Save Packfilm Travelog No. 5: A rainy day


JOIN DOC ON AN INSTANT ADVENTURE

Today it's raining cats and dogs with a nasty cold wind blowing. Luckily, I found a wonderful pink umbrella in my small room, and so I arrived at the meeting with my old friend Jun not totally soaked.

Over a warm bowl of rice and chicken, Jun carefully tried to explain me all the delicate aspects of meeting with Fujifilm. Currently, the final specifications on date and time are still making circles that can hardly be understood by a European mind like mine. 
To me, it seems like communications here always have to be accompanied by long discussions - even when the target is pretty clear and already agreed on. At least, that's my impression after many cab rides with Jun, where amazingly long discussions about the route were followed by amazingly short rides.

These "Lost in Translation" experiences made me feel a bit shaky on my Saving Packfilm journey - as I myself was not even totally sure of the exact route or the final target, how would it be possible to have real effective discussions with Fujifilm? Thanks to my experienced "translator" and motivator Jun, and also warmed up by delicious green tea, I soon felt better and in my brain the final strategy slowly started to evolve and get a shape.
When I left the cafe, it was already late, and when I finally arrived at the Fuji Film Square in Midtown, the heavy rain had already started mixing with darkness.
Off to bed for today,
Doc

4 comments


  • Hernando

    Bless you for taking this on. Most of us just want to bitch and moan. :-) One thing to remember, if you’ve limited experience dealing with Japanese mgmt is that “jai” or even “yes” in English does not necessarily mean agreement or that they will do it. It is usually only an acknowledgement that they understand. It can be tricky…


  • Jay Sorrels

    Another option could be a multi year standing order from major retail partners – a bit like how Kodak Motion Picture film was saved by Hollywood agreeing a minimum yearly buy for some time. From my experience with Japanese firms suggests that this decision was taken casually and rationally. I heard the primary customer for FP-3000b was the Japanese Government, particularly Law Enforcement and when this stopped so did production. FP-100c is the Global Passport product for mainly the developing world. Both films used to have substantial legacy customer bases needing almost no marketing and limited retail channels to support. The artistic use was tangential. Now the last of the Passport/ID market is gone, the assumption would be the cost of marketing to and serving the artists would be higher for less volume and profit. And none of this assumes that rumours are true both emulsions ceased production years ago and since then Fuji has just been packing the last batch. This is an industrial product that developed a minority customer base on the side. The record of big firms switching horses midstream to go for the minority base is limited. But the Brand benefits are there. I doubt Fuji expected the outcry or your visit, nor the higher prices the market may support. Godspeed, Doc. You’re a genius. I’m sure someone will listen.


  • Jay Sorrels

    We all admire you Doc. It must be exhilarating to at least have a chance to at a minimum arrest the process of tool and tech loss at a far earlier stage than you could with poor Polaroid. You know better than I but a refuse the believe there are no options. Contract production for a licencee as Kodak does for Kodak Alaris. Sale or rental of equipment. Mothballing equipment until investors can get it together. Transfer of IP. A price increase, reduced production and new marketing partners. In any event, as distant and monolithic as they seem, Fujifilm is one of the great companies of the Earth. The Brand benefits of listening to the community and changing their mind, as they did with Velvia, are also legion. I’m sure you are well advised on the right bow and business card exchange. Rationally though there is only an upside in listening to you.


  • Brandon Montz

    I really hope that culture differences don’t interfere with this endeavor. I work for the Japanese and it’s well known that they operate in a fashion that makes little sense to those outside of Japan. Thank you for your hard work as you try to keep this format alive for the thousands of us who absolutely LOVE this film. Cheers!


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