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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have three questions:
1. visa?
2. filmmaking community?
3. jobs in Kobe/Osaka?

I'm an emerging filmmaker/writer/game designer/cartoonist from New Zealand.
But I make my main income right now as a freelance writing mentor.
I'm thinking of spending 6 months in Asia to attempt to make a feature movie shot on video - at the moment I'm looking at Thailand or Japan.
Is this possible visa-wise?
Also is there a filmmaking community in Kobe?
after that, if I like it I would consider emigrating.

I have made short movies before on zero budgets.
I have a screenwriting degree and a level 6 art diploma with honours.
I've had work experience touring a children's play, working at a tv station and a radio station as well as an art gallery - but didn't really enjoy that last one.
I also have had a data entry job - which I enjoyed.

I would be open to doing some kind of job in Kobe/Osaka as well.

My plan is to make 6 short movies in 6 weeks at 15pgs/mins each week - for principal photography. And then 6 weeks (6 days/wk and 5hrs/day) of principal photography at 3pgs/mins each day. 3 months for pre and post. This will either be on a zero or micro-budget, the cast and crew would be fed and rewarded with pre-wrap, wrap and final cut parties. Ideally the cast and crew would also be paid and in most cases that is feasible, all depends on the budget - which depends on whether I can raise funding or earn enough from my creative work and/or find a job.

I'm interested in social enterprises, manga shops or publishers/anime shops or publishers/convention management and sustainable product management.

I'm a foodie. I love markets and food stalls, I'm a freelancer but also a nerd and I love travelling. fave shops would be comic shops, used bookstores, dvd stores, quiet cafes and cool restaurants. I'm a big retro gaming, tabletop gaming and arcade machine fan. I'm a fan of cosplay but not directly involved myself - though I would like to write about the scene.

I can afford the cost of travel within 2 years.
But I will need to be earning to cover cost of living. So either my freelancing picks up, I get published or I find a job in Japan.

I have been around the world a few times, and have been to Shenzen and Hong Kong - which I loved. But I haven't been to Japan before - I love the idea of Japan and I love being by the water, so Kobe would be perfect for me.
 

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unfortunately I'm 35.
Then, unless you become independently wealthy soon, I see no hope for you. You have no Japanese ability, no particular skill in any area of need, lack the funding and track record needed to qualify for anything special, and will only be in Japan for six months--you're not getting a visa that will allow you to work during this time.

If you're really determined to come to Japan, try applying to the JET Programme:

JET Programme

You'll have to agree to work a year at least, but when you're not busy teaching English, you can work on your movie as well. And whatever you do, don't demand "Kobe" if/when you apply.... (Your acceptance chances will be much higher if you will accept any placement.)
 

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There's one other possible angle. Reading between the lines on your original post, I'm guessing you're a "wannabe" filmmaker hoping to shoot some footage, edit it into something reasonable, and take a chance at it becoming a big hit. If so, you wouldn't technically be "working" while you're in Japan because you wouldn't be making any money (at the time) from just wandering around shooting video. So, in theory, you could come over as a tourist for 3 months, take a side trip outside of Japan, then come back for 3 months. I wouldn't try that any more than twice, since the powers-that-be have been cracking down on people who work under the radar on a tourist visa but, assuming it's just you shooting video and nobody is paying you to do so, you can honestly say you're not working when you show up at the Immigration booth. As of now, it's still not illegal to enter the country twice on a visa waiver.

Now... as a tourist, you probably don't want to be trying to hire people to help you or do anything else that might associate you with the business of filmmaking. But given your financial summary, I'm guessing that hiring people is the last thing on your mind. Do be aware that some things, like building facades, are assumed to be "copyrighted" and you may need to secure permission before putting them in a publicly-released film.

You should also investigate a cultural visa -- like what one gets when they come over to study martial arts or flower arranging. You might be able to find an amateur filmmaking group that would sponsor you in exchange for volunteering to work with their group while you're here. That one's a long-shot but it might be worth checking out.

You might also check to see if there are any organizations in New Zealand that would be willing to "send you over" (on your own dime, of course) to do some filming on their behalf. If it's volunteer work -- like a promotional video for a non-profit organization, you should fall into one of the non-working visa categories (the thing that triggers the need for a working visa is getting paid for activities you undertake while you're over here).

None of this addresses the issue of money. Unfortunately, unless you can demonstrate the financial wherewithal to survive without income for six months, none of the non-working visa ideas are likely to pan out. What I would recommend is that you save a bit more diligently and postpone your project until you have enough money to survive on your own. Either that or find a patron would would be willing to foot the bill for a share of the eventual profit, should your film become successful.
 

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Thinking outside of the box

I have three questions:
1. visa?
2. filmmaking community?
3. jobs in Kobe/Osaka?

I'm an emerging filmmaker/writer/game designer/cartoonist from New Zealand.
But I make my main income right now as a freelance writing mentor.
I'm thinking of spending 6 months in Asia to attempt to make a feature movie shot on video - at the moment I'm looking at Thailand or Japan.
Is this possible visa-wise?
Also is there a filmmaking community in Kobe?
after that, if I like it I would consider emigrating.

