Interview with film journalist and script writer André Nientied

When you’re a student, life is still pretty manageable: go to college (or not), study, sometimes do some sports, sleep and of course drink beer! However, there comes a time when you get your beautiful degree and you’re suddenly no longer a student; then what? We talk with alumni about their career after Communication Science.

In this article André Nientied talks about his career as a film journalist and scriptwriter after studying Mass Communication, the precursor of today’s Communication Science. You may know André from the piece, “The Birth of the Freem,” in which he explains that he started the study in 1983 and graduated in 1987. Among other things, André has written for GTST for ten years and as a film journalist he has had all the big stars in front of the microphone: from Brad Pitt to Johnny Depp and from George Clooney to Kate Winslet. Today he is a freelance journalist for, among others, Het Parool and FD.

André experienced his student days as a warm bath full of like-minded people. André is critical of his studies: he says he probably learned more from his time at the Freem than from the study itself. He was, however, allowed to write an article about his thesis, which dealt with the cooperation between film producers and broadcasters, in De Filmkrant, which gave him a foot in the door with the film press. This is how he ended up at the then film magazine Skoop, where he eventually made it to editor in chief. After this, he wrote for GTST for almost ten years: “I had zero experience with scriptwriting and had never even seen an episode of GTST before I started. Still, I really enjoyed doing this.” 

During the same period, André joined Nieuwe Revu, which at the time was still a leading magazine in the Netherlands. There he wrote about new movies and because of the high circulation they were offered many interviews with international movie stars. “For Nieuwe Revu I went to the United States dozens of times – mostly to Los Angeles – to interview all the big movie stars.” The fact that these trips were largely paid for by the film companies did not mean that they yielded uncritical interviews and reviews: “After all, it is more expensive to place an advertisement than to send a group of journalists to, say, New York. From this you get publicity much cheaper.” André hints that he was actually more into deeper articles: “Of course it had to be mainly about the stars, but Jennifer Lopez, for example, had nothing at all to say. I would have preferred to interview a screenwriter or director, but that’s not interesting for the general public. I also repeatedly attended the Cannes and Venice film festivals. This was tough work, but were the highlights of my career: seeing films as one of the first people.”

André acknowledges the difficulty of becoming a film journalist in this day and age. “There are no film magazines anymore, and with the rise of the Internet, the supply of information has become very increased and fragmented.” If you are passionate about journalism and the film world, André would still recommend following this passion: “Interest is the most important thing, it can get you very far. Studying Communication Science also provides a good basis. It is also important to do something in addition to your studies and not to get too hung up on the academic requirements. My thesis had 75 pages of footnotes that no one ever read!”

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