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Cartoon 360 is a transmedia pitching event in Lille, France, which took place 2th-4th December 2019. During that time, 24 projects were pitched.

Animationweek presents a series of 4 short interviews of some interesting projects that grabbed our attention out of the 24 pitches presented. Here is part 1, an interview on Burnout Diary. We’ve heard about the project from Tünde Vollenbroek, a producer of the project.

Burnout Diary

Burnout Diary
Transmedia Projects: TV-Special / Social media project / Apps
Author: Maaike Hartjes
Producer: Tünde Vollenbroek (Studio Pupil, Netherlands), Dario van Vree (Studio Pupil, Netherlands) and Maaike Hartjes (Studio Pupil, Netherlands)
Target audience: Young adults and Adults

Interview with Tünde Vollenbroek

Animationweek (AW): Could you please explain the theme and summary of the story, in brief?

Tünde Vollenbroek: In the 25-minute animated TV-special Burnout Diary, we follow Maaike Hartjes as she navigates a year of living with burnout.

Summary of the story of the TV-special: Maaike is an illustrator, lover of tea, and a perfectionist. Her life is fun fun fun, but also busy busy busy. Maaike optimistically pulls through the many long working days and social engagements, thanks to an ‘inner voice’ that she affectionately calls her Little Dictator. But when Maaike gets a full-on panic attack, out of nowhere, her deepest fear becomes reality: she can no longer be perfect… During her year-long burnout that follows, Maaike goes on a personal quest with her Little Dictator, learning to accept that being ‘good enough’ really is good enough.

Background information on the theme: The problem of chronic stress (which can result into burnout) has a strong grip over our society, and so the big question of our time is: How can we (re)learn to accept our imperfections? Personal experience has taught Maaike, Dario and me that burnout can be a radical, life-changing experience. It’s impossible to find your way out of a breakdown like this without taking a hard look at yourself. And that’s anything but easy – it’s complex, strenuous, and very uncomfortable. With Burnout Diary we hope to provide viewers worldwide with solace and insight when dealing with this growing problem of our time.

AW: The visuals of the animation are unique and impressive with many different textures and atmospheres. We would like to hear the story behind the visuals of the universe, such as where the inspiration for the visuals come from.

Tünde Vollenbroek: The visuals of the universe are based on Maaike Hartjes’ original graphic novel of the same title (Burnout Diary). That graphic novel is Maaike’s actual diary, which she made during her burn-out.

The film’s design is best described as tactile and digitally handcrafted, with collage elements at its core. Materials (like paint and markers) and textures express feelings in a very direct manner; by using their characteristics, and strengthening them through movement and story, we can do justice to the broad palette of emotions that burnout encompasses. Balancing out the detailed backgrounds are the simplified character designs; these create the distance and humor needed for the viewer to spend 25 minutes watching a film on a heavy theme like burnout. Overall we view the film’s design as a testament to the beauty of imperfection.

AW: How are you planning to reach the potential audience?

Tünde Vollenbroek: With the TV-special we’ll approach TV channels and streaming services. As for a transmedial strategy, we started with an idea of an Instagram channel with stress-relieving content, but now (also thanks to Cartoon 360) we have many more ideas that we’ll explore over the next couple of months. A burnout test, workshops, illustrated articles, web series – the possibilities to reach audiences nowadays are endless.