Hi visitors,

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.

Enjoy.

Hi readers,

time for another post.

As described in the last post I was invited at the Film Festival of Ghent to participate at a debate about working abroad vs. working in Belgium, in the audio-visual business. That was a few weeks ago, but it was really an interesting and truthful discussion, everyone saying like it is. The group consisted of 2 studio bosses, a leader of a cultural/audio-visual concern, a teacher/freelancer, Frédéric Du Chau (director in the States for Disney), myself (starting freelancer/director) and Jan Verheyen (director in Belgium) as the moderator.

We talked about our experiences working in Belgium and abroad. Frédéric mainly comparing the American style of working with the European/Belgian style. It was great hearing first hand from him how things work overseas. He knows about both sides, which made him the ideal person to compare them. It was very inspiring to hear him talk about his path of life and how he fulfilled his dreams. How tough it was and how worthwhile it has been.

We also talked a great deal about education and school. That’s where I kicked in. We asked ourself a lot of questions, talking from our own experiences. Things like: is the gap between the graduating student and the actual industry too big? Is integrating students in studio’s (a bit like I did by doing extra internships) a good thing? How can we take students to the next level, during their studies? I really enjoyed the fact that people really said what they thought, even if it meant you bothered someone else by doing so. This made the discussion worthwhile.

I also had the chance to show my graduation short Mouse for sale to Frédéric and to get feedback from him. He said he was pretty impressed and said that I should go for it, if I was thinking to work in the States. It was a bit surreal talking about it and I said I would think about it.

But anyway, here’s a picture of the whole gang. Except for me, because I was on the toilet for 2 minutes the moment the photographer came by.. So far for my timing. So I drew myself in the picture as best as I could.

Here’s one with me in real life.

And one with Frédéric.

In every day life I’m still working on the new film. Going over it again and again and again. Have to get it right. More about that later.

Cheerios!
Wouter

Hi there friends,

some more news.

Wanted to let you know I’ll be participating in a debate at the upcoming Film Festival of Ghent: http://www.cinevox.be/nl/talent-van-eigen-bodem-op-eigen-bodem/ Friday morning the 14th of October, in the Kinepolis in Gent. Reservations are already closed, but I’d thought I’d let you know anyway.. It will be a talk about wether or not it’s a good thing to stay in Belgium as a filmmaker, or if the Holy Grail is found abroad, in the States for example. Big guest is the Belgian director Frédéric Du Chau, director of Racing Stripes and Underdog. He has made the move to the States more than a decade ago. As always, I feel very honored to be invited at a debate with such a group of talented, experienced people..

Also, Mouse for sale has been released on DVD, on this year’s ”Selected Shorts 13: The Best Flemish Short Flims”: http://www.selectedshorts.com/product_info.php?products_id=93&osCsid=6fcfc16a3270a5d3b044d0de You can buy the DVD in most stores that sell films, for 15euros. It’s really a bargain, because you get almost 3,5 hours of Flemish short films (11 live-actions shorts, 2 animated shorts) in return. Lot’s of them have won prizes at international film festivals. It’s really fun to see how all these directors have got their own characteristic approach to film making.

It’s only now that I have really started watching a lot of live-action shorts. Makes me very excited. It’s great to see how the film makers experiment making these shorts. That’s the big advantage over feature film for me: you have got a lot more room for experimentation, not having to deal with huge budgets and box office results. I’m planning on watching the past Selected Shorts DVD’s as well, trying to learn more from my live-action director colleges.

That’s it for now. Working hard every day on the preproduction and designs of my new film and the weekly Groenland animations.

Peace!
Wouter

Hi friends,

it’s been time for a new post since quite a while. So here it is. Here are some updates.

I’m working on my new animated short full time. Doing all the designs and fine-tuning the script, while being mentored by the übertalented Tom Van Gestel. It’s the first time that I’m giving the character and set designs such an important role, within the story and the look of the film. I really wanted to raise the bar, in comparison to Mouse for sale and play with styles and designs. Working on this is taking up most of my days. As always, it includes a great deal of struggles and trial and error. But the film is really starting to live and breath, which is really fun to see. Just keep on going, that’s the mantra.

