Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are filmmakers/animators and we live in Maastricht near the beautiful Hoge Fronten with our puppy Robin. We met during our bachelor studies at the Art Academy here in Maastricht where we studied video (graduated 2009 and 2010). We were always very interested in animation film and Janneke finished a master in animation film at the KASK in Gent. We mostly do video assignments as freelancers – Janneke makes reportages for a.o. L1 and RTV Maastricht – but we are trying to make more and more animated work now.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
Until last year, we mainly worked together on Janneke’s documentaries, in which we only used small bits of animation. But then last year we worked for eight months on our first completely animated short film: ‘Mijndert’. It is an animation that we made together with Cinesud Talent and Jaar van de Mijnen (Year of the Mines) 2015 about a boy’s first days in the mines of South-Limburg. Because we were making a complete short film now, instead of some little fragments, it was a lot of try and error. You need more shots, close-ups, and more separate material to tell the whole story. We learned a lot from this project. Although we still feel we have a lot to learn, and although we are not completely satisfied with the end result, the Holland Animation Film Festival (HAFF) in Utrecht selected our film! It was so good to see all the films there and realize that we are good enough to be shown among them. We got very good responses and a lot of inspiration for next projects.
What are you looking forward to?
To starting new projects. Especially Tim has lots of new ideas that he wants to work out. We have plans to make more short (internet) films and bits together, and there is also a plan for a new short stop motion film. It would be great to get the chance to make independent films together and be given enough commissioned work to make that possible. It is not always easy to find enough assignments in Maastricht, but we are getting there.
What we also look forward to is to improve our house: we moved here in September and the garden is still a mess. We are looking forward to long warm evenings with friends, good food (we are planning to build a pizza oven!) and to grow some fruit and vegetables.
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
Be visible. (Tim likes to be invisible most of the time) but a lot of our paid work comes from contacts Janneke maintains on facebook, from our network in Maastricht, and through former clients. When people see what you are doing now and then, they will remember you the moment they start looking for someone for their future projects. People will also remember you when you are nice and do your work as it should be done. We got a lot of my assignments because of recommendations from former clients. Lots of artists (including us) are not very good businessmen, not very good at selling themselves. When clients like you, they will give you one assignment after another, because they think you are a nice person. In Dutch it’s called the ‘gun-factor’ (from the verb gunnen). In English, haha it means something completely different I’m afraid.
Also: do what you really want to do. If you have an assignment that you do only for the money, the end result won’t be good. If you can make something you really like, you work on it with more dedication and pleasure. Everyone shall see it.
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
Some while ago there was this hash tag #tegendebakker: When you go to a bakery, you don’t say: “Give me the most beautiful pie you have for free. It’s good for your portfolio!”. Or something like that. Apparently people think they can say this to artists. We think there should be more understanding from both sides: employers should know what our value is and we (artists) should be better prepared to play that game. People do not realize that making art/movies/clothes or whatever we make also has to pay the bills, even when it was our ‘hobby’ before. And they don’t realize either how much work it is to create our products. Artist have to learn to not let their clients to walk all over them.
Thanks Janneke & Tim!