Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bullshit guide to Hamburg

When you move to another country, people always have assumptions concerning the culture. I´ve heard a lot of stories about Hamburg and because I´m here for almost a month now, I think I can judge pretty good what assumptions about Hamburg were pretty wrong. Everybody already knows that Germans aren´t like the hole digging fat bastards that invade the Dutch beaches every summer. But here's a list of stories that rank highest in the bullshit list:

"Hamburg has a very big underground party scene."

Bullshit. The only thing underground in Hamburg is the subway. It's nice to party in Hamburg though, but you have to know the good clubs. There are two neigborhoods where a lot of clubs and bars are: St. Pauli (Reeperbahn) and Schanze. St. Pauli is the most commercial district of the two. It's where all the tourists get drunk or visit the red light district. A lot of clubs there are crowded with young people who drink their first beer. I personally like the Schanze more. There are a lot of bars and clubs and the average age is more like mine (older). The atmosphere is a lot less commercial and the people are nicer. For the readers in Alkmaar. St. Pauli and Schanze is like the difference between the Waagplein and the Platte Stenenbrug. Hamburg is a good place to party if you know where to go, but a big underground party scene? Better check out Berlin for that.

"German girls are easier to seduce than Dutch girls."

I'm going to dissapoint some friends of mine who actually think this is the truth but: the women here are just as difficult to seduce as Dutch girls. In the beginning it was even more difficult for me, because I didn't speak German very well. It's hard to be interesting if you've got the vocabulary of a retard. But the girls are very sweet here. And what is true is that they really really like the Dutch accent. For all the people that are really curious: let's say that I pick up just as much girls as I did in Holland.

"Germans are more formal and when you first meet them you should adress them in a formal way"

The biggest bullshit of all! The Germans are the most informal people I know. All the people here -also the older ones- corrected me the first time I started adressing them with 'Sie' (Translation: You, but in a formal way). Germans are really easy going and very nice. And they all think Dutch people speak German very well. Well, every country has its bullshit.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Huuray for Emilia!

I just heard that a girl from Holland, Emilia, is going to study at the Miami Ad School too. I know Emilia from the Young Dogs, an organisation for young creatives in Holland. We were both board members there. I had a drink with her on Sunday and the next day she went for an interview to the Miami Ad School. Thursday Niklas walked up to me with a big smile to tell me Emilia is going to start in April. Now that´s what I call fast decision making. Way to go, Emilia!

I think she made the right decision. I think everybody here did. Nobody in this school seems to have even the slightest regret about this study. Of course there are some complaints. A lot of people have problems with the amount of homework that we get, some complain about the printer that´s refusing to print and today I heard one of my classmates complain that the vending machine is broken.

But all of that doesn´t seem to matter. Everybody here is eager to make the best advertising in the world and to push themselves further then they´ve ever imagined. And everybody seems to have fun accomplishing that goal. This morning I woke up with too little sleep so I came at school with a bad temper. Luckily, the first lesson I had was from a crazy teacher called Goetz Ullmer. He told us he once showed up at his agency´s Christmas party dressed up like Gene Simmonds from the rockband Kiss. When he showed a photograph of his painted face between hundreds of formally dressed people, I laughed my ass off. That´s what makes this school so great: you never know when to expect a good mood.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Soccer poster 2

Text: Let's face it: sunday soccer 4 pm at Moorweide Posted by Picasa

This was the second soccer poster I have to make with my two teammates. We found out that a lot of Miami Ad School students eat fast food every day. You often need to stay in school in the evening, so extensive cooking at home is not an option. So it makes sense to play some soccer at Sunday. On this poster we just showed what fast food people eat during the week and we offered a suggestion to work it all off.

We made one earlier, but we had to make a new one because the design wasn´t good enough. In the first poster we put the photos in a book, like it´s some sort of diary. The days of the week were written above the pictures. This new version simply has a table at the Miami Ad School as a background and the days written on the polaroids. It does look better. Niklas thought so too and we got permission to put this poster as well as the first one in a special book where only the best soccer posters get in.

Monday, January 23, 2006

At the birthday party of my roommate Tine Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

Hard work pays off

What is talent? I don't think talent really exists. And if it does exists, I don't have it. I think creative talent is often mistaken for having an open mind, being a lunatic, being controversial or just working your ass off to get a good idea.

Yesterday I had an idea for a TV campaign of which me and my teammates were certain it was awesome. When we presented it, it didn't even came close to being the best of the class. It makes you think nothing is certain in advertising. The day after I had to present an idea for a print campaign. I had a couple of ideas, but they were so bad I wouldn't even show them to a pack of monkeys.

