Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Professional Sports vs. Video Gaming

I'd like to compare my friend Jake with his son...

Jake was telling me that his son is "computer-game crazy!" Jake was complaining that besides school work, all his son wants to do is hang out with his friends, drink sodas and eat chips and pizzas and play video games.

Jake's son loves gaming.

Jake is not interested in video games and and says they are a total waste of time.

On the other hand, Jake was telling me that he "loves sports!" Besides work, Jake says he likes to hang out with his friends and, drink beer, eat pizzas and fried chicken and watch sports on TV or go to baseball or football games.

Jake loves professional sports on TV...

Jake's son is not interested in professional sports on TV and says they are a total waste of time.

I think video games are a waste of time. I think professional sports are a total waste of time. 

Both Jake and his son, would be better off if they didn't enjoy sitting in front of a box all the time.

Jake's son has grown up just like dad... The delivery system for mind-numbing experiences has changed. That's all.

Like they say, the nut doesn't fall far from the tree.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Ignore the Wishes of Sales Department at Your Own Peril

I had dinner with a friend and business partner who is an extremely famous businessman in Japan and in New Zealand. Hell, he has even been featured in the New York Times more than once! He was the first foreigner to ever IPO a company in Japan. In fact, he brought the first two foreign owned companies to the Tokyo Stock Exchange by a foreign founder in history. From those two deals he became a many times over multi-millionaire... Gee...Do you think it might be wise for me to listen to his advice?

He was telling me about a General Manager that was just terminated a few months ago from one of Japan's largest internet services.

He told me that the guy wouldn't listen to people and especially ignored the wishes of sales department. 

Anyone with business experience knows that is a sure-fire way to failure.

My friend explained it to me like this:

"Imagine that, Mike, you are the boss of, say, a company that makes vacuum cleaners. Sales have been going consistently down for the last few years. You need to do something. You have a sales force that's been with you for years, and knows the market.

Your company desperately needs to do something to get customers back to buying your vacuum cleaners. There are a few options from designers and factories and you must choose one to be the unit line-up that you make.

The sales department all want to make model A, but you think model B is better.

So even with all the evidence that you have compiled to prove that Model B is better, Sales - the people on the ground - are convinced that A is better. You ignore the wishes of sales department - not even offering any compromise - and you manufacture Model B.

Big mistake! Why? Now sales department feels that you don't listen to them and that their opinion isn't important. The sales department thinks that you don't know what you are talking about since it is they, and not you, who are in the field talking to clients and potential buyers. 

Is this a good result?

Maybe model B is better. But sales now feels disrespected or that their opinion doesn't matter. Are they now a Gung-ho sales force ready to sell the world? Or are they a disillusioned and disgruntled group that sighs at work and goes fishing a lot or even to play pachinko?

This was the worst result that could have happened. The project will fail because the sales force won't be motivated. This error in management has happened over and over and will continue to happen.

So, in our case, we fired the guy after a couple of years. I wanted to fire him within 6 months."

It's obvious, isn't it?

Good management will often decide nothing on their own. Bad management will decide and will also be obstinate. Good management will gather all important parties and have a discussion - even several - and try to gather a consensus and come to the best decision. Bad management doesn't. If there is a hung jury or a decision cannot be made by staff, then and only then, should management step in and make a decision. 

Bad management decides and then informs.

This is common business sense and well known professional management technique. To do otherwise is to risk your own job.

Ignore the wishes of sales staff and your own staff at your own peril!

For a more detailed description of these techniques and how to use them to keep your job! Please read the multi-million selling management books by Chris Collins, "Built to Last - The Successful Habits of Visionary Companies" and "From Good to Great - Why Some Companies Make it and Others Don't."

Monday, January 8, 2018

My Interview on BBC Flagship News Program, Newsday!

