Sunday, June 27, 2010


This is not the actual lion, but a picture of it

I finally did it. After years of hoping, sweating, swearing and brainstorming I finally won a Cannes Lion. It's a bronze one, but I never judge an award by its colour. This is by far the highest award I've won in my whole career.

Again thanks to Marton Jedlicska, who already won a lot of student awards but who is now one of the few Miami Ad School students who already has a Cannes Lion. A lot of thanks to Niklas Frings-Rupps for proposing this brilliant student for an internship to be my art-director. Also, a lot of thanks to Patrick the extra who proves that being yourself can make you a brilliant actor. And I can't thank Peter and Katrien enough for their inspiring coaching and for polishing our pearl of an idea until it shines.

And congratulations to my former colleagues Eva and Catheline, who also won their first Cannes Lion with this awesome TV commercial for Telenet. It was only a matter of time before these two smart girls would break through. As soon as the lion statue arrives in Brussels, I will go there to make a picture.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Shortlist Cannes

The TV commercial starring Patrick the extra

This week the Cannes advertising festival started. Duval Guillaume sent in four of my works for the award show. After four days there wasn't any entry that became shortlisted, so all hope was settled on the film category. My best work, the Telenet TV commercial Extra, was sent in for that. But Film is also the most difficult category.

So yesterday, when I looked through the list of nominees, I was very happy to see that it was nominated. This is my second shortlist in Cannes ever, which indicates already how difficult this festival is. Even the donor ad didn't get a nomination. A lot of thanks to my hungarian art-director Marton Jedlicska, with whom I made the concept. And a lot of thanks to Peter Ampe and Katrien Bottez for helping us executing the commercial up to perfection.

I'm already happy with the nomination, but on Sunday I will hear if I actually won a Cannes Lion. You can see the shortlists and winners on the website of the Cannes Festival.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Go go go!

As soon as my animation movie about South Africa (see the post before my last one) was released, I was really curious how people will react on it. How will the media, the blogs, the visitors of YouTube and Vimeo pick it up? Well, I haven't been disappointed, to say the least. This commercial has had a bigger viral effect of all my commercials combined.

On YouTube I'm still waiting for the film to pass the 1000 hits. On Vimeo, on the other hand, there are already 42.000 hits! Not bad for the first two weeks. And then I started to wonder how this sudden rush could happen. What was the spark that made the video flaming hot? It's hard to tell for sure, but after some investigation I saw that the film was mentioned on some forum on the website. Which lead the film to become a staff pick, so it's on the main page for one day. Which lead to an incredible rise in hits. And after that it was mentioned on blogs and forums all over the world, which put the train of hits in full throttle.

Above that, the video got a 7,4 rating on Ads of the World. Now an animation that's crafted this well (thanks to Renske) can always count on sympathy of the sceptic viewers, but a 7,4 is exceptionally high. It was tough to complete this big project, but I'm glad to say the hard work pays off.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Success is relative

Last weekend I was very anxious to see electro/hip-hop singer Uffie in Amsterdam. The concert was a total disappointment. Her mild performance couldn't excite the audience and as a reaction she scorned the audience for not dancing hard enough. At no point I had the impression that she's with the popular Ed Banger label, an underground-electro label founded by the former manager of Daft Punk. Maybe my expectations were just too high.

Success in the past is no guarantee that you will be just as good today. But the scary thing is that nowadays nothing seems to be a guarantee to have success. This became painfully clear when I heard that one of the world's top creative agencies FarFar decided to close down.

And another thing: de Fietsenfabriek (translated the bicycle factory) is declared bankrupt. Entire Amsterdam is full of bicycles and bicycle baskets from this trendy and innovative bicycle factory. If you see a bike with their logo about 100 times a day, it's hard to believe that this company has over 1 million Euro of debts. It seems very unlikely that you can actually have influence over your own success. Being talented, working hard, being good in business, earning a lot of money is no guarantee for the future anymore. Is life one big lottery where you can decide the stakes?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Go South Africa!

The animation movie I've made with director Robert-Jan Vos

About four months ago, before I even knew I would come back to Holland, I had a drink with director Robert-Jan Vos in Amsterdam. While we were drinking a beer at a corner of a pub at a canal, he was talking about an idea for an animation project and he needed a copywriter to help him putting the idea on paper.

As soon as I read his first draft, it was clear why he needed a copywriter. The script was full of spelling mistakes and had the coherency of a ball of wool. In the little spare time I had, I wrote several scripts on which he had some comments again. For a while the scripts went back and forth between Belgium and Holland until we made the final script.

After that Robert-Jan found an animator who liked the script and wanted to invest time in the project: Renske Mijnheer. Together they started to produce the movie. Because it is all made in stop-motion, it was very time consuming. And it took about a month to complete the film. Because at that time I was already working at Lemz, I could only help them in the evening with the project. So sometimes after work I was also cutting out little pieces of cardboard and paper.

Above you can see the final movie. It's a movie about the world cup soccer, about racism and about South-Africa. Subjects that are usually quite heavy, but which now come together in a lighthearted, animated fairy-tale.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


One of the worst political promotion movies ever

Last post I was probably just imagining that nothing happens in Holland. Tomorrow the elections have started in Holland. And even though I don't really care about politics a lot, it is exciting to follow the news and to see all the debates between the aspiring politicians.

Less exciting are the campaigns around the election. Not one campaign has made a lasting impression on me. It's because most of the parties are conservative as hell. Not as in 'right-winged conservative', but as in 'a total lack of innovation'. When I walk from the station to the ferry, every day there's an army of political activists who try to push a flyer in my hand. A fucking flyer?!

2010 is the year when innovative media became common: social networks, blogs, iPhone, Youtube. And the political parties still hand out flyers on the street with a big toothpaste smile. Even the green parties do it (no, I don't care if it's printed on recyled paper). At least the socialist party gave a sponge with it, to symbolize that they want to clean up politics. Well, at least they try.

A party that also tries -but a bit too much- is Trots op Nederland, which translates as Proud of Holland. In the movie above, one of the ministers talks about politics while an old lady is beaten up right behind her. It's just hilarious. The rest of the movie is a compilation of literally translated Dutch expressions and bad clichés. It was a total hit on YouTube because anything stupid becomes a hit on Youtube. But according to the prognosis they're going to need a miracle to make it into the Dutch lower chamber. When does politics finally wake up?

Monday, June 07, 2010

Back to normal

I can write the standard apology about not having written on my blog for too long, but that would be a bit of a cliché. I've been quite busy for these last few weeks, going from work to sports to the production of an animation I've been working on. And in the meantime I've met friends that I haven't seen for a long time. But even in the Miami Ad School I could always find time to write something. So what kept me away from my blog for such a long time?

Could it be that I simply didn't really experience something new and interesting? Maybe I'm not very surprised at things anymore now that I live in good old Holland again. For me, everything seems to be back to normal. But maybe I'm just temporarily out of inspiration to write. Like a temporary writer's block. I hope it's that last one, because the perspective of not experiencing anything to write about is a very depressing one. I want to live my life like a book and I hope that I'm not going through the boring chapters right now.