What is your name and your current occupation?
Frodo Kuipers. I’m an animation director (mainly independent films) at my homestudio Studio Mosquito!
Furthermore I’m an animationteacher at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam (the Netherlands).
What are some of the crazier jobs you had before getting into animation?
Quite a few: I worked as a musician and actor at a Dutch theatrepark called ‘Het Land van Ooit’. It sure was a lot of fun: making music whole day, and we had a few acts and small shows we played and acted out. A lot was on an improvisation-basis, so just interact spontaniously with the audience (mostly children). I learned a lot over there, about performance, staging, focus, character, timing, in fact this job let me realize that animation is A LOT like theatre! I also worked as a postman for a while, which gave me some inspiration for a possible future short on postmen and their heroic adventures 🙂 More jobs: selling icecream, serving in a restaurant, baking pancakes, paperboy, even made workingschedules for workers of a company…
What are some of your favorite projects you’re proud to have been a part of?
I’m quite fond of my latest short ‘Fata Morgana’ (http://vimeo.com/34165189). I worked with a screenwriter which really felt succesful. The film was being part of a program called KORT!, which is ‘short’ in Dutch. Usually only live-action films are being financed by the organising broadcastcompany, but my film got financed as well. What I also find quite fancy is that I animated a few scenes for Paul Driessens latest film ‘Oedipus’. I have always admired Pauls films, so the chance of working together was really great!
And finally, one of my films (Shipwrecked) got included to Ron Diamond’s Animation Show of Shows a few years ago.
How did you become interested in animation?
When I finished high school, I didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to study. I definitelly knew that I did want to do something creative, since I always felt a passion for creating things. I simply love to create, doesn’t really matter what it is, I just need to…
I went to artschool and by coincidence I discoverd the animationdepartment which was run by Dutch animator Gerrit van Dijk. Immediately I was sold! Something really deep inside of me felt connected with that profession, so at that point I made my choice! To be honest, I didn’t know before that day that there were actually schools to learn animation. Never realised that animation is an actual business. Of course I knew the Disney-classics, but hey! They simply existed! And yeah, of course somebody drew all that, but I never thought about it really…
Where are you from and how did you get into the animation business?
I’m from the Netherlands, studied in the Netherlands (ABV Tilburg) and Belgium (KASK Ghent), and after that became a profesional. So not much adventure there, quite a regular route I guess…
What’s a typical day like for you with regards to your job?
Usually I start working around 10 am. Since I work at my homestudio, I’ve got lots of freedom of scheduling my time. A do work late at night, probably until 11 pm.
What part of your job do you like best? Why?
I really like storyboarding and the animation-phase. To me it’s a very creative part which suits me a lot. I also like compositing, since at that point the film finally gets together. And finally the sounddesign we do in the studio is great. I usually work with great sounddesigners!
What part of your job do you like least? Why?
I really hate the fact that your job is so damn insecure. There’s always the question whether your plans get funded or not, or whether you get the assignment or not. I feel really bad about that part of the job. If I ever quit, that definitelly will be the reason why!
What kind of technology do you work with on a daily basis?
Mostly just a lightbox and sheets of good-old-fashioned paper 😀 I do finish my animations digitally (like coloring and compositing of course), but I simply love the character of Indian ink on paper.
What is the most difficult part for you about being in the business?
Like I said before, the insecurity…
In your travels, have you had any brushes with animation greatness?
In fact I did! After graduation I was an artist in residence at the NIAf (Netherlands Institute for Animationfilm) in the Netherlands. That was a great experience, since I was able to develop my skills further. A lot of great animators came by to give lectures and guidence like Michael Dudok de Wit, Paul Driessen, Mark Baker, Konstantin Bronzit, Kyle Balda, Normand Roger, Chris Hinton, Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbes, and others. (At least: I think that’s what you mean by this question?)
Any side projects or you’re working on or hobbies you’d like to share details of?
When I have the time I really like lego’s to give my mind a break 🙂
Is there any advice you can give for an aspiring animation student or artist trying to break into the business?
Be sure to let the world know you’re there! Jobs won’t come to you, you need to go after them!