Great filmmaking takes time. It often begins years before anyone touches a camera. It begins with an idea, a moment of inspiration, or an impression, and is developed through continual revision and persistence until something is manifested in screen. Our research often begins broad. We begin with an attempt – for it is always just an attempt – to understand that person, or place, or idea, within a greater context. We set out to answer the simplest and most important questions regarding why this particular story needs be told and how it might best be represented in film. This is a process holds true for all types of film projects, but especially for documentaries. It can be quite intellectually taxing.
At Dutch Picture Industry, we are consistently in the research phase of one major project or another. We understand well that pre-production can be a test of patience and it is something that requires an ever-dynamic process of diving into the details, and then stepping back to reestablish focus. It is part of what makes documentaries such a difficult genre. It is also why the success of these projects is so contingent on preparation and research. Because, in order to fulfil the purpose of a documentary – to accurately capture a time, or place, or person in history – it comes with an obligation to first understand. To know it well, and then in all of that information to find those moments which sparkle.
These sparkles, these moments of clarity, are often created spontaneously.They are found in interviews or in on-location footage, which in the end come together to paint a hopefully candid portrait. An example of one such spontaneous discovery happened for us in a video project we did for an NGO at Landgoed Eerde. Near the end of this video shoot we captured a moment in which a rabbit exited its burrow and ran across the field. It was this moment specifically that came to summarize the video, creating perfect symbolism and an imagery that remains with the viewer. It is these instances that can make documentary filmmaking such a rewarding endeavor – to find these moments which bring project together and gives it identity.
With each new film at Dutch Picture Industry we strive to find those moments that complete the story. For creating a film or television series is a challenging endeavor and there are many ways to fall flat on the execution. Filmmaking is perhaps analogous to a large puzzle of more than 10,000 pieces. Little by little, day after day, the whole picture becomes clearer. Again, it takes time, and it can be difficult work. And despite all those challenges we face in research and filming and every subsequent step, we struggle on, and we are grateful for every opportunity to complete the puzzle.
It is funny how people always think we only make big film projects far and away. Stories about big issues and people far away. But this is so untrue. We consider ourselves as rooted in the local community from the beginning. We have made short films for the Amsterdam municipality, engaging stories about local circus about children developing their skilss. We recently drove out to Friesland. To the coaching centre of Jan en Lisanne Stenekes. This coaching center reached out to us, with the question to make a promotional video about them that they could use for their marketing and branding purposes.
Our approach is to have a talk with our clients, to get to know them and to have a sense of what their aim is with the film. Is it to bring across facts and figures? Or is it to bring across an emotion a feeling? It helps if people have a certain style in mind. At the same time, they need to be able to let go of these examples. As what might work for someone else, might not work for you. Like Jan, in this case, would love to have some cool, drone shots. But we persuaded that to come into the effective emotion, images need to be close and warm, instead of from the distant. We got to know their wishes for their personal branding video by sharing ideas and have discussions about the goals. We got a clearer view on our task as storytellers and that way we managed the expectations of the client. In a creative process between our team and the client, a script is created. We search for the best available people for this project, limited in time, money. We also try to look for local crew if possible, to have the impact of our production as minimal as possible.
On a shooting day, where always things have to be improvised, that is the second phase of the creative process. To be able to make the changes to the script, to improve and enhance the outcome.
The third phase is in our edit room. Where all elements are combined and the final selection of images and sounds is made. It is magical to see in the end if the idea that you created first in your mind, then on paper, and finally in film, if it works the way you imagined it to work. Here is more about the project.
That is our working method for creating the right feeling. Only then we achieve our common goal. We love to keep doing this. Hopefully for you too in the future.
Customer engagement is key in marketing
As a producer of fascinating films and VR experiences, I like to share a few tips and tricks on the evolution of video marketing. As isn’t likely to slow down in 2019. We can expect to see more captivating content than ever with the current rate of creativity and technological innovation. Marketers are putting more time and effort into their video content from live streaming to virtual reality.
See first our latest production, for Mr Miles.
