Ever heard of Zino the rooster? Chances are you soon will. Zino is the hero of Chickentown, a new animated TV series that is being snapped up by TV networks around the world, including Disney Asia, Canal+, Netflix, RTVE (Spain), MNCTV (Indonesia) and many more.
Chickentown was created by Niko Meulemans, a Belgian animation film producer. Niko was trained in Belgium but spent several years in Hollywood learning about the film business. Back in Belgium since 2008, Niko and his partner Melanie Charbrier founded production company 1st Day Entertainment and got to work on Chickentown. Four years later, the eggs are hatching.
Hello Niko, tell us why you started out on your own? Freedom, freedom… I wanted to achieve the absolute maximum of freedom. Although financial reasons play a role too.
Where do you find inspiration for your work? Everywhere, it can pop up like that, in conversation with my partner as well alone, and in the most unexpected places.
Do you enjoy your work? Yes and no, our achievement gives us great pleasure and we are proud of it, but there is also a lot of stress and that’s less fun.
How do you keep focused on doing something creative and true to yourself? Achievements feed the motivation and thus creativity. Obviously it helps that the project is yours, it’s your creation, so it’s easy to focus on it.
What is a typical day like for you? When working on the TV series, everyday was a different day: checking daily tasks, meeting the production coordinator and following up onthe results of the team. Also reading scripts, storyboards, editing, and discuss music, etc…Pretty exciting!
What sort of skills do you need to do your work? Communication. It sounds easy but it is the biggest challenge. You need to be open to everything and listen to the people you work with and take into account the things they say. Or at least try.
Do you have one tip/piece of advice for other aspirant creatives & entrepreneurs? Go for it and trust only your own intuition and this for 100%.