Helloooooo Blog  

Posted by Nicole in

Hi people, long time no message. A lot has happened so this update will be of epic length. I wanted to write it yesterday but I needed my diary to remember the past and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Rushed to school and my teacher found it. So now the adventures start again:

Parental visit
My parents and little sister visited me for a few days. It was a lot of fun and finally I ate some good food again. My cooking is not that bad but sometimes I don’t know what to cook anymore. It’s always pasta, nachos, some strange curry and it then starts over again unless I’ve got a package from Holland with nice Dutch food. We shopped, ate, drank and they visited some tourist attractions I already had seen a few times. We also climbed Arthur’s Seat on a very sunny day, really beautiful! I was really happy they came to visit me.

A guy named Oscar van Heek emailed me asking if we could meet. He explained that he is a producer and a teacher at the Napier Film University and that my scriptwriter Jonathan had done a presentation about my animation Lilly. He showed Oscar some drawings I had made and Oscar wanted to talk about my project with me. We would meet in a cinema café (how appropriate). I was a bit nervous and it almost felt like a blind date :s I had never seen him before.
He was very friendly and asked where I was from. I told him I was Dutch and he told me he was Dutch too! He moved to the UK when he was young but he still visits Holland sometimes. So we did the rest of the conversation in Dutch, I was so happy.
He told me they were busy making a series and when he saw my drawings of Lilly he said that was the style they were looking for. His project is still in development and I’m not sure how much I can tell so I’ll leave it like this. Maybe to be continued….

Extra shooting day
After loading the footage for my animation Patricia and me discovered there was dirt on the lens so all our footage was not usable. So we planned to do it over. I had to order a second cake and when I wanted to pick it up in the morning before starting filming, the cake shop was closed! On the door they said they would be open at 10 but they opened much later. I got a second cake for the same discount which is really nice of them. It looks a bit different then the first one but that didn’t matter because we had to do everything over.
At the apartment for our shoot I discovered I forgot the reference for Lilly, the stuffed panda I use to see the size of Lilly in the shots. Patricia forgot some cables to upload the footage to my laptop because this time we wanted to make sure nothing would go wrong. So we decided to go back to fetch all the stuff in our apartments and start shooting. In the end we had quite a big delay. This time the filming went much smoother however because we knew what we had to do. We checked almost every shot on my laptop and at a certain point we saw the dust was back again! We could see that on the inside of the lens were some tiny specks, grrr. After a while Patricia discovered we could screw the lenses off and clean everything but that was also a difficult task. Every time it would dry up with spots but in the end we managed to get it clean and resume filming.
When I got home I felt so sick and stayed home for a few days.

I didn’t do anything special for Easter besides work work work. I got a lot of trouble with my drawing arm so I have to be careful.
One night I was drawing and wanted to light a candle to make it more comfy. When I looked out the window I saw huge flames coming from the building on the opposite of ours. I was like…OMG! and went to the kitchen where Rachel and her friend were. I said “look out the window!” and they were shocked too. Rachel called the fire department, her friend bolted out the door to rescue the people, I tried to put my shoes on and showed the street on a map to Rachel. Julia came in to look what all the fuzz was about. She looked and said “Nooo, I think it’s a bonfire”. I went out anyway to see what was going on. I walked closer until I could look over a wall into the garden and saw it was indeed a bonfire. Rachel’s friend came around the corner to me and told she had ran to the flat and knocked on the door and told the people of the building to go out because there was a huge fire. Everyone was confused and explained her it was a controlled fire. We walked back together and there was a huge fire truck in front of our door. We went to the firemen and told what was going on and that we were very sorry. He wasn’t mad at us and said we did the right thing.
We went inside and we heard from Rachel that the firemen first thought there was a fire at our place and banged on the door really loud, all the other people in our building were a bit shocked and the firemen rushed into our flat to see that nothing was going on. Rachel showed him what we saw out the window and he understood that we thought there was a fire. So they went away and we all laughed about it.

