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Hey Sinclair! A Fun Chat on Tokyo Lifestyle, Film-making and Super Niche Niches!
NCO 113

N: Hey Sinclair how are you? There isn’t a lot of information about you online so I am really excited to find out more about your life! Let’s start from the basics. Who is Sinclair and where did she grow up? 

S: Hi! I’m good thanks! I'm a creative director/set designer/prop maker/sometimes stylist and aspiring filmmaker living in Tokyo.

When I was younger, I knew I wanted to work in movies and I think I can attribute that to my parents, my dad being a stunt-man and my mother being a model/actress and always having on set celebrity stories that I completely romanticized.

At the same time, I was that shy kid that would go to Blockbuster and get a stack of DVD's every weekend and have them all finished by Sunday night... so I knew my calling would be to be behind the scenes somehow. 

I grew up on the Gold Coast, in Queensland, Australia. It was an interesting place to spend my formative years because of its likeness to Los Angeles in a lot of ways. Beach lifestyle with a shiny film and fame machine on the surface, but an underlying darkness. I started working in the art department in film when I was 16, saying I was 18, to work on my first feature film Guardians of the Tomb or 谜巢. It debuted as in-flight entertainment, but it was an experience I will be forever grateful for. 

N: You are currently based in Tokyo, working in film, set design, styling and creative direction. Can you walk us through the decision to move to Japan? 

S: Tokyo is one of the most foreign places I could have decided to live in, but at the same time kind of feels natural. I had no idea what the film or creative industry would be like here when I moved. It actually happened on a whim, I find throwing myself in the deep end both anxiety-inducing and exciting. 
The foreign film scene here is quite small, so I had made it one of my goals while being here not just to work on other peoples' projects, but to make some of my own.

I think Tokyo is a great place to develop as an artist because of the unlimited resources, the amazing creatives here and the constant inspiration you're surrounded by, both weird and beautiful.

N: Tell us a little bit about your routine in Tokyo! What projects are you working on at the moment and what do you do for fun?

S: I don't really have a routine here and I think that's on purpose. Any kind of monotony kind of drives me insane.

At the moment, I'm doing props for a magazine editorial, searching for traditional Japanese armor. I love this part of the job because I get to meet so many interesting collectors that are so passionate about their things.

There's so many niches here that I've learnt too much about lol.
I'm also working on my own short film project, that I'll hopefully start filming soon! 
Work for me is fun, but when I have time I love exploring little towns, the kinds that people probably don't hear about too often, eating something local preferably cooked by an Obaachan and just wandering around.

N: Can you tell us a little more about this short film you’re looking to create? Without giving away too much of course! 

It'll be sexy, absurdist, a little surrealist, and about living in Tokyo as a feeling.

N: It’s funny how you mentioned cultural niches, because I remember stumbling across so many micro-trends that wouldn’t make any sense to people outside of Japan. Do you have any more interesting stories about this? 

Not necessarily a trend, but the cultural niche of Japan's counter-loneliness industry. Namely being host clubs and love hotels. I'm kind of obsessed with the out-in-the open nature and how it's almost a part of daily life for most people here. If you're not partaking, you're bound to at least encounter a kitsch love hotel with the facade of a European castle or a group of host girls standing outside in little maid outfits smoking e-cigs at least once per day.

N: Having lived in Tokyo for years, I was surprised at how relatively small the Gaijin community is, especially when it comes to people working in creative industries. On the flip side, it’s very much like a close-knit family. How did you navigate finding creative opportunities there? Did you find yourself somewhat limited? 

S: The foreign creative community in Tokyo is very small, but I'd say that's definitely a positive coming here wanting to develop your career. I've worked on projects that might have otherwise taken me years to make come to fruition. I have been lucky to meet people that have helped me along the way and also met amazing creatives that are always up for making something sick for fun. In the same vein, I'd say that creatives here are more daring with their style and it's so refreshing to see and be surrounded by! 

Finding opportunities started with meeting people, making my own projects and also just helping friends out with their projects for wherever I could. Also Instagram of course is a great platform. My first paid job in Tokyo was actually on a feature film called Gran Turismo helping sound department. That's something I'd never done before, but again because the industry is small, I find that people will give you the chance.

N: Thank you Sinclair! Let’s hang out next time I am in Tokyo! To conclude, any fun projects we can look forward to?

S: Thank you! Yes for sure! My time in Tokyo will be coming to an end mid year as I'm moving to Paris, but before then I will have made a short film here. I just released a video and photo editorial interview with Sabukaru Magazine with Dorian Electra and I'm working on a Dazed magazine editorial at the moment that should come out mid year!

All images courtesy of Sinclair
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