Consumers can experience both the real world and fantastic otherworldly experiences that brands are creating like never before. The way users consume content and the way businesses produce them is likely to change considerably in the coming year. Here’s what we can expect to see in 2019.
1. Creating a video strategy will be a priority for brands
Most marketers agree that video content gets the best ROI. However, creating content blindly without an effective strategy may not deliver the expected returns. As popular as video marketing has become, many content creators don’t have a proper plan in place. But creating random videos without thinking about your strategy is futile.
However, during the remainder of 2018 we can expect this to change. Many businesses have discovered that video content gets the best results and returns only when it is backed by a well-planned strategy.
2. Live video streaming
Live streaming is becoming more accessible to every type of marketer with tools like Facebook Live, Wirecast and OBS Studio. For beginners, there are streaming apps like Zoom and BeLive. Live videos are an excellent platform to showcase events, behind-the-scenes, Q&A’s and interviews.
Expressing a more human side of a brand is a great way to connect with customers. Live videos are expected to get more interactive and intense in 2018. They will become immersive video experiences, where viewers can control the content and express their views by clicking on icons.
3. Video quality is taking precedence over quantity
As the video landscape becomes more competitive, the quality of videos that marketers put out will need to become more of a priority. People have short attention spans and are likely to click out of the video if it doesn’t capture their interest. Nobody wants to watch low-quality videos, and they will be unable to get the results that businesses are looking for.
As competition becomes stiffer, marketers will need to invest more time and effort into creating quality content. High quality, engaging videos, stand out from the rest, get better engagement and better results than other types of digital content.
4. Personalized video is used by sales and PR professionals
Customized videos are being used in the sales and PR fields as a way to build connections with potential prospects. Videos also stand out in people’s inboxes. The concept of video marketing is really simple. Customer service reps or sales people can record short videos with details of a products or service that they are offering and urge customers to take action. They can also introduce themselves as the point of contact for any follow-up questions the prospers may have. These “video voicemails” are becoming an effective way to build deeper personal connections with a business or brand and stand out among the clutter.
5. 360-degree videos are gaining popularity
More and more businesses started using 360 videos in 2017, and the numbers are likely to increase in 2018. These videos are considered to be another form of immersive content since, with 360-degree video, the viewer can decide on their perspective when viewing. These can be viewed simply on the screen of a computer or smartphone or with a VR headset for a more immersive experience. 360 video technology is likely to alter the way customers experience online shopping. Marketers are finding new and creative ways to harness this potential for their brands.
6. Higher proportions of ad budgets is allotted to video
It is estimated that the amounts spent on online ads will soon surpass TV ad spending. And most marketers have plans to increase their budgets for video ads in the coming year. Initially, video ads were dismissed as just a trend, but now most businesses have realized that they need to budget their money towards forms of media where people are actually spending their time. Many viewers are tuning in online to watch their favorite shows and big events rather than watching them on TV.
7. Engagement is key
Engagement is not just a buzzword, but one of the most important factors to consider when creating video content. Videos that can hold your audience’s attention are likely to rise to the top. Engaging videos will keep them interested and get them to continue the conversation. They may even take the next step and make a purchase.
One way to create engagement is through a call for action. For instance, you could ask viewers to share the video with a friend, leave a comment in the comments section or subscribe to your feed.
8. Videos are designed to be effective without sound
An interesting video marketing statistic is that 85% of the videos on Facebook are actually played without sound. This offers a unique challenge to video marketers. Those who are savvy have tapped into this and are designing more and more content that can be viewed without sound. Since many of these videos are auto-played, content creators will need to create their videos accordingly.
The use of on-screen graphics and captions to grab attention is becoming more common. This way viewers can enjoy these videos silently, whether it’s in the doctor’s office or on the subway.
9. Consumers expect video content
Creating video content has become a necessity rather than a luxury. Today customers are likely to lose interest in your brand if you don’t engage them with videos about your products and services along with other interest content. There is an expectation for videos to be a part of the purchase experience.