Studio visits
Our teacher Madevi had studio visits arranged for us in Edinburgh, to get a good look in animation studios and different ways of working. First we went to the Red Kite Studios. That was a quite big studio and everyone explained what their role was. After that we went to an animators couple that were freelancers. They work in their beautiful apartment (most of the apartments in Edinburgh are beautiful). They had a interesting project going on where they let the audience decide how the story goes and it’s supported entirely on funds.
Our last visit was at Madevi’s studio. She has her own animation company and her studio is in a huge old office building (I’ve been to the 5th floor, dunno how many more there are) which was used as a training building for cops and now all the offices are available as art studios. You can still see holes and rubber bullets in the walls. It’s really nice to be in one building with so many different artists. I believe the first two floors are used as galleries for the artists to display their work. We also met a VJ in an office close to Madevi’s. Her name was Mettje Hunneman and she was also Dutch! So we talked a bit and she invited us for her monthly screenings. After that we went home and I was so tired.
I don’t know which way I would like to work, they all seem to have their disadvantages and good points. It would be nice to try them all once in my life. Madevi is sort of our career adviser and we’ve had a couple of workshops how to make things happen in the future. So I have a plan for the future now but I’m a bit careful with telling it because I want to sort things out first. When I’m more confident about stuff I’m happy to tell you all :p

Trip to Holland
I flew alone back to Holland to spend a week at home and a few days at the Animation Festival in Stuttgart. I got really nervous a few days before the flight. I think it’s because the last time was so stressful as it was the first time flying alone and the airplane was broken and stuff. So a few days before my flight I couldn’t eat and sleep well. The flight was in the evening and I had a class first that day. I was so nervous that it was hard to concentrate and I had to take some of the calming pills. Jeremy accompanied me to the airport because if I would go alone I would think and think and get more stressed. We walked together from school to the bus and once we were in the bus everything was ok! We chatted a lot and I felt more excited than anxious. I was so happy Jeremy dropped me of there. On the airport my parents and Maarten called me a couple of times to make sure I was ok. Everything went smooth, I got my priority boarding and the flight was ok.
Maarten and my parents were there to pick me up. I got a lot of muscle ache of the stress and a huge hunger when I got home.
That weekend I was invited by Maarten’s parents to eat lobster. We went to a restaurant, they show the lobsters and you eat them. I never had them before and it was a strange experience. It’s a lot of work to get the meat out but it is yummy! It was a lot of fun!
The next day we went to 013 to see Elle Bandita live. I’ve seen her two years ago at Breda Barst and it was so awesome! She has a real nice Rotterdamse attitude and her music sounds good. This time she had a band and a new album. We stood at front and I was dancing like a crazy monkey. At some point she was talking and a guy from the audience was shouting something like “play on, no talk, your mother blabla”. She found it really annoying and asked him to shut up and leave the room. But he didn’t so she stepped off the stage into the audience and they pushed each other. In the end he did leave and she went on with her show.
Then Maarten and I had a little vacation at the Animation Festival in Stuttgart for a few days.
I also went together with Lisa to Nijmegen. She’s currently living at her parents near Germany and a trip with the train is a lot of money so we decided to meet each other in the middle, in Nijmegen. I bought a nice dress, we’ve met a guy who was a hamster breeder with his hamster called turboscheetje, and we sat outside in the sun with wine. It was a very fun day!
The other days I visited family and people.

Stuttgart was cool as always. The first day was rainy. We were at the same hotel as last time with school and Maarten and I got our own room (top floor and only a glass elevator on the outside of the building, hello fear of heights). It was nice to see old teachers, some of my old classmates and the people of my internship. I mostly visited the stuff about children animation. A day looks like this at the festival; you get up at 8 in the morning to get some breakfast in the hotel, then the first screenings would start at 2 or 3 o‘clock. We watched stuff until 6 or 7 and took a break to eat something and then you would go on till 1 or 2 o’clock in the evening. I saw a few nice things but I wasn’t amazed by an animation like I usually had in the past few times I went.
For the rest there was an annoying drunk guy that pissed everyone off, a great animation party, 2 days of hot sunny weather, the most amazing Chinese take away I’ve ever had, a hilarious move by Christoffel in the cinema where we couldn’t stop laughing anymore.

