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Anime in the U.S.—once the domain of die hard fans who would hungrily watch shows on Nth-generation VHS tapes hand-carried from Japan—is rapidly approaching (if it hasn’t already achieved it) mainstream status. With shows like Pokemon, Inuyasha, Dragon Ball GT, Yu-gi-oh, Full Metal Alchemist, and One Piece broadcasting to more Americans than ever before, and licensed, dubbed and subtitled anime available at the local Blockbuster or Target, the word anime is poised to become part of the American lexicon.

Isn’t it?

Max Pictures’ current documentary project explores the roots of anime fandom in the United States and examines how far into the American consciousness anime has penetrated.

Production Report

January 2007 - Our weblog software is finally up and running. Actually, the software (Wordpress) was installed over a year ago. It was formatting the layout to make it match the rest of the site that was the problem. But that’s all behind us now. All pertinent (and impertinent) news will be posted on the blather pages.

December 2006 - What’s a movie about anime without some anime (or at least, animation)? With that in mind, animation sequences have been added to the script which changes the project somewhat—maybe even a whole lot. Aaand, we’re in the midst of a long-time-in-coming site makeover. The sad part is that our gallery pages layouts haven't quite caught up to the rest of the site. But, we’re working on it! Happy Holidays!

July 2006 - Anime Expo is over. Comic-con is over. Photos from both events are on the Photos page. Script is simultaneously going through second and first drafts. Storyboards will start soon thereafter.

June 2006 - Summer is here and summer means Anime Expo. Technically, Expo takes place from July 1–4, but we checked into the hotel on June 30th, hence the date of this post. In any case, you can see what's going on Expo at their site. Maybe you’ll see us working.

May 2006 - We’re here at FanimeCon in San Jose, interviewing fans and industry folk and completely avoiding the dealers room… Okay, maybe not completely. Anyway, snapshots are up in the photos section.

February/March 2006 - Train Life has been selected to appear in the Davis Film Festival. Despite Train Life having been completed two years ago, preparations for the festival still need to be made. And, what exactly does Train Life have to do with the anime project? Well, there’s only so many hours in the day…

January 2006 - Camera 1 is back from the shop and good as new. Camera 2 on the other hand… needs more testing. A revamp of the original project treatment is in the works. Wow, even the project treatment is under repair.

November/December 2005 - Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Chanukah. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

October 2005 - Equipment failures = time to shell out bucks for equipment repairs. Sigh. But, with the holiday season approaching, it's time to take a break anyway.

Late, Late July 2005 - Comic-Con International in San Diego ended twelve days ago and we’ve just now finished posting the photos from the event. Click over to the Photos section for a look-see.With the summer crunch of major California events finally past, it’s time to get down to cataloging and editing. Yup. Got to get to that cataloging and editing.

Early July 2005 - We’re back from Anime Expo and almost fully recovered. 95% of the photos we shot are online in the Photos section so click over and take a look. The interface is a little bit clunky—yes, we’re still working on it.

Comic-Con International starts on July 14 and Max Pictures plans to jump into the projected 80,000+ attendee fray. Unfortunately, like last year, we weren’t able to secure filming permission from the Comic-Con PR department in time for the show. Oh well. We can always interview people across the street from the Con.

Late June 2005 - The new photo gallery is online. It isn’t working perfectly so I’m calling it version 1.5. In any event, clicking the Photos link in the navigation will take you to our new Gallery-based photo pages. And, yes, the few FanimeCon photos we snapped are now up.

June 2005 - We had a great time at FanimeCon and are preparing for Anime Expo in Anaheim (MiniDV tape, mic batteries, etc., see May 2005 below). If you’re wondering where the photos from FanimeCon are, well we’re working on it. The current photos pages are all hard-coded in HTML and we’re switching to a server-driven solution (Gallery, a freeware, server-based photo album program). Aaaand, we’re not done configuring it yet. So there you go. I’m hoping to have it up and running for Anime Expo… Yup.

May 2005 - The California anime convention season is heating up with San Jose’s FanimeCon, Anime Expo in Anaheim, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International happening in a roughly six-week period. Max Pictures is gearing up for all three events—this primarily means lots and lots of MiniDV tape, mic batteries, release forms, coffee, and gas (from driving up and down the coast, not from all the coffee).

February/march 2005 - After vacation, holidays, and other commitments, ’04 footage is still being reviewed. Requests for permission to film are being sent to convention organizers. As always, planning is ongoing.

October 2004 - Hours and hours of NTSC digital video has been crunched down to Motion JPEG format so that it can reviewed over and over again on a production laptop. A structure for naming and organizing the hundreds of video clips is in the works…

August 2004 - We got a last minute opportunity to head down to San Diego for Comic-Con International 2004 (July 22–25). Comic-Con is not an anime event, per se, but it is a huge sci-fi/fantasy/comics convention (75,000+ attendees last year) and anime is well represented with almost round-the-clock programming and scores of anime producers, publishers, and retailers at panels and in the exhibit hall.

Unfortunately, because of our last-minute decision to attend, there wasn’t enough time for Comic-Con staff to grant Max Pictures permission to tape. But, we did make contacts, got a good feel for the event, and will be ready for Comic-Con International 2005.

In the meantime, there are a couple of stills from Comic-Con and another batch of pix from Anime Expo in the photo section.


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