I was interviewed in Russia on Dec. 14, 2017, by Kasia Madera the main host of the BBC flagship news program, Newsday! Newsday is broadcast to over 200 countries and has 90 million viewers a day! We talked about "Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story" and the 2017 Sochi International Film Festival and Awards! Thanks Kasia! See you in Japan soon! 

12月14日ソチ国際映画祭のためにロシア・ソチに滞在中、プロデューサーのマイク・ロジャースが、カシア・マデラさん(英国BBC放送のNewsday ー毎日全世界200カ国900万人が視聴する番組ーのメインニュースキャスター)から映画「ゴーストロード」とソチ国際映画祭についてインタビューを受けました!カシアさん!ありがとうございます!放送日が決定したらお知らせします。

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

First Hollywood Divorce of 2018? Ronald McDonald & Colonel Sanders? Only in Japan!

There is a place in Japan that could be considered "Fast Food Heaven." It's a place in Japan where there is a McDonald's next door to a KFC. I have been going by here every Summer Holidays and New Year's for over 25 years!

I have been told that this is the only place in the entire world where a McDonald's stands right next door to a Kentucky Fried Chicken. They are supposed to be enemies. 

They don't normally open shop next to each other. But here they are. 

It's a sort of like a North and South Korea Demilitarized Zone excepting with french fries and chicken nuggets.
It is well known that the Colonel is fond of young spring chickens.

But, in a secret place in Japan, there they stand; A McDonalds shop open right next door to a KFC. 

I have even been inside these places a few times over the last twenty-five years or so. Until recently, it seems that Ronald and the Colonel did get along quite well... Sometimes, over the years, I wondered if they didn't get along a tad bit too well... 

Fraternizing with the enemy is treasonous and usually carries a penalty of death by firing squad.

So, I can understand Ronnie and Harlan wanting to be discreet.

I hear this is the only place in the entire world where a McDonalds and a 
Kentucky Fried Chicken stand next door to each other. 
I'd tell you where this is, but don't wanna ruin the neighborhood with tourists!

Up until this year, it seems that the Colonel and Ronald had gotten along quite well in this corner of the world. They stood right next to each other smiling. I could imagine all the great chats they had with each other and the friendly bragging about whose lunch set was the best deal or whose breakfast buns were hottest...

At this special place in Japan, the McDonald's and The KFC, even shared the second-floor dining space so that a customer could walk from one restaurant's dining area to the other. Really! You could buy a burger while your friend bought a chicken sandwich and you could still eat at the same table upstairs where two worlds met.

It was a match made in heaven! 

For the school kids in this town it was a dream come true: Perhaps after junior high school, Keiko would pack her bags and meet her secret lover Joji, from the local boys school at the second floor of KFC & Micky D's! Keiko loved burgers! Joji, wanted fried chicken.... So happiness could be met, they could be discreet, and their love could bloom at this place where the oceans met; where day met night; a place where opposites attract: Where the second floor of McDonalds connected with the second floor of KFC.

It was a truly unique place where the dreams of potatoes could fly with the dreams of MacShakes. Joji and Keiko could meet on the second floor and their love, as well as their appetites, could be satiated....

Of course, dear reader can imagine what other possibilities this offered Ronald and Harlan after dark when the shops had closed and the staff all gone home... And, with them, both Har and Ron (as they affectionately called each other) had to go back to their respective rooms... But wait! What about the connecting second-floor from one bedroom to the other, er, I mean, from one restaurant to the other? 

I can't imagine that Harlan and Ronnie sat downstairs all night and watched the darkened cash registers... Who knows what sort of hijinks went on between those two at night?

Well, judging by what I saw today at these restaurants, there's a trouble in Fast Foodland. Instead of both Ronald and the Colonel standing side by side smiling, Ronald has his back turned away from the Colonel. It looks like Ronald is pissed off about something and no longer even wants to see the Colonel's face!

The Colonel, being much older and more experienced with tender meat, realizes that appearances are important and he doesn't want the neighbors to start rumors so he's taking it all in stride. 

