Sunday, February 02, 2020

The undesirable ripple effect on the Japanese drama production industry due to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics

The upcoming Tokyo Olympics this summer is undoubtedly a major event and a source of great national pride to Japan as no effort is spared to ensure that things go well during this period. However, this has an undesirable ripple effect on the Japanese drama production industry as outlined in this article. Here are the key points translated from the source:

- During the Tokyo Olympics which will take place from 24 July to 9 August, massive traffic jams and difficulty in moving around within the capital are expected for about an entire month if the 10 days before and after the Olympics are also taken into consideration. In addition, there are many public places and roads which will be closed for security reasons and preparations for the sporting events.

- Due to these reasons, there are limited places where TV stations and production companies can conduct location filming for their dramas within the Tokyo Metropolitan area. In order to overcome this problem, they have tried to shift their filming indoors to studios which are already booked to capacity and there is a long waiting list.

- Some companies have resorted to bringing forward their filming so as to avoid shooting in summer. Usually, the spring season dramas would only start filming at the end of February or from March. However, many of the spring dramas started their filming from December which means that the cast would have to wear lighter clothing for the warmer spring season even though they are shooting during the bitterly cold winter.

- In FujiTV's case, although they are starting their filming earlier in February for "SUITS 2" showing from April, most of the scenes will be shot indoors because of the lead Oda Yuji. Apparently, Oda has a back pain condition thus making it difficult for him to withstand the cold but for scenes where he has no choice but to do location shooting, he has to go to great lengths to keep warm.

- On the other hand, most of the scenes are shot at outdoor locations for TV Asahi's "BG ~ Shinpen Keigonin Season 2 ~" starring Kimura Takuya. However, due to the inability to secure shooting locations in Tokyo, the TV station had to rent a hotel in the Kansai region for the filming which made the production budget increase by three times than usual i.e. about JPY 70m per episode. If the ratings do not reach at least 15%, they won't be able to recoup the production costs.

- However, the bigger problem is the summer dramas starting in July. Even though filming is to begin in March to avoid the Olympics, the weather is still cold so the cast will have to dress in summer fashion such as T-shirts and shorts.

- Some companies have resorted to going outside of Tokyo to the suburbs to "avoid" the Olympics. This is no perfect solution too because production costs go up in the form of more transportation fees and salary payment for the staff. Due to the extra travelling time, the cast will have to be engaged for a longer period of time so their remuneration will go up too. This means that the ratings will have to reach a higher level than initially expected before the TV stations and production companies can break even.

Source: Nikkan Gendai

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