Apart from the new film I’ve gotten the chance do short animated pieces for a program on the Belgian TV channel ”één” (= one). For 42 weeks I’ll be supervising and creating 20 seconds of animation, each week. It is part of a new gardening program called ”Groenland” (= Greenland). As a transition between the 3 big segments of the program there will be short animated pieces. These are 2D (flash animated and watercolor background) clips, where you see a drawn version of the host going from one set to the other, in an amusing way (or so we try). A good friend of mine who studied animation at the same school, Matty Jorissen, is doing the character animation. I’m doing the supervision and the painting of the backgrounds. I wish I could show you some of the results, but I’m not allowed to put it online. So you’ll have to do with the picture above. :) You can always watch the program on TV, every Sunday at 18h15, on één. Here are some pieces of the program online, though not including the animation: http://www.een.be/programmas/groenland

I’ve also recently made an overview of the festivals where Mouse for sale has been or will be shown. Might be fun to post it here as well:

Giffoni Film Festival 2011 (Italy),  Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2011 (USA), Festival Int. de cinéma jeunesse de Rimouski 2011 (Canada), 13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival 2011 (South-Korea), Int. Art Film Festival for Children in Colombia 2011 (Colombia), 34th International Children’s Film Festival LUCAS 2011 (Germany), Kaliber35 Munich Int. Short Film Festival 2011 (Germany), 19th Filmfest Hamburg 2011 (Germany), Curtocircuito Santiago de Compostela ISFF 2011 (Spain), International Film Festival Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne 2011 (France), Emmentaler Filmtage 2010 (Switserland), MCM Filmfest 2011 (The Netherlands), Anima 2011 (Belgium), Film Festival Oostende 2011 (Belgium),  Intern. Short Film Festival Leuven 2010 (Belgium), 14th Brussels Short Film Festival 2011 (Belgium), Het Grote Ongeduld! 2010 (Belgium)

It has become quite a list. I’m just really happy so many people can enjoy the film this way and that it can mean something to people who don’t even speak the same language as I do.

Other than that I’ve moved to Hasselt, about 20km from where I lived before in Genk. It was time for a change. So at the moment, I’m just working on these projects and trying to be happy.

Peace, W

Swimming with a whale must be awesome..

Hi guys,

thought I’d keep you guys up to date about what I’m doing at the moment and what I’ve been doing lately. Here’s a small overview..

In progress / doing at the moment:

screenwriting and storyboarding my new animated shortfilm (with the VAF Wildcard budget)

supervising and doing the post-production for a short ”Feeling” magazine commercial for the Flemish TV (assignment by Hotel Hungaria)

making 1,5 minute of animation for a segment of a kids-program pilot, possibly for a Flemish TV-station (initiative of a group of freelancing television makers)

illustrating for the sketchbook of Genk (doing this now and then, and will be doing this for quite a while)

Done / recently completed:

post-production of a Toyota Prius commercial for national television (assignment by Hotel Hungaria)

making the storyboard and animatic of an episode of an animated series for kids, for a Flemish TV-station (assignment by animation studio Hoaxland)

supervising and doing the post-production and animation for 4 internetcommercials for DVV Verzekeringen (assignment by Hotel Hungaria), one can still be found here: Jean-Marie Pfaff trickshots

Things have been going very well and I’ve been able to keep busy all the time. Getting out of school and finding a way into the professional world was a challenge. But by sticking to the philosophy of always doing your best, however big or small the project, and always trying to deliver great work, things worked out.

I’ve almost always been working at my home on all the projects, as a freelancer. It’s got its pros and cons. Biggest pro is that you can structure your day as you wish. (Which is a con at the same time.) Biggest con is that you are working on your own for most of the time. (Which is a pro at the same time.) All in all, I like it and I’m very grateful to be in the position that I am in now.