Ronald having a triple quarter-pound McHissy fit and acting like a poncy hairdresser. 
I asked the Colonel what was going on, but he had no comment.

I wondered why there was trouble in paradise and so I tried to investigate.
I walked to the upstairs area and was shocked to see that the joined dining areas are no longer joined together. There's a dividing wall that has been built. These areas were connected for years! They were best friends! 

They must have had one hellacious fight.

No more Keiko and Joji meeting for burgers and chicken after school; no more midnight escapades between Harland and Ronnie. 

I walked across the street to ask my old friend Mister Donut if he knew what had happened, but Mister Donut had moved. He was gone. No forwarding address. No nothing!

We'll probably never find out what really happened between Ronald and the Colonel... Maybe it's best we don't. It is probably too late to repair hurt feelings and broken hearts anyway...

2018 has just begun and with it, the dreams and hopes of millions for a better world.

But, in this one corner of the world, in this tiny town of Japan, 2018 has brought about the first "Hollywood Divorce" of the year: Ronald McDonald and Colonel Sanders are no longer friends in Japan. In fact, Ronald doesn't even want to see his old buddy Colonel Sanders' face anymore.

Could the year start off any worse?

It makes me sick.. All this talk about McD's and KFC... It's enough to mess up my stomach.

Independent Filmmakers! Get Theatrical Distribution in Japan! The Mt. Fuji - Atami Film & VR Festival

Would you like your film to get theatrical release and distribution in Japan? Award winners at The Mt. Fuji - Atami Film & VR Festival get just that because of The Mt. Fuji - Atami Film & VR Festival festival partners: Japan's biggest theatrical chain and Asia's largest satellite TV network! They are also supported by the Busan International Film Festival and their sister festival in Europe, the ÉCU European Independent Film Festival. 

The Mt. Fuji - Atami Film & VR Festival claims to be Japan's best independent international film festival supporting young talent around the world. 

They have six categories and twelve awards along with a gala opening and closing ceremony in Atami - The Hollywood of Japan!

Mt. Fuji overlooks the seaside resort of Atami. Atami is famously known as a seat for traditional geisha culture and has been called the “Naples of Japan.” But in June, Atami becomes the “Hollywood of Japan.”

Their mission statement says: 

"Creating dreams and hope through cinema is our vision. Returning Japan to the glory days of cinema for young filmmakers and independent artists is the goal of The Mt. Fuji – Atami Film & VR Festival. The Mt. Fuji Atami Film & VR Festival provides the perfect place for independent filmmakers and virtual reality creators to show their talents and art to the Japanese as well as people from around the world. The Mt. Fuji – Atami Film & VR Festival aspires to become Japan’s premiere, world-class film and virtual reality festival. We embrace ideas and innovation with creativity and we give independent directors a real competition to showcase their films and virtual reality projects to audiences who appreciate and love independent cinema."

Film categories include:
*Narrative Feature 
*Narrative Short
*Documentary Feature 
*Narrative Short Documentary 
*Short Animation 
*Music Videos 
*Virtual Reality and New Media

Because of their partners. award winners and nominated films are eligible for nationwide theatrical distribution, DVD distribution and TV broadcasting in Japan. Awards also are given to Virtual Reality winners.

The Mt. Fuji – Atami Film & VR Festival (MFAFF) is an annual film festival meant to showcase innovative independent cinema and new virtual reality from around the world by up-and-coming artists. As well as award-winning works selected by our sister festival in Europe: The  ÉCU European Independent Film Festival and advisory from The Busan International Film Festival.

MFAFF hopes to be the voice and representation for films with a unique voice and message, regardless of how low the budget might be.

They also add: "We are aiming to inspire, motivate and award new talent with a revitalized film festival that all of Japan can be proud of.

