Thursday, January 28, 2010

In the meantime on the job market...

The difficult thing when you're writing about your life, is that you can never really write about anything that's on your mind. Especially when you have a blog and when the blog is not anonymous. For that reason, I never talk about relationships, negative events that have to do with my family or getting arrested by the police (don't worry mom, I made that last one up ;-). My adventures on the job market is a delicate subject as well. Whatever you write can influence the course of events. On the other hand, my hands are itching to write about it.

So I'll just stick with the information that most people already know. These last few weeks have been difficult for me. My mood went from hopeful anticipation to disappointment to feeling like a million bucks and back again. This week was a good week. I went to an agency in Brussels for the third time to talk about the necessary details. But nothing is sure yet. In the meantime I got a few really interesting briefings at Duval Guillaume, so I'm staying there for a bit longer than planned.

My general feeling about finding a job as a creative is: it's difficult. Hope defying, patience testing, self-esteem eating difficult. The crisis still has a firm grip on advertising. As a result, agencies can't hire new people yet, job openings suddenly disappear or agencies take ages to hire somebody. My heart goes out to all those creatives who are looking for a job right now. To anybody who's about to give up hope: please read my very first post to see that if you really believe in yourself and you're willing to make a 180 degree turn in your life, there's always a way out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Be stupid

I know my time is ticking at Duval Guillaume Brussels. It's uncertain how long I will stay. Instead of getting really stressed about it, it gives me a lot of rest. I can go early to work, but I don't have to. I can work over, but I don't have to. I can finish the work before the deadline, but I don't have to.

This makes me more at ease when I'm at work. It doesn't make me lazy, though. These last weeks, ironically enough, I've been more productive than ever. A promotion that I've made together with Yigit Unan is finally produced after 1,5 year. And I'm working my ass off to finish the execution of an interactive concept. In the meantime all my reviews go really well. And I do everything in less time. I know that luck is also an important factor in advertising. But sometimes being less serious about work is actually the best thing you can do.

It sure is a more relaxing. And because I have the tendency to stuff my head with new information, even in my spare time, I thought it was good to take a break from learning as well. I decided to do something mindless. So last week I started to play an online game called Battlefield Heroes. It's a shoot-em-up game in comic style. The objective of the game is to shoot each other. There isn't really much more to it. Doing a stupid thing like this feels like meditation.

I can contemplate about why exactly stupidity can make you creative but the new Diesel campaign explains it all. The film above is the start of the campaign, here you can see the website with the print ads. Congratulations to the stupid idiots for making one of the most insightful campaigns of the year.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hype 3D

After global warming, there's a new hype: 3D. A lot of cinema's now use special 3D technology for animation movies that give the illusion of three dimensional images popping up from the screen. I've seen the movie Coraline in 3D. I must admit that it was a unique experience and that I will certainly go to a 3D movie again in some crazy impulse, but I certainly don't want to see television in 3D.

And that's exactly what the television industry is planning to do. Using the popularity of Avatar (also in 3D) as a PR-tool, they're all promoting a new 3D television set. The problem is: there aren't any TV-channels in 3D yet. But they will come and some programs are already available in 3D. At least, that is the promise. Soon everything will be in 3D. It will change the way we look at television forever!

History learns us already that 3D technology is never going to work. It's not even new. In the 50's there were already 3D movies, until the hype was over. In the 70's there were 3D movies, until the hype was over. How come? Because for a simple fact that in the beginning of the movie it's fun because it's new, but after a while the glasses become very annoying. There is a screen that allows you to see 3D without glasses, but it gives you a headache (if the glasses don't give you enough headaches already).

Absolutely nobody asked for it, but now the television industry wants to ram these new 3D television sets down our throats. So despite all the good intentions concerning the environment, they're building new polluting factories to build the most energy absorbing TV-sets since the plasma screen. How come all the media write about this as if it's a revolution? At the best case, 3D will stay an exclusive and fun cinema experience. For the electronic companies, investing in this hype is going to be such a financial disaster that you'll need 3D glasses to see the size of it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

TV Commercial Extra

My latest TV commercial

Funny, how the entire year you can struggle, almost nothing is made for your portfolio and right at the very end of the year you make something that makes the entire year a good one again. Welcome to advertising!