Here’s a peek at my workroom.

cheers W

Hi,

here’s a little owl I painted for my dad his birthday. On old wise owl..

bye, W

Hi all,

I’ve started drawing for the city of Genk since a couple of weeks.  The end product will be a little book that will be sold in the touristic points in Genk, full of drawings of places in and around Genk (by me, yeah, it’s a bit crazy..). The goal for the book is to be a coloring book for kids and at the same time an enjoyable picture book of the city, for adults.

It’s a great assignment, one that means a lot to me. It’s really liberating to get out and draw again, in the open. Being freed up from the computer. Back to paper and marker. Love it.

I’ll keep you up to date!

cheers W

Just got back from Berlin, visiting a couple of friends and getting to know the city. It was just as gritty and raw as i imagined it would be. The city breathes and bleeds history, everything you see has a story. A very active and youthful place, full of life and initiative. A very inspirational place to be, really liked it.

Hey friends,

if you might be bored or have 10 minutes to kill, here’s an interview made by De Positieve Revolutie.

De Positieve Revolutie is an initiative by a couple of active people, who feel that’s it’s time for our school systems to give a bit more attention again to the individual talents of our pupils. Talents, other than listening to, remembering and reproducing information that is being given to them. A cause I feel is worth standing up for.

In this context, De Positieve Revolutie contacted me to do an interview and talk about how I became an animator and how the road to my passion looked like. Enjoy. :)

Here is another interview, of the Belgian actress Joke Devynck, which I found very inspiring. It really struck me how we say the same things a lot of the time.

Hi friends,

last week was an amazing week: I won the VAF Wildcard for animation and got the 2nd prize in the animation competition with Mouse for sale, at the International Short Film Festival in Leuven, Belgium.

The VAF Wildcard means that the Flemish Audiovisual Fund grants me a scholarship to make a new short. It has to be minimum 5 minutes long and the deadline is 31 December 2012. 2 fiction filmmakers, 2 documentary filmmakers and myself as an animation filmmaker all won this scholarship. Here is more info: click here.

It is absolutely surreal to be awarded this prize… The fact that I get this amazing chance to make a new short is crazy. The great thing is that I can choose how to spend the budget on the production, which people to work with and have complete ownership of the film from a creative standpoint. Still can’t fully believe it actually.

I never thought my little simple film would have so much of an impact. I feel so blessed with people coming towards me every day, telling me how much they enjoyed the short. It’s so rewarding seeing so many people enjoying the film.

Here’s a short video registration of the last evening at the International Short Film Festival in Leuven. My part is somewhere near the end, if you would be interested.

Congrats to all the VAF Wildcard winners!

During the year I was working on my short and the year before, during my internships, I always wrote down words I found that inspired me or encouraged me and kept them somewhere on my desk. I thought I could share these with you guys, so they can encourage you too, if you would need them to.

cheers
W

 

Hey guys,

got some great news. The main Belgian short film site Kortfilm.be, that gives a review of every short film (student and pro) that enters a big festival, gave me a really really good review. Did not expect this. They gave me 3 out of 4 stars.

For the review on their site, click here.

And finally there is a short interview thing that I was allowed to do, giving a kind of preview/taste of my short. This is for the site Kortfilm.be and will also be shown in the upcoming Belgian filmfestivals.

Click here to see it.

Hey guys,

here’s an update on the filmfestivals ”Mouse for sale” is selected for so far. More festivals will let me know if they have selected my film, in the upcoming months. I’ll let you know then.

Cheers!

Wouter

*WINNER VAF Wildcards Animation 2010*

>  4-11 december, Leuven (2nd Prize Flemish Animation Competition + Winner Wildcard see above)

Het Grote Ongeduld! 2010 > 17 november, Brussels  (Winner Canvasprize)

Hi friends,

Here some fun news:

I found my face on the cover of my school (KHLim) magazine. I didn’t know anything about it, it was quite a surprise pulling this out of my mailbox.. :)

Hi friends,

I gave a workshop in Genk today, about the basics of 3D animation. The cultural center of Genk has moved to a new location, right next to the old mines. They renovated the old minebuildings as well, such an amazing atmosphere.. For the opening of this new cultural centre they organised a lot of workshops. They asked me to give one dealing with 3D animation.