The Mt. Fuji – Atami Film & VR Festival accepts all forms and genres: short films, medium length films, feature films, drama, experimental, comedy, horror, slow cinema, science fiction, fantasy, animation, documentary and they allow for special prizes for students and films shot in Atami. They also have a special Virtual Reality center to showcase new Virtual Reality projects and creators.

The Mt. Fuji – Atami Film & VR Festival aspires to become Japan’s most famous and successful film and Virtual Reality festival.

Mt. Fuji Atami Film & VR Festival proudly accepts entries via, the world's best online submission platform. FilmFreeway offers free HD online screeners, unlimited video storage, digital press kits, and more. Click to submit with FilmFreeway.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Random Thoughts, Notes and New Year's Resolutions for 2018

I'm in Japan. We are the first country on the International Dateline, so while you folks are still living in the past, we are in the future here and it's already Jan. 1, 2018.

See? Japan is cool! But you already knew that.

Photo by Sonny King Lucy's Crown 

Time for me, as your favorite sort-of-famous time-traveler person, who is already into the future, to waste yours and my time writing Random Thoughts, Notes and New Year's Resolutions for 2018. My scribbles from Japan on the morning of Jan. 1, 2018... While you folks are still living in the past! Bwa! Ha! Ha! 

OK, so put your thinking caps on cause this stuff is going to get convoluted.

Resolution #1: In 2018, I must be even more of a Grammar Nazi than ever before. 

We must be ever more resolute in correcting the atrocious shit our peers write. Jeez Louise! Look at lots of this crap on Facebook or Social Media! What will the Chinese be thinking when they take us over and their English is better than 70% of our peers? I won't have it. So, we must redouble our efforts to teach people 3rd grade grammar so that, "there writing and grammar wont be so bad that they're sentences are unreadable and you're understanding is than incorrect."

You get the idea right?

Resolution #1.1: In 2018, I must be even more of a Grammar Nazi for myself. 

Yesterday, I was drinking early (at home) to beat the crowds for New Year's holidays. I was tipsy and writing.* I put up a post I thought was controversial but funny. I figured everyone would get the joke.

This morning when I woke up, I realized that: I must be even more of a Grammar Nazi in 2018, even to myself. I'm usually pretty careful of this sort of thing because I try not to sound stupid as much (as little?) as possible. But I have to be ever (even?) more diligent this year.** 

Last night I put a post of me (myself?) wearing my favorite new T-Shirt on Facebook. It is (was?) a T-Shirt with my drinking buddy, Russian President Vlad Putin on it. The T-shirt says, "My president" on it. ("Upon the T-shirt it is written?")

I wrote, "Vladimir Putin. My President! My favorite T-Shirt." I laughed and closed my PC and went to bed.

Oh lordy. I woke up this morning with 24 private messages and a bunch of other comments that seem to take the "My president" part seriously. People were warning me about being a Russian sympathizer; Putin is a bad guy, Donald Trump, blah, blah (they were serious too!).... I should have explained that the shirt says, "My president" in Cyrillic script (That's Russian alphabet for all you dumb illiterates out there.) I don't mean, "Putin is my president." I meant that's what the T-Shirt said.

My bad. I will be more diligent (diligenter?) from the new year.

The guilty post and evidence #1 of Russian Collusion?

Resolution #2: In 2018, don't drink so much when writing. 

How often does this happen to you? You get shit-faced and then write some pissed off rant directed at everybody and their mother, then you awake the next morning and realize that you were a drunken asshole? Trust me, it happens far too often than I can remember (of course I can't remember, I was drunk!)

Of course, when drinking, it is difficult to control oneself so, either don't write when drinking or just don't drink when writing. OK? And, even more importantly, definitely DO NOT take your PC to a bar and drink with friends while making a business presentation!

Dammit! In March of 2017, I was at a bar and making a business presentation for my movie Ghostroads - A Japanese Rock n Roll Ghost Story (Trailer here: when my drunk friend stood up and knocked a full beer right on top of my MacBook Pro. No shit! The nearly full glass of beer was knocked over and suddenly the entire world was in slow motion... I watched helplessly as... The glass... The beer... Slowly... Spilling.... over my MacBook keyboard... 

