Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Face to face week is getting closer and I´ve got things pretty good prepared. It's going to be less hard than last quarter because then it was absurd. Yes, I will be working a lot next week, but without the usual stress. Almost all the necessary executions has been done already and I´m going to use the last, busy week of the quarter to finalize the layouts and texts.

That means that me and my teammates had to do a lot this week. Yesterday I had another shoot of the iPod spoof again (see earlier post). Think it can't get crazier than collection money for pigeons in the busiest shopping street of Hamburg? Well, think again: we did the film shooting in a car parking. I put on black gloves and the stocking over my head. So I looked like some black ninja. Then I had to act in slow motion that I was driven over by a car. I'm surprised nobody called the cops.

Today we made a photoshoot for a tea brand. For this we needed two people who spilled ketchup in a subway train. So we had the combination of shooting in a moving train, using ketchup and working with two students who didn't have a lot of time. Enough factors to make the outcome as unrealiable as hell. But we took the risk and luckily the pictures ended up being pretty good.

Unfortunately, we have to do the filmshoot in the car parking again. The material we shot wasn't good enough. Well, they say a good artists suffers for his work. I might as well get used to that ;-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Save the pigeons

Translation: Can you look this child in the eyes and say that there are no pigeons anymore? Save the pigeons. Posted by Picasa

Translation: only your money can save this sweet birds. Save the pigeons. Posted by Picasa

Flyer on which I explained (in German) why the pigeons have to be saved Posted by Picasa

Before people think I have completely lost my mind: no, the posters and the flyer above are NOT pieces of my latest work. I did make them, but it was part of stand up comedy class. I'll tell the story behind it.

In stand up comedy class we learn how to make jokes, perform in front of others (like in a presentation) and to break free from your rigid way of thinking, which enables you to think freely during a brainstorm. It's a fun class, but it's not only about laughing. Three weeks ago we got an assignment that made the whole class anxious by the mere thought of it.

Our teacher, Peter Niehuis, brought it in a really nice way. He was so positive about our class and so convinced of our presentation talents, that we were ready for the next task: performing live on the street and collect money with it. Everybody had to choose an act, practice it and -in the end- attract the attention of shopping people on the street.

Yesterday we were all standing in the busiest shopping street of Hamburg, the Mönkebergstrasse. One by one we had to do our acts and our teacher put it all on video. One girl sold compliments to people on the street. Two guys had an act in which they pretended to fight with each other. I tried to raise money to save the pigeons.

Of course there's an overload of these flying rats in Hamburg, so there's no question that they are not extincted. But it was fun to see how people actually believed I raised money for that cause. In the beginning two little girls looked very sad when they heard the extinction story. Later on an old man walked up to me to say that this was the stupidest cause ever to raise money for. He said: "every year I pay taxes because these damn birds shit on the Rathaus!". The trick is, I guess, to stay really serious in your role and not to laugh about the reactions of people. Anyway, for me it was a nice experiment. It proves that people believe anything if you wear a tie and if you say the nonsense with a serious look on your face.

In the end it wasn't so bad, for anybody. Even the most strange acts looked like some amateur street theatre. Everybody was glad it was over, but probably everybody was also glad that they did it. For me it was a strange, but fun experience.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Just do it

Me starring as the iPod man Posted by Picasa

In this school you learn not to think about the work that´s ahead. You learn do do it immediately. This week me and my art-directors made a lot of executions. There's finally some progress. If everybody works on in this speed, we might have an easy going face to face week for a change.

One seemingly difficult project was the execution of a TV commercial. The film is a spoof on the famous iPod commercials with the dancing silhouette. Normally I truly hate everything that even smells like a spoof, but so many people liked the idea that I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

But now we had to execute it. It seemed difficult because of the graphical style of the commercial. At first everybody thought it would be better to draw a storyboard first. I said that drawing a storyboard would cost just as much time as shooting the whole thing. This is what I mean with 'making stuff immediately'. Whenever you have to do something that is new, like making a commercial, somehow your brain works against you. You want to think it over first. 'Isn't it too much work? What if I first make an example in Photoshop?'

By now I learned to recognize that feeling and to step over it. So after I said "come on, let's just do it", I immediately went to the warehouse to buy black gloves, a cap and stockings for over my head (by the way, this is not the first time I had to buy women's stockings for an execution. See the Bild campaign. The women at the cashier probably recognizes me by now). After dressing up I walked through the school as a living silhouette and in the studio I had to dance in front of the camera. I was sweating like hell afterwards, but it was really cool to do and in the end it really looked like an iPod commercial.

And everybody in the group was glad we made the commercial. This project is one of the things that you should never postpone. In Germany there's a saying for postponing things: 'morgen, morgen und nicht heute, sagen alle faule leute'. It means something like 'if you always want to do stuff tomorrow instead of today, you're a lazy ass'. Well, I guess it's easy to fall into the trap of laziness. The only thing you can do about it is just doing all the work right away. Even if it seems crazy at first.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dogs and creativity

Our school puppies fighting Posted by Picasa

In the brochure of the Miami Ad School there´s an article about how owning a dog can make someone more creative. They also want to motivate people to bring their own dog. Some of them already did (see picture above). The biggest prove, according to the article, that dogs improve creativity is that the best creatives in advertising own a dog.