I almost didn't get the briefing for this TV commercial. But persistence and a big amount of bluff poker ("We can do this. We can really do this!") paid off. And above you can see the result: the latest TV commercial for Telenet digital TV.

As soon as the idea was sold, Marton and I wanted to do things differently. We insisted that there shouldn't be an actor playing the role of the extra. It's a commercial about extras, so why not let a real extra talk about his work? This was very hard to get through internally because there's a big risk involved with hiring somebody who's not an actor. Every second on the set costs money and trying to make a non-professional act could be a costly experiment. But a shooting for Dexia earlier this year proved that sometimes the best actors are the ones who play themselves.

In the end we convinced everybody to give it a go. We did write a script, but we tried out the script with two people: one actor and one actual extra. Although the actor was very good, nothing could beat the excellent performance of Patrick playing himself. And it was pretty clear already that he was going to be the one that appears on television.

The guy who says hello to Patrick is a famous Belgian actor called Roel Vanderstukke.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Stopmotion lunch

My colleague Sven holding the actual puppets from A Town Called Panic.

Before I went to the Miami Ad School, I was a big fan of a series of animation shorts called A Town Called Panic. I bought a DVD with a compilation of work from a British company called Aardman and that's where I saw it for the first time. When I started working in Duval Guillaume somebody told me that A Town Called Panic is actually made in Belgium.

And the production company, Beast Animation, is even close to Duval Guillaume. Today a few producers from the stopmotion company gave a presentation during lunchtime. They showed us the full-length movie version of A Town Called Panic. You can see the trailer here. It's actually the same as the short movies, but this time it's 75 minutes of utter madness instead of 5. The movie goes so hyperactive fast that if you blink, you miss another joke. So you can easily see it twice and laugh about all the jokes that you missed. 

A funny fact: this movie was actually in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival 2009. What a wonderful contrast with movies like Das Weisse Band and Antichrist. After seeing these last few movies, A Town Called Panic is probably the only one that can cheer you up again.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Internet versus videostores

In a conversation with director Robert-Jan Vos last week, I admitted I usually watch movies online. If you're a prisoner of the laptop for 2 years during the Miami Ad School, there's no time (not to mention no money) to rent a movie at a videostore. And why should you, when all the movies can be seen online?

But recently I've changed my mind about that. Yesterday I wanted to see a particular movie (The Wrestler by Darren Aranofsky). I didn't want to see it in low resolution, I didn't want to search for a streaming video slot that's actually working and I didn't want to see it with Chinese subtitles. And because I once accidently trashed my harddisk with malware, I also gave up on downloading.

So I went to a videostore. There's one right around my corner. A small one. With a lot of cult movies. In the two years that I've lived there, this is the first time I actually rent a movie there (!). When I entered the store and passed the wall with the latest DVD's, I immediately remembered what's so good about old fashioned videostores. You can flip through all the movies. You can touch them. Read about them. Be surprised at a movie that you've never seen or that you forgot. And there's somebody at the counter who is clearly a bigger movie freak than you are and you can ask them about good movies.

In the 80's the videostores got big problems because people watched the movies on pirate TV channels. Until people realized that changing your antenna to watch a movie with static isn't the most pleasant movie night. With internet it's the same. As downloading is getting more difficult and time consuming, going to a videostore is suddenly more attractive again. It's easier, safer and let's not forget... more honest.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Week in Holland and back again

A great view on the canals of Amsterdam

My cousin Bart and I at a Christmas party

Spending some time with your friends and family makes you realize the true meaning of Christmas: eating together and drinking too much alcohol. This means going to a family party, going to the pub, and ending up at an afterparty at somebody's apartment. Only when the owner of the apartment was so drunk that he fell over a table, dragging along cd's and records in his fall, my girlfriend and I realized it was time to go home.

The cold weather and the snow outside made it very convenient to stay in the warm bed. I understand bears really well for sleeping through the winter. Yes, I've been lazy as hell this vacation, but that's what vacation is for. The only thing that was a little bit related to work was meeting director Robbert-Jan Vos in Amsterdam. But there's not a lot of pressure in drinking beer and talking about avertising. After Alkmaar I went back to Antwerp to celebrate the new year.

Despite sometimes enjoying a glass too many, I've had a good rest. And my new year's resolution is to make something totally awesome before I leave Duval Guillaume. And to party a bit less... No, just kidding.