I really enjoyed giving the workshop. First I went over the basics of 3D animation, every time illustrating the particular phase with my own film (= ”Mouse for sale”). Then we did some basic modeling and animation. It really surprised me how fast they got the hang of it all.

It was really fun sharing all this ”knowlegde” with these nice people. It was great seeing them experience how fun it is to make a ball bounce in 3D, or model a simple truck.

Hope to do this again in the future.

Peace, Wouter

Hi friends,

I have the honor of making a little illustrated book/coloring book consisting of about 30 of my drawings for the city of Genk, where I live. The plan is to make black and white drawings of sights and things in Genk, the well known spots but also little jems that I have discovered over the years. Special thanks goes to Anniek Nagels, Kristof Reulens en Eddie Guldolf.

It’s all very fun and exciting, making stuff for the real world.. I’m really enjoying it.

Bye! W

These are the drawings the people from Genk saw and were referring to, when they explained to me what they were looking for in the book.

Oh yes, I was also invited on a talkshow on our local TV channel. I feel very honored with all the attention people are giving me..

Not my quote, don’t remember where I found it..

W

Hi friends,

I’m enjoying my holiday very very much. Went away for a while and now I’m focusing on sending my film to all the interesting shortfilm festivals.

I’m not in a very talkative mood at the moment, so I’ll just let the pictures below do the talking.

PS: My film is being shown all summer long (july and august) in the Euroscoop in Genk, Belgium, every thrusday and sunday right before the ”Projector cinema” film. Special thanks to Kristof Reulens and Eddie Guldolf for that! Here is the movie line-up for Projector cinema this summer: http://www.projectorcinema.be/

And I won the ”Zebracinema” prize with my short Mouse for sale. My short will be screened in front of the Zebracinema film in 8 theatres all over Limburg, Belgium, for a week. Here is the program for Zebracinema: http://www.zebracinema.be/programma I will also be part of a discussionpanel for an animationevening special at Z33 in Hasselt. Details will follow.

Taking a break from animating, with a coffee of course.

Modeling the head of one of the kids. It wasn’t easy to make a simple yet appealing design.

Rough storyboardbrainstorming at a café.

Snickers listening to some music.

My buddy Garif Telzhanov hitting the strings at the recording of the music for the movie.

Anton Walgrave overseeing the recording at recording studio Sugar Beat (Tienen, Belgium).

All the bandmembers taking a break from recording, left to right: Johan Ruyters, Olivier Wery, Graif Telzhanov and Yoan Fernandez.

My man Olivier Wery, the composer of the music and drummer of the band, thinking things over.

The filmmusic written by Mister Wery.

The band and I, at the end of a long day of recording.

Mixing the sound (foley, music, ambiance) with my superstephbrother Bert Lenaerts.

One of the several after-work hours soundmixing with Bert.

A screenshot from a 3D scene of the movie.

The kid gone bad for no apparent reason.

A funny coincidence during the compositing of the final renders: a parallel universe.

The 5 computers at school that I used for rendering. Total amount of rendering was about 1000 hours.

Screenshot of the movie: another kid, Alfred, enters the petshop..

Mouse for sale: Snickers has got an idea.

Mouse for sale: peanut!

Mouse for sale: Alfred and Snickers.

My little girl, me and my big nose on a holiday in France. Love this picture.

bye

W

wallysketches?

Welcome to the blog of the Belgian animator called Wouter 'Wally' Bongaerts. This is where he puts his sketches, photo's and works in progress. It's kept simple for your pleasure. Feel free to roam around or contact him at wouterbongaerts@gmail.com!