Our alumni: how are they doing? Reinier Noordzij and 'EDWIN'

"After finishing my two graduation films for the Master’s Degree Programme at the Film Academy in September 2011, I discussed my future as a director and writer with various potential partners. One of them was The Sharks, a young and new production company in Amsterdam. Previously they were responsible for programs like 'From Moscow to Magadan' with Jelle Brandt Corstius. Initially, I talked with them about making a documentary.

At the end of that conversation, I had just a little time left to introduce the idea of 'EDWIN', a comedy series I had developed with two friends from my previous study, the Maastricht Theatre Academy. Because we had managed to shoot some scenes based on this concept during the Master’s Degree Programme, I could show some material. The producer immediately responded enthusiastically and a week later, we were pitching 'EDWIN' to broadcaster BNN. After their positive response, the ball started rolling. Eventually, pilot episode of 'EDWIN' was broadcast during the TV Lab in the summer of 2012 in cooperation with BNN and NED3.

Three of us had written the script and I co-directed the episode. It was a great joy. I’ve learned a great deal from the practical involvement throughout the process – from the empty Word document through to the shooting period and up until the last day of editing. These experiences are priceless. This goes for the creative battles over the writing table as well as for the decision making during shooting and working so closely together in and with an entire team.

The basis for these experiences was built during the Master’s Degree Programme. I would definitely recommend each student to use each and every possibility the programme offers to reach a presentable end product. By ‘placing your feet in the mud’, you get a better feel for your strengths and weaknesses.
To me, it  also became obvious that a good idea can be pitched much better when you support it with visual material. At the moment, we are working hard to further develop our concept.

Next to all of this, I am concentrating on writing. I have been able to experiment a lot and develop my ‘voice’ under the relative protective conditions of both the Maastricht Theatre Academy and the Master’s Degree Programme of the Film Academy. I consider myself lucky to have had these opportunities. They allowed me to create a foundation on the basis of which I can continue my development. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of investment, but in the end the result is a clear focus. In my opinion this enhances my productive creativity. More and more, I am learning to enjoy the process and not only fanatically pursue the final goal.

I've formed a close circle of people around me who are able to be critical towards my work. I have them watch and read stuff I produce. This way, I’m forced to keep asking myself what I have made and why it had to be me making it. In the Master’s Degree Programme teachers have this function, but afterwards you‘ll have to look elsewhere for this feedback. I believe in this continuum of keeping ‘teachers’ in your life. Once you think you’ve learned everything there is to know you stop developing. It is impossible. At least for me it is.

My love for a tragicomic approach, which originated at the Theatre Academy and blossomed during the Master’s Degree Programme of Film, is now becoming more mature. More grounded. But again, I’m still learning. So I force myself to prolong my studies by seeing lots of tv series, films and screenings and study them thoroughly: why does this scene work so well? Why doesn’t this joke pay off? How is the story structured? Again and again, so that I can keep applying the results in my own work in a better way.

Furthermore, I am writing a web series and I am working on the development of a web site. As an actor, I play a small supporting role in the web series 'Ideal Love' ('Ideale Liefde'). Very occasionally I can still be found at my former employer Kemna Casting, And once in a while I direct a corporate film."

March 2013


Read more about 'EDWIN' on BNN's website.

Reinier Noordzij