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The Directors: Shin Murota

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AOI Pro. Inc director on his love for visually strong and weird scripts and his 'Miso-solution' strategy

The Directors: Shin Murota

While slacking off in his studies at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Shin Murota created independent films and online ads with his friends which led him to join AOI Pro. Inc as a film director / planner of commercials in 2017. He has been on loan to TBWA\HAKUHODO for one year and Directors Think Tank in Malaysia for two years. 


Name: Shin Murota

Location: Tokyo

Repped by: AOI Pro.

Awards: Young Spikes Asia 2021, Film competition shortlist 

Cannes LIONS LIVE 2021, LIONS Short Contest selection

JAC Award 2017, Judge’s Award in Directors Category

Japan Remarkable Directors Award 2019, Judge’s Award in Directors Category

Brain Online Video Awards 2021 shortlist 

Adstars 2021 Finalist 


LBB> What elements of a script sets one apart from the other and what sort of scripts get you excited to shoot them?

Shin> When it’s visually strong and weird, that makes me excited and passionate. 


LBB> How do you approach creating a treatment for a spot?

Shin> I start from imagining what kind of music will match the film including the possibility of no music. Then I take a walk listening to the music to imagine the world of the film.


LBB> If the script is for a brand that you're not familiar with/ don’t have a big affinity with or a market you're new to, how important is it for you to do research and understand that strategic and contextual side of the ad? If it’s important to you, how do you do it?

Shin> I think it is important to study and understand the strategy and context of what our clients are trying to say because it will determine the number of things I can discover and convey to audiences. So I try my best such as use the actual product, read books, and do my research on Google, Twitter, and Instagram.

However, despite how much I study the product, I think it is also important to forget the information as I need to understand how it feels from the perspective of not knowing anything. 

The process of forgetting what I studied is hard… I take a bath, take a nap, do a handstand and sometimes I literally slap myself in the head. I am still learning. What I know so far is that going to a bar doesn’t help me at all.


LBB> For you, what is the most important working relationship for a director to have with another person in making an ad? And why?

Shin> Actors (people who stand in the camera frame). They always bring life and contrast to the film. 


LBB> What type of work are you most passionate about - is there a particular genre or subject matter or style you are most drawn to?

Shin> I like a twisted but SIMPLE visual idea based on the real world no matter what content it is.


LBB> What’s the craziest problem you’ve come across in the course of a production – and how did you solve it?

Shin> This was one of my first directing jobs… It was a tabletop job which took us a very long time to finish. We were almost reaching 50 takes for the same shot. I just couldn’t convince my client because I didn’t know how. So what I did was, after each shot I ate the product food (which was really spicy) delightfully in front of my client to tell them that the shot we just got was so good that I couldn’t stop myself from eating the product. 

However, the truth is my body is not great at handling spicy foods… On the next shooting day, I had to run to the bathroom multiple times which made me push the time schedule again….

Seriously, we shot almost 60 takes of the food and eventually during the edit, I ended up using the second take… I learned it is very hard for all of us to decide what is OK and what isn’t…   


LBB> How do you strike the balance between being open/collaborative with the agency and brand client while also protecting the idea?

Shin> I ask them and myself if we want the 'salt' or if we just want it to be 'salty'.

Even if they want the work to be 'salty', if using 'salt' will distract from the idea… then I think maybe 'miso' could work… That way, we can protect the idea and achieve what our client demands at the same time.  I personally have named this the 'Miso-solution'.


LBB> What are your thoughts on opening up the production world to a more diverse pool of talent? Are you open to mentoring and apprenticeships on set?

Shin> No matter if they are young or old, I think it is always great to have many perspectives on set. I believe the quantity of the perspectives leads to quality. I am always trying to be open… but to be honest it requires a lot of courage for me to ask people for their honest opinions because most of the feedback hurts…


LBB> How do you feel the pandemic is going to influence the way you work into the longer term? Have you picked up new habits that you feel will stick around for a long time? 

Shin> I think that period gave us a chance to think about how we work. Not only did it spread the use of Zoom meetings, but it gave us the habit of thinking carefully about what is essential for projects, shoots and the films itself which will allow us to sharpen our idea or craft.


LBB> Your work is now presented in so many different formats - to what extent do you keep each in mind while you're working (and, equally, to what degree is it possible to do so)? 

Shin> I always try to keep in mind that the audience is someone lying on the bed watching YouTube (or TV), being interrupted by an ad. Just like me slacking off during my work or studies. I always try to imagine how those people would feel no matter what format it would be.


LBB> What’s your relationship with new technology and, if at all, how do you incorporate future-facing tech into your work (e.g. virtual production, interactive storytelling, AI/data-driven visuals etc)?

Shin> I haven’t experienced any new technology productions yet, so I am looking forward to experiencing it.  


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AOI Pro., Thu, 24 Nov 2022 09:15:00 GMT