I was trapped in some sort of "Imobilo" ray that freezes it's victims into slow motion as I helplessly watched the flood flow across the keyboard of the PC..... MY PC!!!

I was frozen, unable to move as I watched my entire life washed away by beer on my MacBook Pro. It was worse than Katrina. Dammit! 

Resolution #2.1: 
"Write drunk at home. Edit sober."

That'll fix LOTS of problems.

Resolution #2.2 (ver 2.1 update with security repairs): Don't be stupid and take your PC to a bar where you or your idiot drunk friends can dunk your PC under a tsunami of beer, sinking your plans faster than the Titanic where that slutty chick survives while Dicaprio (deservedly) dies an excruciating death.

Artist's rendition of the great MacBook Pro disaster of 2017.

Resolution #3: Eat Healthy and exercise in 2018... 

Now, this is the most important one... THE ONE... That we, we, er... Snicker... We really need to get... Get... Seriou....Get serious abou.... Bwa! Ha! Ha! Yeah, right. We say this shit every year. Nothing happens... Forget it. Have a drink willya?

Resolution #4: Try to keep our mouths shut and not say so many stupid things.

In 2018, let's try to control ourselves and keep our mouths shut and not say so much stupid shit that no one really cares about. Nor should we pontificate to others about crap we know little about (and those people around care even less). 

A quote attributed to Mark Twain should be a rule for 2018: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." (Actually, this quote is even older and appears in the bible from Proverbs 17:28: ”Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

Point: Keeping our mouths shut in 2018 is the best way to not be considered an idiot. Let us never forget this important point. 

Resolution #5: In 2018, Watch More Cambodian Space Project.

Psychedelic rock band from Cambodia. Need I say more?

Resolution #6: In 2018, "Expect the Unexpectable." (apologies to Julien Poulson)

Some seriously weird stuff has happened to me right at the end of 2017. I am also expecting lots more weird shit to happen to everybody (ever see that movie, "The Truman Show"? Yeah? OK. We're on the same page.) So, as I say, "Expect the unexpectable." 

Good things happen to those who make their own luck and make things happen. Go the extra mile, make the extra effort in 2018 and good things will happen to you. Actually, I am serious about that. Oh, and keep our traps shut.

Well, I wanted some snappy one-liners to end this article, but I ain't got any. I do have just some more random thoughts.

2017 was the year of Crypto-currency. 

I believe that 2018 will truly be the Year of the Robot. Robots are going to start taking menial jobs (like at Burgerworld). So, if a robot is about to take that job at your local Burger-o-Rama, do not fear! Just remember the Laws of Hamburger Robotics: 

A) A robot shall not cause harm to any hamburger or to the human devouring that hamburger - nor through inaction - allow harm to that hamburger or to the human devouring it.

It's the Hamburger Robot Code. Remember it.

Fear not the robot! 

It's too late to fear anyway. 2018 is here.

Happy New Year!

*= An asterisk
**= Two asterisks


Dedicated to: Masami Tajima, Stephen David Brooks, Koji Kamibayashi, James Santagata, Ken Nishikawa, Kanae Hara, Takatoshi Uchiyama, John Ferriter, Candice Anne Marshall, Alex Kish, Roger Marshall, Lee Popa, Nina Hagen Daz, Michael McThrow, Marc Platt, Hideo Kitabayashi and all my friends everywhere.

Jerry says, "I want food."

Top 3 New Video Countdown for April 17, 2021! Kinoko Hotel, Lousekateers, Amanda Stone, Grrrl Gang!

  Welcome to the Top 3 New Video Countdown for April 17, 2021!  Also, CALLING ALL INDIES BANDS! Don't forget about the  2021 Ninja Indie...