Saturday, February 08, 2014

Sakamoto Yuji - Soredemo Ikite Yuku interview Part 3A

I haven't touched the interview since my Japan trip but I am determined to see this through to the end. Thanks to Chuks for fixing my translations and hopefully it reads better than my previous efforts. Corrections are most welcome. This is the first half of part 3 of the original interview which can be found here.

Abiko: I think Soredemo Ikite Yuku was a revolutionary dorama. The unification of language in novels and doramas has actually become possible. Characters can speak not just through conversation but also explain things through verbal expression. The lines in the drama sound realistic, just like you see in novels. The characters(casts) speak naturally, without any unnatural explanations (explanatory dialogs) you see in many dramas. Plus, I think the direction of the fighting scenes were excellent.

Sakamoto: Thank you very much.

Abiko: The direction of the fights were different from the so called usual ones. For example, the actor playing the criminal, Kazama Shunsuke and the victim's mother Otake Shinobu scene at the fishing house (Episode 8: Prepared for everthing). After they found out who each other were, they started to fight. There is no way Otake Shinobu can win. (Laughs) Although, she cannot not win, Otake was leaning on Kazama, and Kazama doesn't stay still and and take the beating. He fights back while listening to her yelling. Isn’t everything in this scene in line with the promise to be real? So, I am interested in finding out who's decision it was. I thought it was the director's decision but there were more than one directors, right?

Sakamoto: It was decided by 3 people.

Abiko: In the case where there are multiple directors, who's decision has the most influence on the style of the directing?

Sakamoto: I think it is the producers together with the directors after having detailed conversations. The only thing I ask is this, 'please shoot the performers' acting properly'. Recently the demands on the actors have become wide ranging. Not only do they have to act, they have to be able to do facial expressions that are easy to read. An example of the type of acting that is asked of them is that when surprised, they go 'Waa!'. Actors act the way they are expected to in accordance with the changes in the times. The starting point of an actor's job is the create emotions and that is the foundation of acting. However nowadays, so not to be boring to the viewers, every scene is burdened with high tension. Even the script and lines explain everything so it is easily understood. This prevents actors from acting they way that they want.

Abiko: Yes.

Sakamoto: However for this dorama, I only provided the emotions of the characters and minimum setting, to let actors create the dorama by acting the way they feel is right. We have to protect the actors and let them ride the emotional waves, capture the actor’s expression of emotions and just continue with it. When the whole crew keep it in mind and just focus on the actor’s acting and nothing else, there won’t be a need to shoot from various angles. Music or gimmicks can’t capture the actors’ unspoken emotions between the lines. Once everybody starts to focus on nothing but shooting the actors’ performances, Otake would get into character followed by Eita and Mitsushima. When that happens, watching the actors performance becomes watching them portraying someone’s life realistically.

Abiko: The actors' tension and the atmosphere at the set can be seen in the performance, can't it?

Sakamoto: The actors' decide how good a dorama is. It was nothing to do with the script or the director. In any case, everything is about whether the actors can unleash their acting powers.

Abiko: The actors' are unable to put their mind at ease until they have given their whole effort, right?

Sakamoto: Yes. Even with Mitsushima-san, at the time she was waiting for the script for the third episode, she was nervous because she could not wait to see the script. I could feel everyone had high motivation.

< I want to see Otake-san who normally acts on stage in television>

Abiko: Sakamoto-san, did you managed to go to the shooting locations?

Sakamoto: I did not even go to the locations once.

Abiko: Then what did you think of the finished product when you saw the DVD that they sent you?

Sakamoto: I honestly think it is interesting. I was not pleased with the script and most of the lines I wrote for the first episode. However, after the second episode, I became used to that world and began get in tune. I began to enjoy the show and thought, "Ah, this is good." (laughs)

Abiko: Why were you not pleased?

Sakamoto: I'm not certain but I had a vague image in my head. A character wearing a certain clothing a certain way or speaking in a certain rhythm. Although I don't have a concrete idea, these images exist in my head when I write.

Abiko: So the more you watched the more you got used to the show being different from your images.

Sakamoto: Yes.

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