I have made short movies before on zero budgets.
I have a screenwriting degree and a level 6 art diploma with honours.
I've had work experience touring a children's play, working at a tv station and a radio station as well as an art gallery - but didn't really enjoy that last one.
I also have had a data entry job - which I enjoyed.

I would be open to doing some kind of job in Kobe/Osaka as well.

My plan is to make 6 short movies in 6 weeks at 15pgs/mins each week - for principal photography. And then 6 weeks (6 days/wk and 5hrs/day) of principal photography at 3pgs/mins each day. 3 months for pre and post. This will either be on a zero or micro-budget, the cast and crew would be fed and rewarded with pre-wrap, wrap and final cut parties. Ideally the cast and crew would also be paid and in most cases that is feasible, all depends on the budget - which depends on whether I can raise funding or earn enough from my creative work and/or find a job.

I'm interested in social enterprises, manga shops or publishers/anime shops or publishers/convention management and sustainable product management.

I'm a foodie. I love markets and food stalls, I'm a freelancer but also a nerd and I love travelling. fave shops would be comic shops, used bookstores, dvd stores, quiet cafes and cool restaurants. I'm a big retro gaming, tabletop gaming and arcade machine fan. I'm a fan of cosplay but not directly involved myself - though I would like to write about the scene.

I can afford the cost of travel within 2 years.
But I will need to be earning to cover cost of living. So either my freelancing picks up, I get published or I find a job in Japan.

I have been around the world a few times, and have been to Shenzen and Hong Kong - which I loved. But I haven't been to Japan before - I love the idea of Japan and I love being by the water, so Kobe would be perfect for me.
Howdie Mike! Super pumped for you and glad to see that you are trying to pursue your ambitions. Being 35 myself and living Japan, I believe it's always a great time to try out something new.

Now as the other people have posted here above, VISA might be the biggest wall you gotta climb.

I would recommend yet another approach. If you havemoney to stay for 2 years, you might have enough money to invest on studying Japanese. I have had Kiwi friends come over and learn the lingo in 6 months to a year of full-time study. I beleieve you can also do the same.

These are the steps I would take if I were you:

1. Apply to study English at a JSL school somewhere in Osaka (Kobe is kind of small to start--but you can reach it in 30 minutes time and with a 320 yen ride from the heart of Osaka, Umeda). I recommend ECC Gaikokugo Semongaku in Umeda.
2.Start studying the lingo and go really hard at it-- full-time commitment--no English while in school and with friends.
3. In the meantime, pick up a part-time job teaching at the same school. They usually have jobs that you can do with a student VISA to increase your income. It will probably only be enough to pay utilities and your food--but its a start.
4. Apply for jobs with schools like BERLITZ until you master Japanese enough to work in other industries. At schools like Berlitz, you may be eligible for VISA sponsorship, plus you only teach nights (from 6pm~10pmish *weekends are an exception*), PLUS you can get a nice chunk of money doing that (200,000~230,000 yen a month during busy seasons). Working at Berlitz will give you enough time to study mornings, AND free afternoons for some video shoots as well (so you can start working on your goal from day one)!
5. Once you learn the language and have enough cash flow to be established here, look for jobs at actual FILM making companies in Kobe and Osaka (once again, this might take 1~2 years--but the probability of it working is high if you dedicate yourself to it). If you do a good search using "eizouseisaku oosaka kobe," or "e-eizo Osaka/Kobe" you will get some results of companies that make PR footage for businesses in Japan. This is a way to get a foot in the door of the industry here in Japan and grow your portfolio.

I hope this helps--it is a hard bunch of steps to follow but it would be worth it.

Best of luck,
____________________________________________________________________
Language is the key into someone's world--as well as the key to open your own

Hyuga Risingsun
Philosopher Interpreter, translator, entrepreneur, philanthropist
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks

Thanks guys, that's really helpful. I've made some progress, hunting for an agent and finished a few manuscripts. With a bunch more still writing. Freelancing is starting to pick up and I'm learning game programming, animation and illustration. Also in my spare time, a social innovation mooc, game art via udemy and Japanese via an app.

I did have a director on board for a horror feature movie to be shot on video for $10k - we were going to save $5k each but we parted due to creative differences.

Still keen to take your guys' advice about saving and getting into working in Japan.

I still know a few directors so the movie is not dead, even if I end up directing myself like Kevin Smith and Hal Hartley.

It would be a dream to meet up with Takashi Miike in Japan, but doubtful that will happen because he's pretty much the only Japanese filmmaker that's come onto my radar, which means he's probably at least one of the top film directors in Japan.

I've submitted my first finished novel to a competition and if I don't place I have an acquaintance in the publishing industry who will read it and give me feedback for free and I've found a few agents to submit it to, after a good polish.

I'm writing 12 manuscripts this year (5 new) including game storylines, screenplays, a novel, 2 comics and 2 novellas. I don't drive but I'm moving into a flat in a few weeks and in October if nothing big has come through, I'll look at getting a job in the city to save up some money for my Japanese adventure.
 
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