So I stayed in school until I had the ultimate idea. Salvatore couldn't stand being idealess either so he was working next to me. Five hours and five pages in my sketchbook later I thought I had an good idea. The next day, I found out for sure it was good when my teacher said "this is interesting" when he faced my sketch on the wall. Salvatore also got positive remarks on his idea. I guess hard work pays off. Anyway, at least for this weekend I'm going to have a misplaced feeling perception that I 'm really really talented.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Soccer poster 1

Text: A good idea. Playing soccer at Moorweide. Sunday 4pm. Posted by Picasa

This is the first assignment on the Miami Ad School and it needs some explanation. In the original Miami Ad School (the one that's actually in Miami) the director Ron Seichrist always plays soccer on Sunday 4pm. All students of the MAS all over the world have to make posters that motivate people to participate in the soccer match.

The idea above makes only sense to Miami Ad School students. The golden star stands for the highest grade an MAS student can get for his work. In other words: a golden star means it's a good idea. We (Julien, Caroline and I) thought it would be a good idea to play soccer at Sunday, so we gave it a golden star. Simple.

By the way, these posters must be made in ACTUAL SIZE. That's nine A3 glued together(!). This quarter, we have to make at least TEN of these giants. Our first soccer poster still hangs in the school, because it was considered a good idea ;-)

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tired already?

Another great week has passed. It was interesting. Thursday it became painfully clear that my Dutch concept driven mind isn't enough to drag me all the way through the Miami Ad School. Me and my teammates had to make over one of our posters because the design wasn't good enough. In Holland agencies get away with rubbish design as long as the idea is clear. "If the idea is good", it is said, "you can do any execution and it's still pretty good". Which is probably why most of the dutch ads look like ugly ducklings compared to foreign ads.

I have a lot of fun with my classmates. This week they wanted to reschedule a class because the lessons were held in the evening. It was fine with me, but I explained to them we'll soon all be at school in the evening anyway, so they might as well get used to it. It occurred to me that even the youngest people get exhausted very easily. But maybe I'm more of a night person anyway. During the day I also have moments when I find it difficult to keep my eyes open.

Well, I've heard that this quarter is just the beginning. As a later quarter student said: "Now it's easy. At the end of each quarter, you'll be so busy that sleeping is a privilege".

I'm working in the classroom together with Salvatore and Dominic. Posted by Picasa

Director Niklas (middle) is about to judge the posters we�ve made. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 08, 2006

One amazing week

Some weeks seem like two weeks. This was one of them. I´ve had so much new experiences, met so many new people and learned so many new things that it´s incredible that only a week has passed. There were copywriting classes with Oliver Oest (JWT Germany), concept classes from Mattias Rausher (Jung von Matt) and in the meantime I get a lot of homework. The average time I spend at school is twelve hours a day. And according to the other students, the first quarter is easy...

Yeah, it's busy but I'm enjoying myself very much. This friday I went out in Hamburg with my new classmates. We met in a pub near the Reeperbahn. As a lot of people probably know, the Reeperbahn is like the prostitution zone in Amsterdam. As I drove by bicycle through the wide street in the blinking lights from striptease joints, I saw lots of tourists, tramps and bouncers. I guess it does look like Amsterdam, but if you've seen Amsterdam it's nothing new.

When I arrived it seemed that I was the only one going by bicycle. In the pub where me and my classmates started the evening, I heard that you can lose your driver's licence (for a car!) if you get caught driving a bike when you're drunk. Now what kind of a stupid law is that? Luckily I wasn't arrested. Even though I made my way home swinging from left to right.

By the way, my first assignment was judged as very good by Niklas, the director of the school. Guess I've made a good start. I hope I can show the poster on this weblog later on, but I'll have to ask permission first.

Greetings to my family and friends in Holland and it's good to read the comments.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Here I am, standing in the hallway of the MAS. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Crazy as hell, and I like it

So... arrived in Hamburg at last. The months before the moving were insane. I worked at a callcentre, then I worked at an Internet company called Energize in Driebergen, and on top of that, in my last week Energize moved to Utrecht. It was crazy, but the company is great. I still work for them one day a week.

Saying goodbye to my friends was hard. Saying goodbye to my family -who brought me all the way to Hamburg- was even harder. The day after we've arrived at my room in Hamburg I had to go to school. The first minute I walked in the school I was sucked up in introduction classes, explanations about the computers and tours through the school. It was great, but there was little time to say goodbye to my parents and sister. I guess no time in the world is enough to say goodbye to such wonderful people...

Right now, I'm dead tired sitting in my room with a laptop. The last days were exhausting as hell, but it was awesome! Today I had my first photography lesson and I did some concepting for a poster with a couple of my new classmates. They teamed me up with two of the youngest classmates. Luckily, they are extremely motivated and talented. It took some sweat, but we managed to come up with some killer ideas for a poster assignment. Which will probably be killed by thursday because the standards are extremely, extremely high here.

P.S. I can't place any photos on the blog yet, because I left the cable of my camera at school (yeah, I guess I'm an idiot ;-)