Evert van de Grift has been teaching at Fontys for eight years. He does that four days a week. The remaining time he spends on his other work as a film producer. From F*ck De Liefde to Fashion Chicks and from Patser to Afblijven: Van de Grift worked on them all. He is currently working on two new films.
But those projects are not why Bron wants to talk to him. We call him because of his viral GIFs, which he uses to reach millions of people. His most popular one has been viewed over 204 million times by people from all over the world. A little experiment that got out of hand, the lecturer calls it.
The GIFs were created during the production of the film Just Say Yes. "For the promotion of that project, we wanted to make GIFs. But since that would be expensive to hire a special agency for that, I decided to try it myself. I was teaching social media marketing courses by the way. Surely I had to be able to do this myself?"
To practice, Van de Grift used Fontys ICT's green screen studio in Eindhoven. He installed a camera and stood in front of the screen. "I thought of different situations you could use for a GIF. Holding up a hand, raising a thumb, drinking a beer, things like that. I made short clips of them, which I later transformed into GIFs."
The GIFs were posted by Van de Grift on Instagram and have been going viral ever since. "I suddenly saw myself regularly popping up on stories and with photos. At one point, I even got screenshots of people following some influencer who had also used a GIF of mine. Even giant vloggers from America with millions of followers shared them. Ditto for a former Feyenoord goalkeeper."
Van de Grift's most popular one has over 204 million views (and counting). Two other GIFs were viewed 3 to 7 million times. "That's a laugh, of course, but it's sour that you don't get anything for it. If I earned one cent per view, I'd have a few million euros now."
Van de Grift's viral GIFs are now a few years old. He has not made any new ones of his own, but he might want to do so again. "If I could earn something from it, I would have done it a long time ago. I would have become sleepy rich. But unfortunately that is not the case. Still, I don't want to write it off completely. For example, I also really enjoy teaching students how to make GIFs."