What does it take to become famous? And what is the price of that fame? These are the big questions being asked in the brand new documentary Big In Japan. The self-branded "DIY Fame Team" behind this fascinating documentary is made up of David Elliot-Jones (the guinea pig) and filmmaker friends Lachy and Louis.
These guys decide that the best way to make David famous is to move to Japan and cash in on the country's bizarre brand of celebrity. David enlists the help of expat celebrities who have created their own brand of celebrity including Ladybeard (a bearded cross-dressing metal head from Australia), The Beast (an enormous muscular fighter from the US) and Kelsey Parniogi (a wannabe JPop idol from Canada).
You have to give these guys credit - they lived in Japan chasing fame for two years and moved their lives and their girlfriends over with them. That is definitely some serious commitment to the fame game.
Throughout their time in Japan, David does a heap of wacky stuff to try to go viral and become an internet sensation. The boys create a kooky character, Onigiri Man, who wears the Japanese rice snack on his head and only a little red loincloth covering his modesty and venture out in the world to try and generate interest. David does a bunch of more standard fame attempts as well, like signing up to an agency and doing some extras work, but the real fun is in the more ridiculous stunts he pulls as Onigiri Man.
This documentary is a heap of fun. It's a fascinating look at the lesser known, kitschy side of Japanese culture and a really interesting commentary on what the internet has done for celebrity and fame. David is the perfect guinea pig for the fame experiment with his nerdy and awkward persona making the quest for celebrity incredibly funny. Silly, bizarre and unconventional, this documentary is unlike anything I've seen before and I'm really impressed by the way that the film has been really neatly cut together and presented.
The film is put together by Walking Fish productions, an independent production company who definitely deserve some acclaim for this production as well as their sheer dedication in getting this made over two years in Japan.
Does David ever become Big in Japan? You'll have to catch it at one of the special screenings around town to find out.