So those are all the updates. The last couple of weeks I’ve worked because there were so many deadlines. I had a lot of presentations, but they all went well. Last Thursday there was an animation day where I’ve learned a lot! I also have a mentor now. His name is Frank Gresham and he’s from America but currently he’s director of the animation Dennis and Gnasher at the Red Kite Studios (Dennis de Bengel for the Dutch people). We’ve had our first meeting and it was very useful. It was supposed to be one hour but in the end we’ve talked for 2,5 hours.

In short news:
- The last couple of days were very hot and sunny so I’m working on a healthy tan and read a lot in the meadows.
- I’m really busy and forget all the time to send postcards and to reply to people, sorry for that!
- There are 2 new girls in the flat. They’re staying her for the summer.


Posted by Nicole

There was a Repo Tour in the U.K and last Wednesday it came to Edinburgh. Repo The Genetic Opera is a film with quite a big story. I won’t bother you with a lot of details but in short it’s a movie I’m really excited with but it’s hard to get a hold on it. Thanks to one of the animation students I could buy a ticket in advance because there would be only one screening in the cinema.

The director Darren Lynn Bousman and screenwriter + playing grave robber in the movie Terrance Zdunich were there too. The screening was sold out when I got there so I was glad I bought a ticket in advance. When I wanted to go in two guys asked me if they could interview me for the radio. I told them that my English was not so good but they said that at least I was honest so I figured what the heck, I’ll try. I answered some short questions about Repo and gave my opinion about the whole problem of distribution of the movie and stuff. They thanked me and told me it would be on the BBC1 radio tomorrow.
The cinema was packed and the Darren Lyns Bousman and Terrance Zdunich introduced the movie. They said we could do whatever we want during the movie; singing along, acting out in front of the screen, yelling Booo it doesn’t matter as long as you are enjoying it.
So I watched the movie for another time (I had already bought the DVD when It came out in America). After that there was a Question and Answer with them. A lot of fun and jokes and very inspiring for me. They told everyone they would stick around as long as necessary to sign everything and maybe get a beer together. It looked like everyone was leaving but I wanted their autographs. Too bad I forgot my DVD so I bought a card of the movie with my last cabmoney. I went to them and I was the first asking for their autographs (very shy :p) They asked me if I liked the movie and stuff. Terrance Zdunich suddenly said to me “you’re awesome” and I got a huge red head and he wanted to shake my hand haha. I left after that.

While I was walking home I felt bad that I had the chance to talk to them but I didn’t do anything except for standing there like a big shy red lobster. During the screening they insisted that the public isn’t quiet anymore and we need to tell our opinions so the weird and not so big productions have their change in the cinema too. At home I wrote an email telling them what I wanted to tell and send it to them but I knew that everyone would send them mail everyday…

However the day after I got a reply from them hahaha. It said this:

You rock!

And we remember you!

Next time don't be shy

we love you@


I thought that was kinda cool haha. They actually made time for their fans. That whole adventure was quite an experience and inspiration for me and I’m happy.


Posted by Nicole in

Hey guys,

I’m extremely busy from now on. I started shooting and like always that involves a lot of chaos and stress :p You can read the whole story on http://www.improvelilly.blogspot.com/
It’s good stress though! We’re all very excited to work on this project and so far it goes great. Sorry I forget so many things lately!

Hug for you all!


Posted by Nicole in

Finally a new post! I’ve been so busy lately I neglected everyone. Sorry about that!

Everything is going great! I attend a lot of lectures even though they’re not mend for me to follow. I’m also working hard on my animation. I’m lucky I have a team of people that really like my project and work hard for it too. My producer Patricia arranged the equipment, location and all small stuff I forget :p My scriptwriter is working on the episodes and the four I’ve got now are really good. Too bad I can’t manage to make them all and I have to choose which episodes will be made.
I also have to write a critical study of my practice. The main topic of that will be how far I can stretch the limits in children animation. What’s allowed to show children and what isn’t. This week I have to hand in a draft of 3000 words.
I’ve been asked again if I want to take part in a photo shoot next week. This time in daylight and I’ll probably get the photo’s of the first shoot somewhere this week. I really need to die my hair again though -_-‘

