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CREATED BY ASH THORP
Sponsored by Motion Array


NIHON is a personal work of mine that explores the uncanny vertigo I enter when I am pulled into Japan. It’s my closest attempt at expressing to others what I experience as a foreigner traveling through its many levels of stimulus.


Click HERE to purchase a copy of the photography book NIHON.

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INTERVIEW


MA: There is a chance that some people may not know who you are. Can you give us a brief overview of who you are and what you do?

 

AT: Sure! My name is Ash Thorp and I founded a company called ALT Creative, Inc., where I have worked on various film and game projects, such as Ender’s game, Assassin’s Creed, Ghost in the Shell, and the Call of Duty series, to name just a few. My involvement with client projects can vary between design, concepts, illustrations, animation, and creative direction, but I also enjoy creating my own content and directing passion projects.

 

 

MA: What was the inspiration behind NIHON?

 

AT: Japan has always been so incredibly inspiring to me for many reasons. So many of life’s inclinations that I admire, all the way from Manga to culinary skills to martial arts, comes from the culture of Japan. This summer, I was fortunate to be able to return to Japan for a couple weeks, and I didn’t necessarily have a planned project in mind at the start of the trip. Originally, I just wanted to capture the experiences with my new camera gear, but as I started to notice collective patterns and so much cinematic beauty during my journey, it inspired me to create the project of NIHON.

 

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

MA: How does your work as an illustrator and designer help you grow as a director?

 

AT: I think having a different angle of perspective on things is a fundamental asset. I love using my experience as a designer or illustrator to problem solve and find solutions for the things I encounter during my directorial work. This repertoire and combination of experiences are ultimately what establishes the creative voice reflected in my work.

 

MA: Do you have any upcoming projects on the horizon that you’re excited about, and where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

 

AT: I love the adventure of growing with my clients and learning to become more of an asset on each project, and I am working on some truly amazing and exciting work with them. I also usually have 2-3 passion projects in the works, but I like to keep them under tight lock and key as well until I’m ready to actually release them. You only get one chance at a first impression, and so I like to make them significant enough to last. In 10 years, I hope to have achieved some of my main personal and career ambitions, which includes directing a full-length film. I also can see myself living in a few countries throughout the year while also continuing to find more ways to give back to the community.

 


MA: As your work has evolved how much easier has it become to publish your work online?

 

AT: It can be a bit laborious to go through all of the project content and then select the key elements and moments to share with everyone, but publishing the work is getting easier each year. As time advances, I enjoy it more and more, thanks to all the amazing resources and platforms accessible to showcase my work.

 

 

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Lorem Ipsum


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

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Lorem Ipsum


Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

MA: What kind of gear did you use in shooting the project?

 

AT: I tried my best to pack smart and keep my camera pack from becoming too heavy in my travels because I knew I would be doing a lot of walking in high temperatures. I have a list of my camera gear here, but for this trip, I mainly used my Sony A7iii for both video and photo, the Zhiyun Cane 2 gimbal to keep things as smooth as possible for video, and these five lenses: Canon 16-35mm 2.8 USM II, 24-70mm 2.8 USM II, 70-200mm 2.8 USM II, 40mm 1.4 prime, and the Helios 44-2. I paired the lenses to the Sony via the Sigma MC-11 adaptor so they could work together. I’d have to say that I most often used the 16-35 or the 40mm lenses for filming so that I could keep the shot as wide as possible, knowing that I would eventually crop it down to 2.39:1. For photos, I absolutely love using my 24-70 or my trusted 70-200mm telephoto, which is my all-time favorite lens for photography, even though it can be a bit heavy and arduous to carry around all day.

 

 

MA: How was the post-production handled?

 

AT: I was very excited to comb through all the hours of content and pick selects, so I began editing immediately upon arriving home. I had already had a soundtrack in mind when I discovered an amazing song by a band I enjoy called Plaid during my flight home from Japan. This track is what provided the backbone to start the editing process. I started with Premier to edit everything down into a flow I liked, and then I brought the locked edit into DaVinci Resolve to grade the footage. From there, I brought everything back through After Effects and added the title cards to finish it out. I created a very defined pipeline process so that I could optimize my time in the office and keep my focus as sharp as possible. The post-production phase was completed in about 5 days.

 

 

MA: You have worked on some of the biggest films, yet you have made huge efforts to dedicate a great deal of time to personal work. Are you crazy? Why not just do more commercial work and make more money?

 

AT: It’s not all about the money for me. I believe life is about trying to find the balance between passion, happiness, and wealth, without overindulging too much in one over the other. So I try to design my life in cycles of passion and joy after completing moments of intense hard work and challenges. I feel that passion projects provide the reward of freedom for me to spend time just learning, growing, and gaining clarity as a creative; they allow me to express my most vulnerable and true self. While commercial work allows growth in a different capacity since it often involves strict timelines that can limit the ability to explore and play around with new skills. I also believe that by creating passion projects, you can attract and manifest the type of client and commercial work you desire the most.

"I feel that passion projects provide the reward of freedom for me to spend time just learning, growing, and gaining clarity as a creative; they allow me to express my most vulnerable and true self" 

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MA: How does your work as an illustrator and designer help you grow as a director?

 

AT: I think having a different angle of perspective on things is a fundamental asset. I love using my experience as a designer or illustrator to problem solve and find solutions for the things I encounter during my directorial work. This repertoire and combination of experiences are ultimately what establishes the creative voice reflected in my work.

 

 

MA: Do you have any upcoming projects on the horizon that you’re excited about, and where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?

 

AT: I love the adventure of growing with my clients and learning to become more of an asset on each project, and I am working on some truly amazing and exciting work with them. I also usually have 2-3 passion projects in the works, but I like to keep them under tight lock and key as well until I’m ready to actually release them. You only get one chance at a first impression, and so I like to make them significant enough to last. In 10 years, I hope to have achieved some of my main personal and career ambitions, which includes directing a full-length film. I also can see myself living in a few countries throughout the year while also continuing to find more ways to give back to the community.

 

 

MA: As your work has evolved how much easier has it become to publish your work online?

 

AT: It can be a bit laborious to go through all of the project content and then select the key elements and moments to share with everyone, but publishing the work is getting easier each year. As time advances, I enjoy it more and more, thanks to all the amazing resources and platforms accessible to showcase my work.

 

 

MA: Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with Motion Array’s video portfolio builder?

AT: It has been great! The Portfolio tool is very user-friendly and easy to use.  I can now spend less time building a site and more time working on my craft as a creative person. 



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