Moon Media launched in the summer of 2022 with a vision to tell inspiring stories of people and places that fall at the intersection of creativity and entrepreneurship within Japan. With the release of Moon Media’s first film, “Kamiyama: The Little Town With Big Ideas” coming this month, we talked to Moon Creative Lab’s Chief Creative Officer, Mike Peng, to learn more about the vision of Moon Media and what’s to come.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Mike and chatting with him for even just a few minutes, you know how much of a storyteller he is at heart. Ask him about where he’s traveled or the people he’s met along the way and you’ll see Mike light up with infectious enthusiasm, painting detailed memories so vividly, it’s as if you were there experiencing it all with him. It makes sense that Mike would be spearheading an entire division for Moon around storytelling through films.
Congratulations on launching the first feature film for Moon Media! Where did the inspiration to start this division of Moon Creative Lab come from?
Mike Peng: We have two main goals at Moon: 1) Help build and launch successful ventures for Mitsui & Co., and 2) Help transform its workforce. The telling of stories has played a critical role in our ability to achieve both.
In chatting with Kaichi Yokoyama, Moon’s CEO, and Mary Ann Gallo, Moon’s CMO, I had expressed the desire to tell more evocative stories of creativity and entrepreneurship for Japan. My feeling was that if we can share more examples of how others are doing it (in a beautiful and compelling way), we would all get more inspired. And the more inspired we become, the better ability we have to help build and launch successful ventures and help transform the people we’re working with.
But it wouldn’t have to stop there. We also felt that if successful, these stories could transcend beyond Mitsui and help inspire an even larger audience domestically and abroad. Thus, we set up Moon Media to explore this potential.
How did you come to identify the story in Kamiyama as the first Moon Media story?
I had noticed that a few of my close friends from Japan were visiting Kamiyama and posting amazing stories and images of the town. The name of the town was new to me, so I messaged all of them asking about their experience there. Each one of them told me how inspired they were by what the town was trying to achieve — using a creative and entrepreneurial mindset to tackle the growing issue of an aging population. I felt that this was a story that needed to be told and shared. So many countries, cities, and towns are all facing the same challenge. Could the story of Kamiyama help jumpstart the conversation and provide all of us new ideas on what we might be able to do? This made Kamiyama a perfect subject for the first Moon Media story.
What type of stories are you looking to showcase on Moon Media going forward?
For me, Moon Media stories should highlight people and places that sit at the intersection of entrepreneurship and creativity and Japan — the same intersection that makes up Moon Creative Lab.
For entrepreneurship: Did the subject launch something from zero? Did they apply an entrepreneurial mindset to whatever it is they are creating? Was the chance of risk or failure high? Are there a lot of learnings to be shared along the journey?
About creativity: Did the subject apply “out-of-the-box” thinking to create something new? Is the concept novel and innovative to the context at hand? Were the subjects inspired by something, somewhere, or someone that led them to this new concept?
On Japan: Does the subject matter resonate with people in Japan? Are there elements of the story that reflect the values of Japanese culture (beyond stereotypes)? Does the subject offer ideas, perspectives, or philosophies that can help push Japan forward?
What all went into the making of this film? What does it take to create a captivating story?
Like all great non-fiction storytelling, the goal is to achieve true authenticity. This means trying to capture the essence of what we saw, what we heard, and what we felt into an edited package of sound and visuals. You can imagine the hours of footage that we took during these multi-day shoots! How do you slim that down into a 10-15 minute film and still have it tell a clear and compelling story? That is where I suppose the magic really happens. Thankfully, we have an amazing film and editing crew that oozes magic from their pores!
For our inaugural film on Kamiyama, we filmed for six days, had nearly 10 hours of footage, and spent approximately 82 hours of editing to get the film to the final length of 14 minutes.
How would you like to see storytelling evolve?
As a designer, I’ve been trained to create and appreciate beautiful things, so I want to make sure each one of our films is beautiful in its own way. But for me, beauty is only one facet of storytelling that we want to achieve for Moon Media. My hope is for these films to be thought-provoking and elicit conversation. I don’t want people to just copy what’s been done by the subjects of the film, but I hope that it does provide inspiration and ideas for people to do something.
I’ve even been thinking about creating a set of reflection questions as part of each film to help get the conversation started and get us all thinking in a more action-inducing way. Stay tuned!
What can we look forward to in the coming months?
Like with all “firsts,” there is so much pressure in getting it “perfect,” whatever that means! However, in the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship, we tried to not overthink with this first film and to just “do.” In the coming months, we’re going to try and get as many people to watch our film and collect any thoughts and feedback people might have on the film (so please do send me any thoughts if you have them: firstname.lastname@example.org)!
We are currently filming the second film (I’m so excited to share it with you all!) and will be heading into post-production in April. Our hope is to launch this next film some time in early May 2023, so be on the lookout!
Watch the full length film at: https://www.kamiyama.mooncreativelab.com/ and subscribe to our newsletter for updates regarding upcoming films from Moon Media!
If you would like to get in touch with Mike and the Moon Media team directly, please contact: email@example.com
Moon Media is a division of Moon Creative Lab Inc., a venture studio that powers the creation of new businesses for Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and beyond.
Moon Media was created to help showcase inspiring stories of people and places that fall at the intersection of creativity x entrepreneurship within Japan. We know that many of these inspiring stories exist throughout Japan, but they are often difficult to find and hard to access. Our goal is to uncover these hidden gems so that we all can nourish our creative souls and begin turning inspiration into innovation.
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