Film festival
Yubing and I went to Glasgow last Saturday. There is a film festival going on and Yubing won a free ticket. I went with her to see Glasgow for the first time and to watch some movies. I find Glasgow a very good city to shop and it looks modern which I don't like that much. We were there at 10 in the morning to shop first. I’ve bought finally the bag I was looking for; a red leather baggy bag with particular handles, and a cute children book about phobias.
Yubing went off to see the program of her free ticket and I went to a program with movies made by kids from 9 till 21 years old. It was so creative, funny and nice to watch (and it was free too :p). I really had a great time. After that I walked through the city because Yubing wasn’t finished. We met each other again at some network party of film people/students. I was so tired and wanted to go home but every time we took a few steps there was someone else wanting to talk and have contact details. Everyone was so eager to network! I find it always difficult to do but this time I didn’t have to do anything.
I was back home at 8, hungry, tired but satisfied.

Random news
- I’ve been to dr. Sketchy again. It was so much fun.
- It snowed at some random days. Yubing and me tried to make the biggest snowman in the meadows but in the end we couldn’t lift the ball on top of the other :s
- I’ve been to some parties mainly from Joy, my ‘ex flat mate’ (we call each other that) It was so much fun and I’ve met some great new people.
- Thank you Marcel and Jetske for the nice card
- Thanks for the postcard Tante Jo en tante Wil.
- Thanx auntie Ineke and uncle Ad for the cute valentines present
- Thanks again mum for the package. Now I can eat good food and knit again hahaha.
- I’m coming back for a short visit to Holland in the beginning of May.
- You can read more about my project here: http://www.improvelilly.blogspot.com/
- I have new glasses ^_^

A cute valentines apple!


Posted by Nicole in

My sweet plant Artur grew beautiful flowers. Unfortunately he grew one too many and got out of balance. At 02:00 am he crashed into the ground and snapped his stalk. I woke up by the noise unable to save him. I really miss my flower :(


Posted by Nicole in

Photos are made by Sylwia Kowalczyk. I'll get more in a few weeks.

Random news  

Posted by Nicole in ,

Photo shoot
I had to go back to school last Monday. It was cool to see all my friends again and I even enjoyed the lectures for once. A girl came up to me during the break and asked me if I wanted to be her model for her photo shoot. She gave me her business card and showed me some of her work. I liked it a lot so I agreed and we made an appointment for Wednesday. She’s doing the MA course as well and has a business with her boyfriend, also an professional photographer.
I couldn’t wear any black clothes and I could decide what I wanted to do for makeup. So I only did some powder for the flash and nothing more, I’m not so good in makeup hehe. They made photos with one of those ancient cameras where you have to be under a cloth to make a photo. They told me it’s the best quality and they can blow up the image really big (I don’t know if they were planning to do that with my photo :s). They also told that every photo costs 5 pound 0_0 and I think they’ve made 10 photos with it and some with a huge digital camera. I was surrounded by lights, reflectors and had to look over my shoulder into the camera lol (it was a portrait photo shoot). It was so much fun and I’ve learned some stuff about lightening now ^_^ I get the photos in two weeks.

My project is going great! I’m so happy with my screenwriter. He’s the one writing the scenes after I’ve told him what I want. He understands the whole feeling of my animation and the scripts that he writes are so cool. It’s good to have someone that knows how to write dialogues. So far I’ve received 3 scripts/episodes. I’m adapting them to storyboards and after that I’ll make the animatics so me and my camera girl can start shooting.
I’m happy, my teachers are happy and soon we will get a boot camp of theory we asked them to learn us.

I haven’t send my graduation animation to any festivals because I wasn’t happy with it anymore. Some scenes need to be redone and stuff and that’s all going to happen next year. But somehow it got picked up by some people and they’re asking me if I want to send in Mala to their festivals. Kinda cool although I consider it not finished yet. It’s screened at:
- TeleviZie
- Cultuurnacht (coming soon)
- IFFB (coming soon)

Short news
-I’ve got my research proposal back (the one where I was sick, didn’t understand what I had to do and was almost too late to hand it in because everything was chaotic and unclear!). I’ve got al B’s for it and I’m not sure how to convert it but I think that’s graded as an 8 in Holland. So I’m happy, yay!
-The weather is so nice here. It’s almost like spring! But that also means no snow -_-‘
-I washed my clothes together with a matchbox somehow (I’ve never seen it before and I wonder where it came from :s) and now my clothes stink like hell, literally...they smell like sulphur.

