The spirit of TMRRW.TDAY weaves through everything at ADFEST this year. For Keven Bao, director at Japanese production company, Connection, that theme incorporates the ideas of connection and discovery. “The first time I thought about the theme, TMRRW.TDAY, I felt like human creativity always connects today and tomorrow. Creative ideas always lead us to a new world. No one really knows what will happen tomorrow.”


Connection, a production company that connects artists, agencies and brands and represents some of Japan’s leading directors, VFX and CG artists, editors and cinematographers, offered its talents to create a film that would encapsulate the magic of TMRRW.TDAY for ADFEST 2019.


Bao illustrated and animated the film, using an animation style to express “the fear and emotion of that feeling of creativity – and maybe the further meaning of the connection with today and tomorrow,” Bao says. “I felt that hand-drawing the animation is closer to a human’s creative work, which draws every frame by hand. And it’s a really direct way to put down on a page what are you thinking and feeling in your brain.”


The music that underlines TMRRW.TDAY in the film was created by Primary Color Music.
Sam Billen, founder of Primary Color Music, commented, “Overall, we aimed for a sound that is epic and bigger than life, but at the same time intricate, delicate, and simple – like time itself, a mystery we can't control and can hardly understand. This was one of Primary Color Music’s most collaborative experiences yet where the music and animation were being developed and polished at the same time.”
Primary Color Music (PCM) is an 8-person international team of music-lovers who are dedicated to crafting the perfect song and sound for visual media. It is represented in the United States and Japan.
Kem Suraphongchai, Festival director, commented, “Connection and Primary Color Music have generously devoted their talents to creating a film that is distinctly Japanese yet universally appealing. Not only does it depict our theme perfectly, it shows once again that creativity in our region is not just unique but world-class. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for their amazing support of ADFEST 2019.”


Here is the film:

Production: Connection, Tokyo
Director: Kevin Bao
Animation and illustration: Kevin Bao
Motion Graphics: Kentaro Osawa
Producer: Timo
Sound: Primary Colour Music (Kansas/Tokyo)
Composer: Josh Atkinson
Producer: Sam Billen
Strings: Alicia Enstrom
Sound Design: Brock Babcock
Children Vocals: Flora Billen, Hannah Billen, Tula Billen 





Five minutes with the creators of TMRRW.TDAY, the film

The animated film, TMRWW.TDAY was created by Keven Bao, director, at Japanese production company, Connection and Primary Color Music. Bao and Sam Billen, founder of Primary Color Music took ADFEST Buzz behind-the-scenes of the film’s making. Here, we share that with you:


Keven Bao, director at production company, Connection


Why did you decide to go with a Manga-style animation?

Keven Bao: I felt that hand drawing animation is closer to a human’s creative work which draw every frame by hand. And it’s a really direct way to put down what are you thinking and feeling in your brain.


Please explain the craftsmanship that went into creating the film

I was born in Canada and live in Japan. I like to incorporate both country’s styles together. I think the film’s style is more like a mixed style, which meant that it took almost three months to make.


How did you collaborate with Primary Color Music. Which came first – the visuals or the music?

I’m so excited to have collaborated with Primary Color music. First, I animated the concept art and we talked together about the idea of music. Then I made a rough animation, which I sent to them for the music demo. When the animation was done, they did the final remix.


Sam Billen, founder of Primary Color Music, US and Japan


How did you come up with the idea for the soundtrack for this year’s ADFEST animation? How does it reflect this year’s theme, TMRRW.TDAY?

We worked closely with the production team, including Kevin Bao (director) and Timo (executive producer), discussing the theme of ADFEST this year. We wanted to make something cinematic and timeless with some light elements of mystery. At the earliest stages, we referenced soundtracks from films like Tree of Life and Interstellar. We also decided early on that we wanted to incorporate the sound of a ticking clock – similar to how it's used in the soundtrack of the film, Dunkirk – to elicit a feeling of excitement and unbridled progress. Overall, we aimed for a sound that is epic and bigger than life, but at the same time intricate, delicate, and simple – like time itself, a mystery we can't control and can hardly understand.


Please explain the craftsmanship or creative process that went into creating this track

The initial composition of this track was done by Primary Color Music's Josh Atkinson and took around a week. The overall production, however, included a number of people and lasted about 2 months (working off and on, of course).


What makes Primary Color Music different from other sound & music companies? 

I always like to say that Primary Color Music is different from other music companies because of our organic approach to collaborating with clients. It may not be the smartest business technique, but we tend to hold the craft and creative as highest priority. I see composing for advertising as an art form and we find the greatest satisfaction in putting out an amazing piece of work, rather than landing in with the biggest name or budget. With that said, we've had the honour to work with some very respected global brands like Coca Cola, Wendy's, and Reebok.


How difficult is it to work across the different cultures in the US and Japan?

I studied Japanese in high school and college. My wife of fourteen years is Japanese and, although we live in Kansas (the heartland of America!), we've always kept a strong connection to Japan. Even in our home in Kansas, we don't wear shoes, we pull out the kotatsu in the winter time, and we enjoy shabu shabu on occasion.


PCM's move into the Japanese market was a very natural evolution of the company as I spend months every year in Tokyo with my family. Not only is it a market of convenience because of the time I spend in the country, it's also a great inspiration for me creatively. I'll try to avoid going full-nerd here, but Japan's history, culture, art, etc. has shaped much of who I have become in my adult life. Artistically speaking, Japanese composers' attention to detail always astounds me. I feel like in America we can tend to throw things together until they work, but in Japan details in compositions are much more intentional and delicately placed. I truly respect the creative process in Japan and am excited to see our opportunities to collaborate there grow in the future.


20 March, 2019            
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