Apart from simply enhancing consumer experiences, videos can also help your brand start apart from the competition. With the intense competition that most brands face today, marketers need to do what they can to attract the attention of customers.
10. Video as a storytelling device
Combining storytelling with video is a great way to develop a video marketing campaign. This is a great way to get your message across to your customers. People respond extremely well to videos and nothing can generate as much excitement while creating awareness.
So, put together a campaign that expresses your brand’s story through video. If this is executed well, your video could even go viral, creating a lot of publicity for your brand. Weaving a story through video marketing is a great way to tell the world about your business.
Today, visual and storytelling content is an important aspect of customers’ lives. In order to capture people’s attention, it needs to evolve continuously and become more engaging. Dutch Picture Industry is proud to help clients in making the video strategy and transform their excel forms, books full with words into captivating films. With a clear pay off to get their message to the potential client.
If you are interested to know what we can do for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch. www.dutchpictureindustry.com and www.vr-explorers.com
More tips (only in Dutch) can be downloaded here.
More video’s are on our youtube channel.
Wij dromen van prachtige verhalen, die het bloed sneller laat stromen en je hart sneller laat kloppen. Voor diverse omroepen en merken hebben we pakkende gesponsorde content mogen maken. Maar er is veel saaie, en lelijke content die we dagelijks op ons als consumenten afgevuurd krijgen. Content waar niks inspirerends aan is. Die ons enkel als klant benaderen.
Onze focus blijft bij branded content waar een verhaal in zit. Waar passie van mensen uit naar voren komt. Kortom dat is in het kort onze haat-liefde verhouding tot marketing en sales. Video marketing kan heel effectief en inspirerend zijn, als men een paar key points in gedachte houdt bij het vorm geven van de video en campagne. Om onze inzichten op dit punt te delen dachten we eens een blog hier aan te wijden.
Want wat zijn nu de element die ervoor zorgen dat een video, geliked en bekeken word en andere niet? Wordt hij dan ook wel bekeken door de juiste doelgroep? Dit alles heeft te maken met een duidelijke visie op wat je met de video wilt bereiken. Als bedrijf stop je niet voor de leuk dat geld in het maken van die mooie bewegende plaatjes. Nee, je wilt een effect bereiken. In marketing termen worden dat KPI’s genoemd. Key Performance Indicators. Door deze zo duidelijk en concreet mogelijk te formuleren kan er achter af ook beter getoestsd worden of de doelen zijn behaald. De KPI staan in directe relatie tot het doel wat je wilt bereiken.
Naast het definiëren van je doelen is het ook van belang dat je je verdiept in waar je doelgroep. Waar heeft deze behoefte aan? Anders wordt jou prachtige film, toch als storende informatie ervaren omdat deze niet relevant is. Zorg dus dat je de juiste informatie aan jouw doelgroep geeft. Daar gaan heel wat uurtjes in zitten, in het afbakenen van die doelgroep. Want het liefst wil iedereen altijd iedereen bereiken. Maar ik heb nu eenmaal andere wensen dan mijn buurvrouw twee huizen verderop die 30 jaar ouder is en mijn buurman die boven mij woont, die net is gaan studeren. Denk daarbij dus altijd: One size doesn’t fit all. We zijn allemaal uniek en hebben onze eigen wensen. Zo willen we ook benaderd worden, al lijkt het maar zo.
Mocht je meer willen weten download dan nu de white paper: Kracht van video. Veel succes met de komende campagnes.
There are few things that possess such duality in our everyday lives as food: it is a necessity, it is a luxury, there is an overabundance of it, there is a lack of it, it is healthy, it is unhealthy. However, one of the most overlooked aspects of our food is its origins. Questions like where does our food come, how is it made, who produces it, and what impact has it on our environment, are rarely asked or even thought of. Recent years have shown a rise in conscious consumerism and awareness about our meals, however it is still something that is not adapted by many.