Happy Holidays  

Posted by Nicole in

Maarten visited me in Scotland the 17th. It was so nice to see him again! The weather wasn’t that good but we shopped, visited winter wonderland, climbed Arthur Seat, saw The day the earth stood still in the cinema. Julia’s boyfriend was also visiting and they decided to make a trip to the highlands for Christmas. They asked us to come with them but we were both poor and had no money.
But we had the flat for the two of us and that was also nice. On Christmas day we took it easy, we walked in the park and began making dinner at 4. We made al sort of tapas and it took a long time to prepare them. It was fun though and we watched the Dr. Who Christmas special while eating dinner. After that we suddenly realized we totally forgot the presents! So we did that a bit late. I’ve got an Edinburgh travel guide and music box, a book about taxidermy & dead animals, a horror comic book, underpants with glitters and cupcakes, and lip gloss. So cool!
On Boxing Day we did nothing special, I’ve made some homework and we prepared for the flight back to Holland. I was again a bit nervous. But it went very smooth together with Maarten. In the plane I wasn’t afraid anymore, I didn’t even shake!
My parents were waiting for me at the airport in Germany and it was so nice to see them again. Big hugs and kisses and my dad even lifted me of the ground with my suitcase still dangling in my hand, haha! We stepped in the car and the first thing we got was a ‘friet speciaal’ (those are French fries with mayonnaise, spiced ketchup and onions). I was so longing for that!
That evening we had another Christmas. My parents waited for me hehe and again I got a lot of presents; make up, wool, ink pen, art book, writing paper, chocolate, drawing book, socks, and a lot of clothes.
New Years Eve
First the plan was to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the family. But Maarten joined with a friend and Manon also had a boyfriend and in the end we were with more people. We’ve had a nice big Greek dinner and played Xbox games and poker and soon it was 12 twelve o’clock. My dad had the nice traditional firework tree but it wasn’t as loud as normal. But the other firework was beautiful! We went also to my uncle and aunt, they live a couple of street away. It was nice to see them again. We’ve stayed there for a while watching the big smoky fire my uncle had made. Once back we played poker till 6 with my dad and went to bed.

Flight back
I had to go back alone to Edinburgh. Nobody had the time or money to support me during my flight and I wanted to try it alone. Because last time went so well. I was scared though but I know the airport (it’s very small). I was early and waited to board the plane. After a while people were already standing in line and that made me nervous so I went to join them. I’ve a priority ticket and that means that you can board first. That’s convenient for me because I can choose first where to sit and I want a place in front.
So after standing 30 minutes we finally could board the plane. I was the first yay! We had to wait outside until the people were done with checking the airplane. It took longer and longer and more people were coming to have a look. After a while we had to go inside again, but the people standing in the back saw their change to cut in the line. So it was pushing to get inside and because I was first, I was also the last one inside and got squished against the glass doors. People around me were angry and panicking and that made me scared too so I called my dad. He told me to wait there. After some more time (I can’t keep track of time because I’m a bit fuzzy of the fear pills) the airport people said the flight was canceled and we had to wait for a new airplane. I wanted to call my dad again but I was out of call credit. With my last 50 eurocent I found a paid phone and told my dad the news. They would wait on the airport until I was in the air.
After a while they announced it was boarding time again and I went to stand in line. But now they didn’t use the priority cards anymore! I was again in panic because all those people in front of me and afraid I couldn’t sit in the front. While walking to the airplane I saw my parents outside waving to me. In the airplane I noticed that the front seats where still empty and in the end I had a seat in front, yay. The flight itself was less stressful. I was a bit shaky and had stomach pain but I had everything under control. Maybe someday I’ll be cured of my flight fear!

Not much happened with my own animation project because of the holidays and the visits. But I’ve made an animation for a documentary about Alzheimer. I had to animate shriveling brain, pretty awesome! It was a last minute project but so much fun!

Animation for the documentary of Daniel Jewell