I’ve meet João 5 years ago and I have to be honest, João is that kind of people that is hard not to like. Talented, nice and handsome, he also knows the best hidden places in Porto to eat the famous “Francesinha”. If that wasn´t enough, João is also the co-founder of one of the sexiest agencies that I know: Jump Willy.
Jump Willy is an awarded Visual Effects and Music Composing studio, working for commercials, feature films, video games, and tv series.
They started in 2007, at Porto, and in 2013 João moved to Honk-Kong (the development team still remains in Porto).
In the agency portfolio we can see Luisa Sobral videoclip, the soundtrack of the movie “Capitão Falcão” and more recently they’ve worked for the Honk-kong government and to Chinese giant Alibaba.
Alibaba 3D animation project
Hi João, is your life as great as it seems? (João is travelling and answering this question in the EUA)
Well, as everything, some times are better than others. And because I'm writing this later, I'm now not in the USA anymore, but have been in Hong Kong where I live and I'm on my way to Singapore for a meeting.
Having your own company comes with a lot of great and terrible moments, basically the full package. It's a very intense life, as you never disconnect from work, not even when you are far away in vacations. But it has been rewarding me with an extremely positive balance. I'm very lucky that I have a amazing wife that is a great support to this life, and that, for me, is essential.
Having a great company co-founder is also essential for having a great time at work. A company is a constant decision making, some easy, some very stressful, and having partners that are in sync, share the same work and life values, and consistently respect one another, is key. The main reason I've seen companies close around me this 9 years have been due to problems between the business partners, and strangely enough, those problems tend to arise more when the companies are on their best times.
In on word, great! After 3 years there I'm still in love with Hong Kong. It's not only a great place for business and for opening and managing a company, but with time, the thing I like the most is the balance between life and work. The city is all about work hard, play hard. It's a corporate city, one of the biggest financial hubs in the world, but people still know how to relax, at any age, and they do it every day. Plus, the city is known by being a concrete jungle, but actually two thirds of it is actually natural parks, beautiful beaches where you can camp overnight, and remote waterfalls, and all this can be just 20 minutes away from the famous concrete jungle you know Hong Kong for.
I don't know if I will stay in Hong Kong one more year, or twenty more years. I know I will get back to Portugal one day, but that's not the priority at the moment, and I want to enjoy every bit of this Asian experience until then.
I don’t know if you agree with my vision, but Jump Willy works in a very exclusive and demanding market. In order to survive, or at least to grown, it was almost a requirement to go global and to work markets outside Portugal.
As you know, there are several Portuguese agencies (and companies) that face the same dilemma. What advice can you give us on that thought?
Indeed, you are very correct. And we don't even wanted to be big in size, our (Pedro Marques, my co-founder, and I) goal from day one, was always to have a small but very good, creatively free, studio where everything is handcrafted, like a premium clockmaker master. No libraries, no multiplication, no cutting corners. And with this we know our clients really see the value in this, and they can distinguish us from the competitors. But of course, with this, we are not a good fit to any client, so we had to expand more markers, and for 9 years we have worked in 4 continents, for more than 20 countries. My last project was to Dubai, my next one will be for USA, with NASA. And this is what we love, having each project with different challenges, different products, clients, and thinking deep in each one of them.
I totally agree. Uau, Nasa, congratulations! Tell me João, what are Jump Willy’s next challenges?
Thanks! Hard to say, we are a very organic studio so we are fast do adapt to a very fast paced industry. But I would say for me, the CGI (computer generated imagery) Animation side of the company, Asia (and mainly China, Hong Kong, and Singapore) are the main targets. Our target will continue to be art driven CGI animations for TVC's and Corporate PR, and to create original music scores for feature films.
Well, I would love to say today, as I miss it, and we would go straight to Bufete Fase, but until Christmas, I will have to be happy with the occasional Portuguese meal when I'm in Macau.
Anyway, I heard that you might pass by Asia before I pass by Portugal, so we might have to exchange that Francesinha for some great cantonese Dim Sum, Vietnamese Pho or Japanese Ramen. It might change your life.
(laughs) That sound great João. It’s really a pleasure for me seeing a countryman and someone I respect so much succeed in the big world.
Best of luck to you and Pedro, continue the amazing work!