This is not the case with Anne Pekelharing. Anne has always been fascinated by food. Since her childhood she has her mind set on food, cooking and creating new dishes. The underlying thought for her has been that food is more than just eating or drinking, it inspires, connects, and drives us forward. From her love for food and desire for adventure Life Cycle Stories was born.
Anne was inspired by the questions we usually do not ask about food. It was essential to approach food as something that has an extensive impact on our everyday lives and our environment rather than something that is always available and possesses limited value. She felt that to understand and witness the journey of our food, it was essential to track it to its origins. However, our meals come in many different forms and from all over the world, so it is imperative to get out and explore the different regions, people, production, traditions, and environment where the food comes from. Life Cycle Stories focuses on sustainable food production and the small, personal stories about the people behind these endeavors.
Life Cycle Stories follows Anne on her journey through Europe, 8 countries in 6 months. It takes courage, discipline, and clear vision to leave your everyday comforts and tasks behind to travel across Europe on your bike. It also takes a special kind of spirit to be concerned enough about a specific problem and acting upon it. This kind of journey does not have to be realized by travelling to distant destinations, it can be achieved by looking up your local food producers. Anne’s adventure is inspirational not only, because she decided to concentrate on different countries in Europe and their specific ways of making food, but also because she is determined to create awareness and shine a light on the issue that is close to her heart. It is about passing on the knowledge that you gained and by doing that having a positive impact on the society and the environment that we live in. Life Cycle Stories is also a story about the people. Inspirational individuals who, like Anne, chose to have a specific mindset when it comes to food. These stories are as much about the people and their culture of producing the food in fair and passionate way. It is an in-depth look of their everyday struggles and successes.
For us Anne and her hosts are an inspiration and we are very much looking forward to the fascinating tales that are Life Cycle Stories. Meanwhile you can follow her adventures on Instagram, Facebook and lifecyclestories.com
If the planet looks blue from our sky, it is only when one’s head is in the water that one becomes aware of reality. The ocean has become a vast garbage can where gyres are accumulating waste at an alarming rate. “Ocean Cleanup”, a revolutionary device created by Boyan Slat aspires to give our Earth a new hope.
Boyan Slat, the young engineer at the initiative of this project, hopes with his plan “Ocean Cleanup”, to succeed in cleaning the oceans of plastic waste. Originally announced to be in place from 2020, this project should emerge in the coming months.
Called “The Ocean Cleanup”, the ambitious project aims to recover no less than five trillion plastic waste from bottles or bags floating on the surface of the seas. How? Thanks to a system using marine currents to trap waste.
A new system set up in few months
In June 2016, the 22-year-old Dutchman launched his first test in the North Sea. To ensure the viability of the project, the company build a 100-kilometer long barrier of floats and nets in the North Sea off the coast of the Netherlands. But since then, things seem to have accelerated.
At a recent presentation in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Boyan Slat and the engineers with whom he is working, have announced that a new, more efficient system is emerging. The latter indeed replace this unique barrier in the form of a “V” with a fleet of several small systems, much more profitable.
Over the next twelve months, about 30 km of smaller, 2-kilometer-long barriers attached to a 12-kilometer floating anchor should be launched and navigated by sea currents to collect plastic waste on their way.
An inspiring example
His project was born from a simple sketch drawn on a paper towel. Boyan Slat was then 17 years old. “During a scuba diving on holiday in Greece: under water, I saw more plastic than fish”, he explained. Today, the dream of the young Dutchman, to rid the world’s oceans of plastic, is about to become reality.
Ocean Cleanup is an inspiring example of how we can address the growing problem of water pollution.
We believe that we are all creative people. We share the talent to think of simple but efficient sollutions to the problems that we face today. We have to have dreams to create the impossible. But the example of Boyan shows that we can.
DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY believes in projects like The Ocean Cleanup, because it inspires people in the way of protecting our planet. Indeed, by minimizing our impact on the Earth, we could offer a better future for the next generations.
As we saw in the previous blog about crowdfunding, the power of people is changing through the evolution of the Internet. New ways of actions are emerging and people can now act from anywhere they are on subjects they care about. At your level you can act for the oceans’ protection by signing the petition: Save our Oceans – End plastic pollution now!
