a bit of a different kind of post but I wanted to do a shout-out to a friend and colleague of mine: Tom Van Gestel.
I met Tom during my internship at Walking The Dog in Brussels in 2009 where he was one of my internship leaders, together with Quartier. Both were my senseis not only during the time I worked at the studio, but also afterwards, during the making of Mouse for sale. They were always there to relentlessly comment on my work, tell me in all honesty how much it sucked and give me pointers. Never satisfied but with the best, they pushed me to the next level. I owe a great deal of the skills I have to these two guys. Both had intimidatingly good graduation shorts and my goal was to try to reach their level, one way or the other.
Now, working on my new short film, I’ve officially appointed Tom as my mentor. What made me want to have Tom as my backup are the following things: 1. He is really really picky about everything and will tell you in your face if he thinks something sucks. 2. When he tears something down, he will always give you advice how to build it up again, in a very straightforward way. 3. He is extremely talented, works like crazy and doesn’t make a big fuss about it.
Both Tom and Freek have been big examples for me in attitude and professionalism. So now, being able to work on the new film with Tom as my mentor and combining both our experiences and skills is just great.
Anyway, here are some examples of Tom’s work. Too bad he is busy working all the time and doesn’t post much of what he does online. (Can’t seem to find his graduation short or much of his older work.) What he most recently has been doing was the production design of the Dutch short ”The Monster of Nix” which was the animated short the Netherlands sent to the Oscars. Together with Freek, Tom did all the backgrounds (which were almost all matte paintings, with very little actual 3D in it, which they got to work somehow) and designed a lot of the characters and props. Every time he explains to me how he made what he made I am astonished about how mundane is goes about it. I’m just very glad I’ve got an example like him to pull myself up to and to keep learning from. Here’s some of his work I found on his blog http://tomvg.blogspot.com/ and grabbed from the trailers of ”The Monster of Nix”. At the moment Tom is directing an animated series ”Picknick with Pie”, based on the kidsbook by Thé Tjong Khing.