In my opinion, claiming that a dog influences creativity is just as bullshit as claiming that a cat has a character. Although I have to admit that the best creatives in Holland do own a dog. I think it's not the dog itself, but the responsibilities you have can help someone being creative.

Let me explain why. You have to let a dog out at least twice a day for at least 20 minutes. This forces you to get a rest at least twice a day. And resting proves to be vital for the creative process. The biggest inventors of the world didn't work 24 hours a day. They got their best ideas during rest. Thomas Edison, for example, liked to go fishing without a hook. This way neither fish nor man could bother him.

It's kind of a paradox. At the moment you need creativity the most, right before a deadline, your body makes adrenaline and tells you to panic. But what you really need is to calm down in stress situations.

The opposite of dogs (rest) is art-directors (stress). I'm working with two art-directors now and both of them have -let me put it really nicely- a different way of looking at planning. One of them came to school right before it got dark and we had to make a shooting in daylight. This way we had to hurry like hell to make the pictures. The other one is gone for a whole week and before friday he has to make about 10 executions. They both make excellent work and it will probably be fine, but if they just plan their work a little better, they wouldn't get on my nerves and I don't need to call them every time. Aaaarch!

Well, I guess I just need to calm down a little more. But I don't need a dog for that. I have my good old kickboxing classes.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

How to live with almost no stuff

I´m in my new appartment for exactly 12 days now. As I said before I have to live with only a suitcase and a big bag full of clothes and stuff. Which is difficult for someone who, back in Holland, lived in a big appartment for his own with every convenient stuff around him. I had space to cook in the kitchen, I had three big closets full of books and DVD's, I had two closets of clothes, which consisted about 100 T-shirts(-and those were only the T-shirts!). I had a lot, but what I didn't have was freedom.

The advantage of having so few stuff is that at any moment I can get the hell out of here. There's still a little more than a month to go before I go back to Holland. I just get on the train and within no time I stand with all of my belongings in Amsterdam. The disadvantage of having so few stuff is that I'm constantly running out of clothes and laundry. Questions like: 'how many times can you use a towel before it's really dirty?' come to mind. Or: 'how many times can I wear these jeans before everybody notices I wear them every day?'. Yes, I actually have anwsers to that question now. But I'm fine with having less stuff. Today I finally had time to wash my clothes. A lot of underwear has been washed in the nick of time, because I almost ran out of them.

Some news about the school: I just read that I'm NOT nominated for the Young Gun awards. In contrary to the ADC-awards, this time it did piss me off. Because of the seven nominations four are for Miami Ad School Europe and if I'm really honest some nominations are equal to the level of the work I sent in. But also this time the nominations are for second year students. So once again I came to the conclusion that I have to make better work. I'm pretty sure that one day I will win a lot of awards for this school, but maybe it's just not my time yet.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Last week I was really happy for winning the Alessi competition, but this week there was also some dissapointment. The results of the german ADC (Art Directors Club) were there and I didn´t win anything. I kind of hoped that I would win something with Weetabix or Bild, but unfortunately it didn´t happen.

But I wasn´t bitter about it for a long time. I know from my own experience that winning awards isn´t a guarantee to a succesfull career in advertising. I do think that award shows are a good reference to see at what creative level you are right now. It´s the only way to test if the work you´ve made is excellent or not.

I think I've done pretty well in the Miami Ad School. My portfolio is probably double as good as the one I had before. But the ADC results prove to me that I'm not there yet. The people from our school who did win (congratulations to Kristin, Tristan, Michael, Julia, Jonathan and Renee) were all in their second year. Which proves to me that the best work is made in the second year. And that's a nice prospect. Next year my goal is to make so much good work that I can throw away everyting I've made so far.

You can see the ADC winners in the category student work at the following link: http://www.adc.de/servlet/PB/menu/1012414/gewinner_2006.html?catID=1012432

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Moving out/moving away

When every minute of your spare time is consumed by school, it is really difficult to handle a situation in which you have to do something more important. My sister came to visit me this weekend and that's a good reason for me to forget all about the workload. Sometimes it's good. Having a rest every now and then is necessary.

But on monday there was something else that needed attention: I had to move out of my appartment. I wanted to be free of all the unnecessary stuff I had in my room so far so a lot of clothes, furniture, all my records and my turntables went in the car with my sister. I only had a suitcase, a big armybag and some plastic bags. After school I cleaned the whole evening and the next day I moved all the stuff that is left to the appartment of Salvatore.

It gives a lot of freedom to realize all you need to live is in a suitcase and an armybag. I can go wherever I want. Well, I might as well get used to that because next year I'm planning to live in a different country every quarter. As I said before it's probably going to start in Belgium. Two classmates of mine just heard that they're going to Bejing (!) for an internship. I haven't heard any confirmation about my quarter away yet, but I will hear it pretty soon. Anyway after 1,5 months I finally come back to Holland again. With only a suitcase and a big armybag.