“They didn’t know it was impossible so they did it” – Mark Twain
If there is a revolution that marks the beginning of the 21st century, then this must be the connectivity with events, issues and persons all over the world. Connected to this connectivity is “participatory” effect.
After introduction, the notion of participatory democracy, notably thanks to the power of social media and online petitions, a new way of financing has blossomed. Individuals are gradually discovering that they can act by themselves for causes that are dear to them, to bring to the world the change they want to see.
Crowdfunding allows, through the financial participation of individuals who recognize themselves in a project or who want to support one, to participate in the development of a project that may not have been able to see by traditional financing. Beyond former borders, innovative projects have been created, that stand for innovation and change. Projects that wouldn’t be supported by the normal financial system, are now nourished. Crowdfunding is therefore part of the collaborative economy, since it relies on trust
The buzz is going around that crowdfunding creates new possibilities. But what is the success rate and what makes people participate? First of all there are a lot of different sorts of crowdfunding.
Crowdlending: an innovative way of financing personal projects
For a long time, banks were the only ones able to present an offer of financing. Now individuals can obtain peer to peer lending, whether for a cash need, a desire to travel, for a renovation of a house or a big operation that you are unable to finance yourself.
Small business and crowdfunding
Crowdfunding makes a real difference for small business. It also allows companies to federate around them a community of customers, collaborators and suppliers. Especially because small business should present their business model, product or service to the crowd of individuals to convince them to finance them, crowdfunding makes it possible to carry out a prototype of a new product.
Investors can either receive product or services from the business or they can invest in the business’ capital and receive interests in return. Unlike classical ways of financing, crowdfunding allows investors to choose themselves where their money goes. There is a direct connection between the investor and the entrepreneur. They share an goal. Success of the company.
Crowdfunding plays here the game of proximity through savings that are not only responsible and solidarity, but also transparent and close to investors.
How NGOs find a new way of fundraising
It now seems quite inevitable for NGOs to take a closer look at these new fundraising techniques if they want to sustain their budgets. First, because the financing through governments’ helps is less and less substantial. Secondly, because the growth of crowdfunding is increasingly orienting the public towards digital financing of projects, humanitarian or otherwise, which will undoubtedly divert it from the traditional physical collections for which it is solicited by the historical NGOs.
Crowdfunding allows the shortening of the circuit between the financer and the project, which reinforces the feeling of transparency and traceability. Indeed, it responds to the emergence of a concept of proximity in which citizens wish to give more meaning to their financial contributions by following their own sensitivities and limiting intermediaries.
To guarantee its independence, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), launched in November 2016 a crowdfunding platform, with the aim of collecting 1 million euros in 60 days. Intended for the youngest, between 18 and 35 years old, it invited them to pledge on the platform independance.msf.fr and it offered a range of rewards for all amounts, including a guitar signed by the Muse group.
A platform for each project
Thus, the only term of crowdfunding encompasses many realities. Different platforms have different functions, and even different philosophies. While all have in common to create a relationship between a project and investors, some are more focused on NGOs and individuals, while others represent a lever for future business.
I myself pledged Boyan Slat to support him in his vision to clean this world from the plastic waste that we are surrounding us with. Please share your thoughts on crowdfunding so we can learn from it. I didn’t do it for the pledge. It gave me a feeling of participating in a solution of a better future.
As the banks are giving almost no interest on money on the bank it stimulates me to look for alternative forms of investment. From personal to solar and sustainable project. The future will tell, where I will invest my money in.
Now that it is all possible, leaves us with the question does it reach the bigger audiences. My question to you, did you ever pledge a crowdfunding campaign? Why did you? Because of the cause, the product, the pledges or to support a personal goal. Why did you get involved, please share your experiences so we can learn from it.
At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY, we are aware that if people work together on a common project, they can collectively make things happen and change the world.
