One Day on Earth

The World's Story is Yours to Tell

Who are you and what is your profession?

Paul Johannessen. Video Editor. I work freelance as an editor here in Tokyo, and also have a big interest in sound production - location sound recordings, studio recordings for music and post sound for videos. I also teach at Temple University Japan campus, where I give instruction in video and sound production and editing. During my twenties I was playing in bands and doing lots of music, and at the same time working as a production assistant on all sorts of TV and Film productions, but now post-production has become my thing. I seem to be hardwired for understanding the technical world of post and enjoy very much the craft of storytelling.


Tokyo timelapse from Paul Johannessen on Vimeo.

Can you tell us a little about your background and upbringing? 

I grew up in Sydney, Australia, right on the beach. We had a huge expansive view of the horizon and the pacific ocean which we would just sit and stare at for hours watching the weather roll through its myriad of changes and fluctuations. Eventually I moved from this idyllic but slow moving place and ended up in the inner-city of Sydney for around ten years. Having a Norwegian father, I travelled to Norway to meet my family there and begin a working holiday and travel around Europe, but I ended up staying in Norway for five years where I married and had a son. We all moved to Tokyo in 2009 where my wife received a grant to study fine art, and I started trying to crack the local film making scene. Everything was going great this year until the earthquake in March, which was a bit of an interruption, but it seems that things are slowly returning to normal now.


What inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

I love fantasy and I love stories. Since I was a little boy I played classical piano and actually started a music degree at university after high school. At that time I was really into modern classical music and minimalist composers like Steve Reich - their music really captured modernity and my understanding of the world around me. I was also really in to photography and theatre and it seemed that film could provide for all my creative urges. Koyanisqaatsi was a real eye opener for me, because it communicated so much without any dialogue a very global film. Lately, I have wondered what it would be like to remake that film today using all the same locations, just to see the changes that have occurred over 40-50 years. I had a very active imagination as a child too, and am a sucker for fantasy films and sci-fi, and I am working on some feature film scripts to try and realise some of my own imaginings for the big screen, but it´s a long process, and in the meantime I have a hard time deciding what my specialty really is. For now I really enjoy editing and learning the art of storytelling. I hope to get more into fiction and feature film editing eventually, and have aspirations to eventually direct one of these days.


Who or what do you most admire?

 I admire people who live to be old and remain sharp and active right until the end. People who know where they stand and that don´t fall for all the trappings of the modern world, but retain their humanity and humility.


What did you film on 10.10.10?

For 10.10.10 I made some time-lapse films in Tokyo from within the Tokyo Tower. I had to shoot through windows unfortunately, but the view is pretty spectacular so it was worth it. After a few hours up in the tower I then shot some footage in a nearby temple in this gorgeous evening light. The statues of buddha had all been decorated and people were making wishes and buying good luck charms as is the tradition here in Japan.


What are you planning on filming for 11.11.11?

I will be teaching a class in production at about that time so I hope to incorporate 11.11.11 into my syllabus for the students. There will still be a lot of damage but also reconstruction activity happening in the north of Japan so perhaps we could manage a trip up there, but logistically that would be difficult. Some more focussed documentary style or storytelling would be nice to do this year.


Tokyo Temple from Paul Johannessen on Vimeo.

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