Category Archives: inventions

Find a Producer & Funding!

Since leaving the most amazing residency program in the Netherlands, Netherlands Institute for Animated Film , I’ve been hoping to be part of a residency again. Also, I kept hoping to have an opportunity to get my film funded. Financing your own film has it’s pros like you have 100% control over your film but the biggest cons is that it will eat up your bank account!

In 2014 winter, I set out on a mission to find a producer who would help me find a way to finance our next short film. About 90% passed this journey, I gave a presentation at MICA animation department without the conclusion. Now I do have the ending to this story so I decided to post a revised version on this blog.


All through 2014, we were researching & contacting many people for various possibilities in producing our next film outside of US. Later in the year, it reached the point that we were not sure what else to do….

My animation fairy godmother, Laurence Arcadias (MICA Animation department chair) suggested to submit to a competition at MAISON DES SCENARISTES <> author-to-producer meeting in association w/ Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival in France.

Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival is the biggest short film festival in the world with a huge film market attached. A lot of filmmakers, producers, distributors and people related to film industry attend from all over Europe.

Author-to-producer meeting is where each filmmaker gets a table and different producers who may be interested in your film idea will come and discuss. It’s like speed dating!

In order to win this competition and to have a table at the festival, I needed to submit a script for my short film and 1 pager for my feature film idea. 180 films were submitted, 60 were preselected and at the end, only 16 were chosen.

There were a few producers who were interested in our projects…but I felt like I needed to take full advantage of the situation and meet more producers while I was at Clermont-Ferrand!
Luckily, George Gruber from Magnetfilm from Berlin, who has been distributing our films since 2010 was attending the film market.

In middle of conversation, he mentioned that Short Shorts Film Festival bought the rights in Japan for Something Left, Something Taken, and pointed down from the balcony that “Aki” from the festival is here.

Aki, is one of the representative from Short Shorts Film Festival. As we were chatting, Igor, a director from an animation festival called Animateka happened to have a booth right in front of Aki. I met Igor last year at Animabar in Kosovo. Since we had a layover in Slovenia for 12hours, he generously took us around all day after no sleep traveling from Kosovo to Macedonia to Slovenia.

I told Igor about my mission at Clermont-Ferrand and he said I should check out “EURO CONNECTION”, which was a pitch session for producers to find co-production. Even though that wasn’t what I was looking for, Igor thought it would be helpful for me to see how people present their projects that aren’t realized yet. …good point!

So I attend Euro Connection and it was helpful as Igor said. However, the sparks in my eyes quickly disappeared during the 10min coffee break. Somebody accidentally spilled an entire pot of coffee on my white scarf…

Heartbroken and frustrated, I was trying to clean my white scarf when a lady asked if I were OK and grabbed some napkins for me. That was Nidia from Ikki Films.

*Note: Nidia was 5 months pregnant at the time.

After the break, Nidia and her partner, Edwina, took on the stage and presented the project they were producing. I thought it was meant to be and made an appointment later to discuss my project.

All of that went well, but as a foreigner and 0 budget, it was hard for Ikki Films to sign a contract with me.
Then appeared my animation fairy god-mother, Laurence again.

“Apply to Ciclic!” she said. Ciclic is a residency program that funds a projects, big enough to have a team. Laurence said if I got the Ciclic fund, it would be easier for the producers to gather rest of the money.

The biggest problem was…… We only had 3 days to prepare application for the Ciclic fund deadline……Well, you have to do what you have to do. With hyper focus and sleepless nights, we finished.

Since the story is about packing, Laurence suggested to put all the paperwork into crafted suitcase. What a great idea!!

Luckily we passed the preselection. At that moment, we needed to sign a contract with a French producer so we went back to Ikki Films with the great news. From there, it was smooth. We signed the contract, then had a final interview with the judges from Ciclic and we got the funding!

So what is the news? We are directing our next film in France at Ciclic, produced by Ikki Films!
Thank you everybody who connected all the dots and made this work. I feel extremely lucky to have all these people believing in Max & Ru’s films!

Art from the Past

I took pictures of some of the drawings I made in elementary school.

A drawing from 2nd grade.

4 panels story telling assignment from 4th grade.

3 comics I submitted to monthly manga magazine, “Nakayoshi”.
From left, 4th grade, 5th grade and 6th grade. Apparently I submitted every year.
The first two were collaboration work with my best friend, Gimi. The last one, I made it by myself and switched to comedy.

They’re embarrassingly rough, no story arch, only close ups, no background, too much dialogue, etc etc the list of what is “wrong about it” goes on. I was only placed in the lowest level “C-class” and there is no doubt about it.
I made a poster for my bedroom that said “Let’s go to AUSTRALIA” with a drawing of myself holding a koala bear, because the first prize for the comic competition was 1,000,000 YEN (10K USD) and a trip to Australia. Somehow, I believed that I would be the first 10-13 years old to debut and win the first prize. Dream big kid… Sorry it didn’t turn out that way… but I am impressed with my past-self for having motivation, dedication and determination. In a way, my work ethics was built through those years.

Waiting with a CAT

I went to a restaurant to see some friends.
While waiting, I saw a cat in the court yard though a window.
Cats are a bit too moody, mysterious and I don’t like how they stare at you.

The first drawing of the cat is pretty hilarious. Do I know how to draw? It doesn’t even look like a cat. Perhaps a stuffed animal?
But as I started drawing, I got obsessed with this cat. The cat slept pretty much the whole time but once in awhile, it moved its position and stared at me for a few seconds as if it were saying
“Did you finish drawing this pose? Fine, I’ll give you another one.”

After an hour, the cat started to stretch, lick paws and gave me variety of quick poses.
The cat left and in exchange, my friends started to arrive.
Thanks cat for keeping a company.

How to use Beta tapes

Every film festival requires different formats for the screening tape that you have to make tons of tapes. Beta SP NTSC, Beta SP PAL, Digi Beta, HDCam, etc… It’s all good when they’re circulating the world. But after 2 years of film festivals, what do you do with these beta tapes?
They take up a lot of space but you can’t really throw away.
Here’s the solution.
Beta tapes are REALLY useful when you need to prop the sets up temporarily. They’re like LEGOs. You can adjust the height easily and they stack up nicely. (*note: This will not work for stop-motion…obviously)

Example 01: Far away background house

I wanted to put something for the far away background. The problem was that the sets were already taking up the desk and didn’t have anything of that height to prop up a house back there.

Thanks for a lightkit case and several beta tapes, I could prop up a house back there! Yay!

Example 02: Upshot

Since this was an upshot, the sets needed to be positioned very high. Hmmm… desks aren’t adjustable.

Thanks to several beta tapes, I could prop up the entire street.

Example 03: Downshot

This was a downshot so the sets needed to be on the floor. I just needed to put another wall because the camera was panning.

No problem, the beta tapes propped up a wall and also stabilized.

Very happy that we found a way to use old beta tapes and recycle into something else :)

Air Balloon / Luchtballon

My friend, Ayumi, had an idea to craft an air balloon for his son, Taro. Somehow, I got obsessed with this idea and made an air balloon! She has been a wonderful and supportive friend in the Netherlands so I wanted to make something to thank her.

Flying all over Tilburg.

Since I finished making the air balloon right before I left Holland that I didn’t get to see Taro’s reaction. Thankfully Ayumi took pictures and sent them to me.

Ring Pillow

My brother and his wife requested me to create a ring pillow for their wedding.
They’ve also asked us if they ccould become background characters in the upcoming film.
So that was the wedding gift for them. Baby seal ring pillow and citizenship in an animated film.