Ryan McGuire helms Cutters fourth branch in Tokyo

Cutters’ editor Ryan McGuire is a busy guy.  Last Friday, he presided over the opening of Cutters new Tokyo office; on Monday he greeted his parents, Ellen and Tim McGuire, sister and brother who flew in from Chicago to attend his wedding Wednesday at a shrine in Kyoto.

Two years in the works, Cutters’ new office is, to the best of their knowledge, the only foreign-run post house in the Japanese market, which is second only to the US in the amount of TV spot production.

It presently has a staff of eight offering creative editorial and color correction.  All speak English and all except one speaks Japanese.  Editors are McGuire and his bride, Aki Mizutani who met when McGuire hired her five years ago as his assistant in Santa Monica. 

Editor Aki MuzitaniExecutive producer Timo moved to Cutters this summer from Tohkushina Film Corp., Japan’s oldest and biggest film company, where he was a global producer for six years.  Colorist Steve Rodriguez is from L.A., most recently at Post Logic and earlier at Company 3.  A search is on for an online editor and Smoke/Flame artist.

American architect Rick Skorick designed the cozy, 2800-sq. ft. boutique space within a three-story building in the trendy Ebisu neighborhood.  Murals by Brazilian street artist Titifreak cover the entire exterior façade.

The interiors, designed by Manuel Pérez Péna of Spain, are “a careful balance of chic, creative and comfort,” adds Timo. An American style kitchen/lounge is on the first floor and a relaxing L.A.- style is on the third floor roof terrace. 

McGuire had a definite concept of the “American style” creative post house he wanted when he first went space hunting. “In the US, editors and artists are respected for their creative expertise.  Spaces are built to inspire clients and artists alike.  People have fun.  That’s the kind of place we built in Tokyo,” he says.

Executive producer Timo“We’d like Cutters Tokyo to double as a creative center, a think tank for Tokyo’s creative community,” says Timo, who began his career as a graphic designer and later represented Japanese directors to the international market.

While Cutters Tokyo has “a decent amount of competition from local companies, its product is definitely different,” McGuire notes. “Most of our direct competition comes from overseas.”

Some of their recent work includes the global rebranding for Volvo and the Mazda Heritage campaign that received a prestigious advertising distinction from TED. Some of his other clients include Playstation, American Express, Nintendo, Nissan, Vevo, IBM and Disney.

McGuire’s first visited Japan in junior high

Over the past decade, McGuire has commuted from Cutters/Santa Monica to the Japanese mecca on editing assignments. His love of Asian culture began when he was a junior high school exchange student.  

Japanese graffiti artist paints the Cutters logo on the building face Later, he attended a Japanese university and went into marketing. “I knew I wanted to do something creative, but didn’t know how to start.  So I called my dad.” 

He returned to the US and learned the family business primarily in Santa Monica and moved to Tokyo several years ago with the objective of opening a branch to capitalize on the vast Asian market.  As an editor on Cutters’ roster, he will continue to travel to whatever city in the world assignments take him.

While creativity abounds in Japan, Tokyo editors tend not to contribute to the creative process. “That is definitely not where I came from,” says McGuire.

“I’ve been very successful in selling a very creative approach to editorial here and we look forward to contributing our style of creativity to the Japanese market.”