Don’t miss what’s next.
Don’t miss what’s next. Get ready for
the next leap

Kim, Kaan, Roel, Yohan, Claudio, Fernando, Masaharu.
Stories yet to be written, waiting to be read

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chapter 01
If you don't face your problems,
they'll follow you wherever you go.
Claudio
chapter 02
I studied fashion,
now I'm trying to change it.
Kim
chapter 03
So I decided to
give my city a chance.
Kaan
chapter 04
Be prepared to sacrifice
everything for happiness.
Fernando
chapter 05
I overcame my fears through my aspirations.
Hyoungtae Yohan
chapter 06
If you want to follow
your passion, make it your job.
Nicoletta
chapter 07
The best day to get
started on something is yesterday.
Roel
chapter 08
Work smart to work less.
Masaharu
chapter 09
available from 07/02/2018
Ibby
The best day to
get started on
something is yesterday.
a story by Roel
De Cock
Roel
De Cock

He was meant to be an engineer, but things didn’t go as planned. Roel De Cock shifted course at the end of his computer science studies and pulled his video-maker dream back out of the closet. Commitment, resilience, and a constant effort towards building a professional network led him to start Conci, his very own production company.

I took two big leaps into the void in my life. The first one was leaving a "safe" computer science degree to become a film-maker, the second was quitting my job to start my own business.

My own academic failures pushed me towards a film-making career. I’d lived on a twenty-year long assumption I’d become an engineer, so when I realized that wasn't going to happen, I felt lost.
I used to wish for a good degree, a good salary and a good life. Yet as I became an adult and faced failure, I was forced to reconsider my priorities.

I realized that money can't be the goal. But if you let intelligence lead your passion, it will be the outcome of your work.

After the Engineering attempt I turned to Computer Science, a subject that had no hold on me and I felt I was rather mediocre in.
I won a film-making competition organized by the university towards the end of my studies during an Erasmus experience in Vienna, and this in turn landed me my first job as a video maker.
I now realized what it was I was really passionate about.

I was 24 by then and I felt I was behind compared to my peers.
I told myself that if this was the life plan I wanted to bet on, I had to go all in, learning the basics of the job at twice the speed.
The Prague Film School offered a shorter and more hands-on course than the ones in Belgium, so it seemed like the best choice. I could learn technique faster, and experiment with the camera first hand.

Working side by side with people who were more advanced than me helped me step up my game by a lot.

Before I graduated, I also knew I had another disadvantage compared to my colleagues: once home, I wouldn’t have a network of connections to rely on.
Along with my Wendy, my classmate, I started Visual Okapi, a Belgian collective of eight people who were passionate about cinematography.
We were bound by enthusiasm, friendship and a common desire to focus our individual experience into experimental projects. We made music videos, short films and event filming with very low budgets, but free of customer control, which allowed us to experiment.

When you can take risks, you grow and evolve much faster.

While I continued to experiment with Visual Okapi, I worked within large companies in Belgium, growing in experience with people who were more thoroughly prepared than me.
I learned a lot, and fast, in these places, but I didn’t often get the chance to engage in anything creative.
So, after four years working as an employee, I decided to take another leap and work for customers directly through my own production company, Conci.

A network of contacts was clearly paramount at this stage as well.
It started off that I didn’t get much work, because no one knew me. Now, however, I get most of my contracts though word of mouth.
When you start building a portfolio it can be helpful to focus on a niche.

If you work for everyone, you end up working for no-one. But if you focus on a specific sector, you'll start attracting customers from that sector.

Word of mouth got me to shoot videos in New York, Rwanda, Iceland, the Amalfi coast, Istanbul and Paris in two years.

Spain
Rwanda and Uganda
Iceland

In order to continue expanding my network, six months ago I founded the Belgian Video Creators group, a Facebook community that now counts with more than 430 members. The page brings media companies, freelancers, production companies and enthusiasts together, in a place where they find new jobs, showcase their projects and exchange advice.
It is a simple project, yet its very simplicity is key to its effectiveness: those who need advice or a professional collaboration can get a reply within a few hours through Facebook messaging.

I’ve always been advised to think about where I saw myself in 10 years’ time.
If you can’t answer this question, there is a risk you will get bogged down by routine, eternally doing only what you feel able to.

One of the greatest lessons I've learned is that survival is not for the fittest, but for those who can adapt to change.

I don’t consider myself an artist, and my work needs to continue to be relevant on the market. My industry is bound to change: on-demand services like Netflix are starting to make advertising obsolete.
I know that everything I did, that is, studying cinematography, founding Visual Okapi, working in different places to learn quickly, reading books about cinema and marketing, as well as doing jobs without a budget in order to build a portfolio, has opened up new avenues and will generate future opportunities.

Failing is a necessary part of growing. I failed in my engineering studies, and I continue to fail every day, so much so it no longer scares me now.
When I'm old, I want to be able to look back and simply be happy with what I have accomplished.

Next story
Masaharu
Work smart to work less.
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