Screenwriter, animated film director, comedian,… He doesn't like to put a label on his profession, although he has realised a lot of successful projects. After among others Kabouter Wesley and Basta, he worked together with Julie Mahieu for four years on the fictional series The Day. Jonas talks about his debute, his inspiration and what keeps him motivated after all those years.

Jonas Geirnaert

Completely going for it

“Sometimes I think about how we got started on TV. We were four of us on Neveneffecten and had no experience at all. We'd never made TV programmes, but they hired us back then. Afterwards our bosses explained to us that they saw a certain enthusiasm in us. We just really wanted it and we were prepared to go for it. Of all the things I've done, Basta was probably the most fun. It was really exciting, and you didn't know in advance what was going to happen."

Keep believing in the end result

“You really have to believe in what you're making and in the quality of the end result, in every step of the way. At first, you've got the advantage that you feel the creativity burning inside of you. But you've got to be sure, when you're rewriting the third version, you're still hanging on that enthusiasm from the beginning. I worked on my these for a year and a half. The animation was hand-drawn on papier and there were over 10,000 drawings. You've got the be prepared to do that. I really thought that this could be something good. You've got to keep at it make sure that you're not sick of it after the 3,000th drawing."

Inspiration during unexpected moments

“It's always interesting when people talk about inspiration. To some people, it seems to be a faucet that you can just turn on and off again. For me, it usually happens at rather unexpected moments. For example when I am working the garding, my mind starts to wander, and then I come up with strange ideas. The idea behind our fictional series The Day is similar, but Julie came up with it. She couldn't sleep and suddenly she had the idea of writing a series that's told from various points of view all at one. During the brainstorm, we had the ideao of a hostage situation, because it's good for the story. It creates a very intense tension where people fear for their lives. It also implies an ending, you want to know if it will end well or badly.

Writing as a kind of monk's work

“ For the writing, you don't pair up at a computer. It's a job you do alone and that takes up a lot of time. I think many people don't realise that or understand how you must work on a script for so long before it's a good one. For The Day, we spend also two years and a half working on twelve scripts, which are episodes of fifty minutes. I once watched a making-of from Fawlty Towers and they spent six weeks writing one episode. People think that's so long, but I think it's short. It's like a monk's work. It are often long and lonely days and nights to make a deadline. Sitting at your computer and always gearing up to start on it again can take a mental toll sometimes. I've put in very long days for years now, and it's not because anyone demanded or requested it of me, it just happens. You're doing creative work and you want it to be good.'


This video has been realised in collaboration with vide production company Sputnik.