pieces to as many people as possible in the world. We need to sell them to do so, but it has been much more difficult than we have expected. There are not enough salespeople in Japan who specialize in marketing overseas. When I decided to sell Mind Game by myself to the international content market called MIPCOM, they treated films as commercial merchandise and tried to bundle it up with other films to sell. They did not even see the contents. At that time, I fully understood with disappointment that the film is after all only the merchandise for the market and the media."

To deliver the real film, not the merchandise, to the fans in the world, Tanaka is searching for a better way to circulate the products in the market.
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