What's it like working for Nozomi Entertainment? What do you do on the production team? What was your favorite project to work on? We're putting the magnifying glass over our production team to give you a closer look at what happens behind the scenes! Today, we'll be talking with Kris!
Q: Who are you and what do you do within Nozomi Entertainment?
I'm Kris Gero and I'm the Senior Producer / Art Director. What's that mean? Basically, I oversee the entire division and make sure everything keeps running smoothly from acquisition to release.
Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself - any hobbies, favorite color, fun fact?
I love to travel and I've been to just about every state in the US. International travel tends to be the most interesting to me because you get to experience other cultures and see things that are totally different from what you've grown up with. If someone can figure out interstellar travel, can you let me know? I'd really be up for that. *laugh*
Q: How long have you been with the company?
Since 1993 (now I feel old...). I started in high school working the phones, doing receiving, packing orders and even running credit cards. Back then, were we just a tiny shop and there were only two of us in the office handling everything. I took over the publishing division around 2000 as the company was prepping His and Her Circumstances for DVD release.
Q: What got you interested in doing what you do?
I loved anime because it was so different from all of the Saturday morning cartoons I watched growing up. Now, I get to work on producing it for the domestic market. Working on Gundam Wing was a dream because it was one of my favorite shows back in the 90s.
Q: Could you give us a quick rundown of what you do on a day-to-day process?
Every day changes depending on what projects we might be working on. It keeps the job fun! We have an extremely small staff compared to others in the industry and so we all wear a lot of hats. On any given day I could be working on anything from scheduling new titles, evaluating titles for acquisition, video editing, conducting English casting, procuring materials from the licensors, dealing with licensor approvals, overseeing design work, coordinating with vendors like printers or replicators... the list goes on and on...
Q: What was your first project?
Answering the phones. *laugh* I've had a lot of firsts at Right Stuf over the years as we continued to grow and evolve the company. My first official project on the publishing side was overseeing the rework of the DVD covers for His and Her Circumstance. I remember the original concepts being black and pretty much covered with text. I think Jeff [Thompson] was trying to go for an Evangelion look. We sort of took it a different way.
Q: What has been your favorite project to work on so far?
I really loved working on Gundam Wing because it was one of my favorite titles when I was younger. I remember it playing on TV on Cartoon Network. It was really great to be able to bring that series back to the States and I worked really hard to get as much material cleared for the release as possible. However, I have to say that working on Maquia for Eleven Arts really struck a cord with me because I have kids and the movie really hits home. It's probably become one of my favorite anime titles now.
Q: The # of times you’ve watched something over and over for a product check?
Too many. Wayyyy to many. *laugh* I always tell people when we hire them on that if we end up working on their favorite series, they'll probably end up hating it by the time we're done because of the shear number of times they'll be rewatching it.
Q: What was your longest project and why?
I'm not really sure because we have a lot of projects that took awhile. When I first started in the production division, it was industry standard that you only released maybe 3-4 episodes on a DVD. That meant that a single 26 episode series might take nearly a year to be completely released because the releases were always staggered by a few months. Plus, there was always the added delay for dubbing the series because that had to be completed before you could really get to work on the release itself. With today's releases, you're typically releasing a series much faster, but our more recent Ultra Editions and Kickstarter projects are also really complex and require a lot of prep work and production time to complete.
Q: Could you explain the process from how the materials you receive becomes the final product that we see on store shelves?
After we review and acquire a show, we get the materials and decide how it's going to be released. Translation work starts and work basically runs on two tracks: design and disc production. The designers will get started figuring out the look of the show and we start submitting materials to the licensors for approvals while the producers launch into things like video work, subtitling, authoring, QC, etc. Once authoring is done and the artwork has been approved, we put everything to bed and send it off to the printers/replicators. That's a super bird's eye overview.
Q: Favorite Nozomi title?
If we stick to the Nozomi label specifically, it would probably be Emma A Victorian Romance because I really love the authenticity to the time period. For the publishing division as a whole, it would be a toss up between Gundam Wing (in association with Sunrise) and Maquia (in association with Eleven Arts).
Q: Favorite Anime? Are you watching anything currently? (Outside of Nozomi)
Currently, Maquia is my #1 because it's so beautiful and really emotionally powerful. If you're someone who has kids, you're not going to be able to make it through this one without crying.
Q: If you had a super power what would it be?
Molecular manipulation. You could make anything, anytime. You'd never go hungry and you'd never have to worry about not having something that you needed. It's also a bit like magic because if you came face to face with bad guys, you could manipulate the air / the surfaces around them to stop them in their tracks. You could even change their weapons into something to eat! Tasty donut guns anyone?
Q: What is your favorite animal?
My daughter would tell me it has to be a unicorn. A purple and pink one evidently. With rainbow hair. That can turn invisible. Oh, and it can sometimes fly, because... well, just because.