From student to professional life: my theory of grabbing opportunities.

In fact, it’s a practical approach. Let me try to explain this simply; I’ve always been some kind of creative entrepreneur. Without much hesitation, but a lot of youngful enthusiasm I threw myself in trying to do all kinds and sometimes silly stuff. It all started with radio…

At Radio Roeland I’ve made several radio programs there but the most successful was the one called MiXtriX in which we tried to build a platform for young deejays to present and promote themselves. The radio gigs got extended with some live events that got break-even but in the end we never succeeded in turning it in a non-for-profit organization. We did however had some massive talent to be heard for the first time on which we are proud: Wiebe (aka DJ Tonic – later part of Starski & Tonic and today part of The Subs) played an awesome drum ‘n bass set and mixed it with the Smurfs. I’m still laughing out loud when I replay that set in my head.

When ‘studying/partying’ at RITS, the senior radio students got the opportunity thrown at them to restart a whole radio station, the infamous FM Bssl (later FM Brussel). I was so hands-on that i spend much of my time lying there all day in the sofa’s helping people wherever I could. Just for one reason, when someone didn’t show up, I could replace him/her and do something creative. I’ve did some cool recurrent programs, but the one that catapulted me in a new world and decided to stop me from doing radio was “call a famous person”. Applying the “Six degrees of seperation” principle to a random telephone number we dialed we hoped to speak to a famous person at the end of the program. It soon became my favorite show to do as it was an exciting program to present. Small talk and 3 questions, building up tension, etc. We kept it as a replacement program and only did it 4 times. We’ve had radio presentator Tomas De Soete, movie director Nic Balthazar, sports journalist Frank Raes, and the Mr Belgium at that time. I still believe this radio show program has huge potential and boy, did we had fun in doing so.

Sometimes, I call myself a school dropout. But in fact, that’s not true. I had some difficulties with myself, authority, and I was far to eager to let others decide what I could and could not do. I never been a theoretical learner, but when by being pragmatic, I absorbed everything and learned fast. Plus I got easily distracted by woman, beauty and experimental music. One of the things I’m really proud of is the score of a short film, Michiel and I made for a fellow student at the RITS. I can’t remember her name (Julia something) but I still remember we worked days and nights on it and she got a special mention (on her already great movie) for the music. But then again, I sucked at being a musician (i’ve played saxophone for 5 yrs and stopped because I felt I could never become the new Maceo Parker, I was a lousy deejay,…).

Another example of how I’ve been distracted easily; When studying, we were invited to participate in an extra-muros activity to produce a theatre play of Samuel Becket in a television studio – “Quad I + II”. Ow boy, for three weeks, I slept in that studio. I got playing with the mixing table, learned how to work with the light controlling software and concepted and executed a psychedelic lightning spectacle and 4point surround sound soundscape twice in a live performance. However I did crash after that, the passion and intensity to create is something you can’t resist if it’s in you… Sometimes it’s a deliberate choice, sometimes it’s been offered on a plate and at other times I created the opportunity myself.

I did everything I could to be accepted as a holiday worker when 4FM, a radio station who’s ambition it was to go national on the FM band. It’s now known as JoeFM and (finally) rapidly growing but when I was there, I initiated an IRC channel and convinced some presentators to use it. I’ve met one of my best friends in that very chatroom who I just last weekend asked to be godfather of my unborn (and second) child. It was a great time for experimentation. And it was due to the “call a famous person” radio show, I got offered a job at JIMtv which hadn’t launched yet and catapulted me in years of television making.

I know I have been fortunate but I believe opportunities are up for grabs. You just have to do a lot to make them visible. And than you have to grab them and do the best you can. They’ll open new ones.

I don’t mind not having finished my studies. I know my mom does. But I’m happy with what I’ve done so far and more importantly, with the way I’ve done things. As always, I’m curious about the next thing I will try. I wonder when next opportunity will come along. And I wonder if I will have it offered to me or if I will have created it myself instead.

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