Film Connection extern Youp Zondag from Holland to LA and beyond!
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Film Connection student Youp Zondag’s journey toward a film career has taken him quite literally further than most. Originally from Holland, Youp moved to the United States with his parents specifically to pursue a film education. Initially settling in Houston, TX, he began taking classes at The Art Institute of Houston, but his stay there was short-lived because, as he describes it, his classes were unchallenging and vague and left him uncertain about finding a practical way forward in the film industry.
The young, aspiring filmmaker had a solid understanding of what he wanted to achieve and the caveats that could impede his way. He says, “I wanted to combine hands on theory with the practical aspects of filmmaking. But I was afraid of being around the wrong crowd — slackers at typical art schools and the overall arrogant nature of the university system. The equipment there was laughable, not to mention the tuition [and living expense] costs (approx. $10,000+ for room and board per quarter).”
Then Youp discovered The Film Connection and things took a turn for the better.
The Film Connection counselors worked with Youp to assess his film career goals and plans in order to match him with the right mentor. From there, Youp started working with mentor Elsa Maxey of Star Video Production locally and remotely with screenwriter Tom Malloy of Trick Candle Productions in New York, learning about things like b-roll filming and “guerilla filmmaking.” Soon after, Youp moved to Los Angeles where he was paired with Daniel Lir and Bayou Bennett of Dolce Films. Youp says, “In the first week of moving to LA I was on set. … I met Andrew Lane, the producer of Hannah Montana. You get to see how things work in the real world.”
Since coming to Los Angeles, Youp Zondag has made great strides at advancing his filmmaking knowledge and he’s made quite a few great film industry connections to help him further his film career. He’s taking every chance he gets to meet up and collaborate with other film student externs, assist on shoots, and immerse himself in the Hollywood experience. Youp also recently had the opportunity to pitch his screenplay to an industry professional. It was an informative experience, one that has prompted him to attempt a second draft of the script. Youp says, “You can have a great story, but if the characters are flat, it won’t sell.”
At just 19 years old, Youp has already had one incredible journey in pursuit of his dream. With the Film Connection he’s gained practical, well-rounded experience in the film industry. The journey isn’t over yet! Youp’s next stop: Toronto, Ontario/ While there, the aspiring filmmaker and screenwriter will immerse himself in learning more about film budgeting and financing. Sure that’s a lot of flying around but not only has the Film Connection saved Youp thousands of dollars that could have been spent solely on tuition, it’s also given him the practical resources and connections he needs so he can get to work making movies and doing what he loves much sooner!
On his last day in Los Angeles, Youp and fellow Film Connection student Mike Dusenka scouted famous film locations in and around the L.A. area, drawing inspiration from Film Connection’s “Famous Shooting Locations” (which you can also check out here).
Best of luck as you continue your journey, Youp Zondag! We look forward to seeing where the journey takes you next!