It´s time for society to wake up. We should stop looking with suspicion at the one who has skin too black, or not enough white, the one who is too old or disabled… At the same time, we shouldn’t ignore our differences either. And stop saying that difference is automatically good thing. To become a strength difference should come from a strong desire to succeed together. To have a common goal.
The French skipper Eric Bellion is the instigator of COMME UN SEUL HOMME (“Like a single man”) which claims that difference is a strength. After 15 years of sailing adventures with teams composed by valid and disabled people, Eric Bellion came to the conclusion that together we can push the limits of difference and reach summit, “like a simple man”.
His message: our differences are an added value, diversity is strength and handicap does not mean incapacity. With his project he promotes the value of differences in a European context, in a time where nationalism sentiments are vastly growing.
Bellion has decided to take the floor to counter the spread of fear and rejection of diversity and to bring a new perspective to diversity. He said: “This extreme situation has allowed me to realize just how far this message about difference has taken me. Thanks to this adventure, I have reached more people in a year and a half than in fifteen years of crewed sailing.”
THE UNKNOWN IS NOT A GREY AREA
By nature, we are suspicious of people which are different. We are gathering with people who look like us, this is without a doubt more reassuring than the unknown. However, difference is neither a weakness nor a threat. This could, conversely, be transformed into an advantage, or an inestimable strength. It is to defend this crazy dream that Eric Bellion decided to launch the #APPELPOURLADIFFERENCE (Call for difference) and embarked on the adventure of the Vendée Globe 2016.
Eric and his team have been creating projects that beat common preconception about visible differences like handicap, but also gender, differences between generations, cultures and social backgrounds. The idea is to convince people that diversity is strength and a wealth.
But for difference to become a strength, we must be patient, benevolent and persistent. We have to go beyond the times of doubt and despondence, be confident and have the certainty that difference could be positive. Difference between people stimlulates creativity and opens new opportunities. We must have a strong desire to succeed.
THE INITIATORY TRAVEL
With the tetraplegic adventurer Laurent Marzec, Bellion embarked on the Défi-Intégration (Integration Challenge) to form a crew composed of three disabled athletes and three valid athletes. They set the record for sailing in sixty-eight days. It is the only mixed team to have a world record. A challenge in the challenge…
“I discovered the value of difference with a teammate named Oliver. Oliver was a blind person. At the beginning of the travel, he was not the best sailor but at the end, he was our best helmsman. He was the fastest, as is disability forced him to feel the wind and it became an asset. His difference becomes a strength.” said Bellion
“TAKING CARE, IS KNOWING THE OTHER”
Weakness in a team often creates a kind of rejection or contempt. Do you remember at school, where you had to create sport’s teams? There was always someone chosen in last. Why? Because their visible frailty made them a less competitive person.
Bellion: “A few years ago, I had the opportunity to participate in survival training to learn sea rescue. I was in a pool and I had to escape from a false helicopter frame. Several disabled people were with me and they were all comfortable with this training because they all practiced swimming. Conversely, a camerawoman, who was valid, but claustrophobics, failed the training. She was the one who needed help, and not the disabled people which were with us. This demonstrates that our vision of weakness is often wrong.”
This is when all the members of a team are able to accept their weakness that the performance is coming. Each person complements one another and weaknesses become strengths.
“We are looking to protect people but this is a mistake. Protecting and taking care are two different things. When we protect someone, we isolate them; however, taking care is knowing each other”. Eric Bellion
THE VISION OF PROMOTING THE WEALTH OF DIVERSITY SUGGESTED BY ERIC BELLION BREAKS WITH THE THE GROWING NATIONALISM IN EUROPE…
Nowadays, the world is becoming globalized and people tend to be more and more scattered and mixed, but at the same time societies are in the way of becoming more self-centered and some people seem not to accept diversity.
