Have you ever wondered what happens during a Buma Music in Motion matchmaking session and what possibilities it brings? Do you want to know how to prepare yourself, how to follow up and what happens next? We got just the thing for you. We asked two talented composers, Hans Nieuwenhuijsen and Arend Bruijn, to share their experiences.
Hi guys, can you tell us who you are and how you guys met?
We’re Hans Nieuwenhuijsen and Arend Bruijn. We met at the Conservatory of Amsterdam during our master study Composing for Film, class of 2016. This is where we became friends and we have worked together ever since.
We both have a background as performing musicians, Arend in the classical music scene and Hans in the pop scene. Due to our different backgrounds we complement each other very well. After our master study we founded STILL with composer Jelle Verstraten, who was also in our class of 2016, and sound designer Selle Sellink. With our different disciplines and specializations we’re able to tackle large projects from our studio in the Volkshotel in Amsterdam.
Why did you initially participate in one of our matchmaking sessions?
We thought that Buma Music in Motion’s matchmaking session during the Netherlands Film Festival seemed like the perfect opportunity to expand our network and hopefully acquire meaningful connections to collaborate with.The alternative would have been to send out as many ‘cold emails’ as possible. Producers and directors receive a lot of these emails and chances are that your email will be left unread, plus they always feel impersonal. Now we got the chance to talk to a maker directly about his or her project, which is why we preferred a matchmaking session. They are more hands-on, as you’re able to listen to your music together and have something to brainstorm about instantly.
And what happened next?
Before we entered the matchmaking session, we received scripts to prepare ourselves. That’s also a tip that we would like to share; always make sure that you’re well prepared. See it as your moment. It’s an opportunity to present yourself and your music, so make sure that you have something to show and discuss.
During the matchmaking we met the producer of Rinkel Film with whom we clicked instantly. In the end, we did not contribute to the movie that we discussed then and there, but we did keep in touch. She linked us to Daphne Lucker who was enthusiastic about our previous work. This resulted in a meeting with Daphne and screenwriter Rosita Wolkers. We started brainstorming about the music for their next films and this led to us being responsible for the music for three of their next film projects; ‘Roos’ by Rosita Wolkers and ‘My Body’ and ‘Echo’ by Daphne Luckers. Echo is out now and available on the NPO Gemist app.
We learned from matchmaking that the follow-up is just as important as the matchmaking itself. For example, we also contributed to the teasers so that they could submit their application and for us it was beneficial as well, as we were involved from the start.
Did participating in matchmaking sessions create new opportunities for you?
Yes, definitely. Last year we were also part of the Videoland Academy, where BMIM organized a matchmaking between composers and filmmakers. This time the theme was grounded sci-fi, a genre that excites Arend: “I’m a huge fan of old school sci-fi movies, like Bladerunner and Alien, with those amazing scores by Vangelis and Jerry Goldsmith. Shows like Black Mirror are also a great source of inspiration. It shows that sci-fi can be many other things besides bombastic space fantasy. Therefore, this edition of the Videoland Academy seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on a genre film in the Netherlands. It provided us with the opportunity to create music that normally wouldn’t be appropriate.”
During the Videoland matchmakings we got to know the filmmakers and their plans and projects. To our delight, this resulted in a great collaboration, the dark thriller ‘De Sterfshow’ by Edson da Conceiao and Timo Ottevanger. If the COVID-19 restrictions permit it, we will film from March to May and go into post-production from May to July.
You have participated in several matchmaking sessions. If you had to explain what makes these sessions special, what would you say?
BMIM has ensured that accessible and non-binding contact can be established between composers and filmmakers, but the next step is always up to the participants themselves. What’s so good about BMIM’s matchmaking compared to others is that BMIM checks in afterwards. They check in with all parties to see if they kept in touch and provide the directors with additional information about the composer(s). This puts more weight on the matchmaking and motivates filmmakers to think about music very early on in the production process. This gives us as composers more time to discuss opportunities and this really takes a production to a higher level. In our opinion that’s a win-win situation.
What are you up to now? Is there any new work that we can look forward to? Maybe a sneak peak that you would like to share?
Currently we’re writing two new albums, made possible by the music investment fund. Arend produces a hybrid, electronic/orchestral album and Hans works on an EP with modular synths. Both are to be released in July 2021.
Arend also works with director Ruwan Heggelman on a short fantasy/horror film called ‘Gnomes’, where the music really has to enhance the story. The current musical direction is a combination of playful orchestration, dirty sound design and ritualistic, sacrificial music, sung by a gnome choir. He also creates the music for the documentary ‘Zeg Jij Het Maar’ by Marinka de Jongh, which will be aired on television in May. The intimate combination of melodic percussion, bass clarinet and cello have to reflect the love and devotion a sister feels for her mentally disabled brother.
This year, Hans will start with the music for a new documentary by Tessa Pope and will also work for a television show. In 2017 we started teaching the course ‘Virtual Orchestration’ for the Composing for Film master students at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Jelle Verstraten and we’ll continue to do so. We developed this course ourselves and it teaches new film composers the required skills in music production in order to prepare them for the professional field and the international music industry.
You can listen to Arend’s and Hans’ work for Echo via the NPO Gemist app.