We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Job Roggeveen, Joris Oprins & Marieke Blaauw the founders of the Dutch studio Job, Joris & Marieke a studio for animation, illustration, character design and music.
The studio was founded in 2007 in Utrecht by Job Roggeveen, Joris Oprins & Marieke Blaauw. They work on commercials, educational projects, music videos and short films. The music for all their work is composed by Happy Camper, an award winning music project by Job. And obviously in their turn the studio creates all the music videos for Happy Camper.
In 2015 their short film “A Single Life” was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated short.
Their short film “MUTE” won several international awards, amongst which the Grand Prix and Audience award on the Holland Animation Film Festival.
Their most known work is the music clip I’ll Take You Along for rapper Gers Pardoel. With 17 million views it was the best viewed Dutch music video ever on Youtube.
In 2012 the children’s series “The Tumblies” was released. Job, Joris & Marieke worked on the concept and character design. It’s being broadcast in Holland, Italy, Turkey and Indonesia.
CGB – Can you explain each of your art backgrounds, expertise, and how the three of you met?
JJ&M: We met during our study for product designer at the Design Academy Eindhoven. We discovered we all had a passion for telling stories, which is a bit difficult when your designing a chair. So after our study Joris and Marieke went to do an internship and later work as animator in the stop motion studio Pedri Animations on the TV series Miffy. Meanwhile Job was working as a graphic designer and illustrator. At some point we decided to join forces and we founded our studio. Job is our composer and he’s doing a big part of the art direction. Joris animates and he does the main part of the directing, Marieke also animates and she mainly focuses on script-writing. But actually, all we do overlaps quite a bit.
CGB – What is your main motivation for creating short films?
JJ&M: We just love to tell stories and creating our own universe, with our rules.
CGB – All of your films have unique looking characters designs. Can you explain the process you go through coming up with the look and feel of each of the characters in your films?
JJ&M: We like to create character that are iconic. So we keep them as simple and stylized as possible. Our characters usually are made of one basic shape with arms and legs, so no neck or an individual head. If it’s not necessary for the story to give them ears or a nose, they don’t get one. For our short film MUTE the characters did get ears and a nose, that was because it was a film about characters without a mouth, and if you want to emphasize the missing mouth you do need to show some ears and a nose. Or with our latest film (Otto) the character has a neck and a head. That was important for the story. The film is about an imaginary friend whom the public can’t see. So the viewer could only know where the imaginary friend was by looking at the viewing direction of the other characters. So the characters needed to be able to turn their heads and look in a specific direction.
CGB – What do you do for inspiration, and how do you come up with the ideas for your stories? Can you explain your process?
JJ&M: Up until now the concepts of our short films always have come from something that has happened to us. For MUTE that was when Joris went swimming and cut his toe. He thought the cut looked a little bit like a mouth, and that’s how the idea came to life to make a short film about people without a mouth. And for A Single Life the idea came from when we were still students hanging out in Joris’ student room. We were listening to a vinyl record. Suddenly the record skipped and we thought; did the record just skip or did we travel through time a little but? And for (Otto) we got the idea to make a film about an imaginary friend when the daughter of Joris and Marieke had an imaginary duckling. She took the duckling to a party and everybody started to play with the duck. At one point the daughter showed the duckling to her grandma, but because the party was very loud, grandma misheard when the daughter said ‘look my duckling’ and grandma thought she was talking about imaginary food and she ate the duckling.
CGB – What hardware and software do you use and which ones do you find indispensable for your productions? Do you have a favorite?
JJ&M: We work on pc’s, so we get laughed at a lot. We use all the adobe programs and we work mainly in Cinema 4d, which feels like really intuitive 3D software.
CGB – Do you use any special software plug-ins?
JJ&M:We work a lot with Magic Bullet looks, to give our films some extra atmosphere.
CGB – What are the biggest challenges you have had to face creating your shorts?
JJ&M: Every concept we come up with is pretty weird and it is always a challenge to translate it into a short film. How do you create a funny and believable story about people without a mouth who have to cut themselves to get one?
How do you explain the concept of time traveling through your own life with a vinyl single in only two minutes? Or how do you tell the story of an imaginary friend whom the audience can’t see and who also gets stolen by someone else?
CGB – What is your favorite project you’ve worked on so far?
JJ&M: Our favorite project is always the last project we’ve worked on, so that would be (Otto) at the moment.
CGB – Would you like to create a longer feature film someday or do you want to continue creating shorter stories? Can you briefly explain the pros and cons of each?
JJ&M: We have made a lot of short films and music videos that were about 3 to 4 minutes of length. Our latest short (Otto) is ten minutes long, and the project we’re working on right now is going to be 25 minutes. So we’re taking it one step at a time and we’re learning to tell longer stories and make longer films. We’re even working on a the concept of a feature right now. Making a feature is the biggest dream, you will have so much time to bring your story and your characters to life, and the audience has so much more time to connect to the film and to be touched. But we honestly don’t know which length suits us the best. I guess we’ll just have to try them all.
CGB – Can you explain the process your team goes through picking the music for your films?
JJ&M: Job composes all the music for our films. So while we’re creating the film and animating he’s sitting next to us composing the soundtrack. This is very organic because we can react on each others work. And it is very easy to make changes either to the music or to the animation. Because Job is the composer but also the creator of the film he understands better than any composer what kind of music the film needs.
CGB – Do you see any emerging technologies or innovations that will have significant impact on your creative process over the next few years?
JJ&M: For a while now we have a 3D printer in our studio. We made a 3D printed installation called ‘Freeze’ last year.
And it’s nice since we have a stop motion background that we can hold our characters in our hands again.
CGB – Where do you see the indie movie industry going in the next 5 10 years?
JJ&M: We think a lot of new movies will be published online. It would be great if there would be a profitable platform for short films.
CGB – What advice do you have for budding artists who would like to start creating their own animations or short films?
JJ&M: Find other people and work together, you will get so much more done with a team. And the more you make the better you get.
And don’t be afraid to publish something. All the different responses you get will teach you something.
CGB – What are your thoughts on getting a formal art education?
JJ&M: In the Netherlands we find there is sometimes not enough work for all the graduated art students. Maybe it’s better if there would be less or smaller schools. At the same time there are people, like us, who are autodidacts. They will find the way to what they do best even without the right schooling.
CGB – What are your favorite top 4 animated movies?
- Mary and Max by Adam Elliott
- Monsters Inc. by Pixar
- My Neighbour Totoro by Ghibli
- Father and Daughter by Michael Dudok de Wit
Find out More About Them Below
Official Website – ( http://www.jobjorisenmarieke.nl/ )
Facebook – ( https://www.facebook.com/jobjorisenmarieke )
Twitter – ( https://twitter.com/jobjorismarieke )
Vimeo – (https://vimeo.com/jobjorismarieke)
On iTunes “A Single Life”
On iTunes “Otto”