The world has seen a sharp rise in support for authoritarianism, jingoism and racism, with a pro-Brexit vote in the UK, Trump coming to power in the US, Erdogan and Sisi further clamping down on their citizens in Turkey and Egypt, Marine le Pen and Geert Wilders making prominent gains in France and Holland, and far-right parties in Poland and Germany suddenly rising to the fore. In a global situation where ordinary people seem to be losing trust in their leaders or even traditional government structures, the risk is that they will opt for authoritarian leadership…
“Even if I am currently on the open seas, the news of Donald Trump´s election has come to me. For me this means to curl up and to build borders, when we should, on the contrary, take risks and go toward the others. This is the price to get rid of our fears, and believe me, this is fabulous.” Eric Bellion
Through his projects, Eric Bellion is promoting the idea that diversity brings dynamism and wealth in a group, and this wealth is the key to success. His message: we should stop focus on our visible differences and start concentrates us on our invisible likeness.
At DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY, we create concepts born from our personal experience, our vision to create inspiring content, building cross media concepts and innovative media productions to make a difference in the world around us. Our productions are based on the unique story behind human beings, their experiences and their spectacular surroundings.
If you want to read more about the project, visit COMME UN SEUL HOMME
“Men acquire a particular quality by constantly acting a particular way… you become just by performing just actions, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave actions.”
People are their actions, and a story is only worth telling if it is about people who act outside of their normal behavior. Entrepreneur and innovator Edwin ter Velde of Zero Waste Center is a person whose story is well worth documenting. His story is an ever-evolving effort to breach the boundary between comfort and discomfort: he is a man of focused action, an innovator who believes that social innovation reigns highest in the hierarchy of innovation.
“I have studied together with my old friend and cofounder of the Zero Waste Center Cees Hebing human behavior (to start with our own behaviour) and the way you can change it, and I understand that your behavior is not how you are, but how you behave. So, why is it that in companies or in people’s everyday social behavior, we are not playing with our behavior? We think that’s how we are. No, it’s an instrument you can use,” believes ter Velde.
As human beings, we can experiment with our actions to change for the better. However, most people would rather not admit that their routine behaviors are just that: routine. The opposite of innovation. Stories that no one wants to read or watch.
Ter Velde wants to rouse people from their stagnancy to experiment with actions that force them outside of their comfort zones and to transform themselves. The problem, of course, is that most people are not as comfortable as ter Velde is with questioning the routines that make up the foundation of their everyday lives.
We’re sitting in a spacious nook in the Zero Waste Center production facility in Amsterdam-Noord, coffee in hand as 3D printers whir silently along one wall, and we chat facing the several meters high mock-up of the Solar Voyager. Ter Velde has found a way to inspire people to change their behaviors towards plastic waste, but elegantly framed in the concept of Zero Waste and in the story of the Solar Voyager Expedition.
“Talking about behavior is not a nice thing. Because people think, why are you talking about my behavior? It is uncomfortable. And I learned that if you put it in a concept that’s not directly related to yourself, but at the end it is, then it’s more comfortable to talk about it and to teach people,” explains ter Velde. “And this is the reason I founded Zero Waste because throwing things away is a behavior, not respecting materials and thinking it doesn’t bother you, is also behavior. If you’re talking about the zero waste concept, then we think it is all related to waste, but after a couple steps you understand that the concept is all related to you as a person.”
EXPERIMENT IN ACTION
The Solar Voyager is a solar powered vehicle partially made of recycled plastic. For one year now, ter Velde has been collaborating with renowned adventurer Wilco van Rooijen on the Solar Voyager Expedition. He is busy all day every day working on the project.
Edwin ter Velde is a sailor, but he is not a professional explorer. Nevertheless, come December 2017 he will embark with van Rooijen on an expedition to the geographical South Pole aboard the Solar Voyager. Their mission: to show the world that it is possible to journey to the center of Antarctica based on the concept of Zero Emission and Zero Waste.
The construction and expedition of the Solar Voyager is an experiment in behavior. Ter Velde not only wants to challenge himself to go outside his comfort zone, but he also wants to inspire people to change their behavior towards plastic waste. By creating a story and a community around the Solar Voyager Expedition and the zero waste concept, ter Velde hopes to encourage people to change their behavior by taking action to change their daily lives.
“We are showing that it’s all a matter of doing. Just do it! Stop talking about the world and sustainability and things like that. Act. Act. Directly, and that’s it,” emphasizes ter Velde.
The completed Solar Voyager will testify to ter Velde’s message of individual action and social innovation. If the Solar Voyager can make the journey to the South Pole, the most extreme climate on earth, then the expedition will set an example, challenging even the most average person to make radical changes in their daily life – to eschew comfort for the sake of preserving our environment and resources. To act, and by acting, to transform not only the world for the better, but themselves.
NOT WASTE, BUT PRECIOUS MATERIAL
The Solar Voyager will be made partially out of discarded water bottles, leftover packaging, disposable forks and spoons – what many of us regard as plastic waste. But not ter Velde, who doesn’t see plastic as waste, but as precious material that demands our respect and innovation.
“Why is it waste? Has one molecule in the material changed because you call it waste? I don’t believe that. It is still plastic, so it’s still material. In nature, everything is important. So, materials are also important. So, respect it. Take it up from the street, and let’s make the freshest thing you can imagine. Now for instance, the Solar Voyager, there’s a high added value. So, we learn – children, but also organizations, everyone – that it’s all in your mind. It’s all in your mind. We think it is waste, no it isn’t. It is material. And you can do such nice and precious things with those materials.”
At this stage, ter Velde is busy calibrating the 3D printers that will print the plastic material into pieces that will make up the body of the Solar Voyager. He hovers over his laptop, monitoring the printers. It’s easy to be swept away by the project there in front of the Solar Voyager mockup and listening to ter Velde. When he fits several plastic samples together and holds them up against the mock-up, you become infected with his fervor. And then there is still the most important aspect of the expedition to discuss: Antarctica itself.
INNOVATION SHOULD BE UNCOMFORTABLE
Journeying through Antarctica will not be luxurious – it is the driest continent on earth, with low temperatures and wind speeds of 350 km/h. But for ter Velde, the physical challenge of the journey is just as important as the technical challenges: if there is no discomfort, there is no change. Living sustainably and without waste will not be comfortable.
“If you want to change, you must change your standard behavior. And that’s a difficult thing for people. We like to have a comfortable situation. But if it is comfortable, you are acting as you always have. So, if it is uncomfortable, you know that things are changing. That you are moving forward, or back. It’s just a matter of testing and seeing what it will bring. It should be uncomfortable to innovate, to make a real innovation,” believes ter Velde.
When asked why Antarctica should be the site of the Solar Voyager’s route, ter Velde replies: “It is the most extreme. It is the most unknown continent.” For if there was a continent that would host a journey meant to assimilate the goals of zero waste and radical behavioral change, it would be Antarctica.
EVERY PIECE HAS A STORY
Ter Velde’s strength is not only in his motivation or his ability to realize ideas, but in his storytelling. When he describes the communities of schoolchildren, or stadsjutters (or urban miners in English), and their efforts to gather discarded plastic material, he lights up. His excitement at having motivated a community of people to act, to effect change is more fervent than any other aspect of the Expedition.
He explains to me how every individual piece of the Solar Voyager will have a numbered certificate that will document the people who helped collect the plastic for that piece. “Every piece has its own story,” says ter Velde. “So, this car is very precious because the energy in all those pieces is being shown to the world.”
The story of the Solar Voyager, he tells me, isn’t about him. “I do not want to have a notation in the Guinness book of records. It’s not about me. It’s about the fact that we can create things, and we should do it all together,” says ter Velde.
Despite what he might say, ter Velde is one of the main actors in this real-life story. His drive and his energy to act drives the story of the Solar Voyager. He inspires each of us to act outside of our comfort zones– to do. For it is only by doing that the we can transform, innovate, and grow. DUTCH PICTURE INDUSTRY believes in stories like ter Velde’s, helping him to share his story so we might accomplish our own goal to inspire people to create, to innovate, and to challenge themselves – to cross the boundary between possible and impossible.
Have a look yourself and be inspired by the Solar Voyager test drive.