Whatever he set his mind to, he excelled at it. At one time, he successfully pursued acting, music, and drawing comics, but now he is involved in editing and directing the dubbing of animated films. In an interview with 011info, Vladimir Marković LoOney recalls his adventures on the set of the children's series "Metla bez drške" (Broomstick Without a Handle), the downsides of the popularity he gained, and reveals what it's like to be a YouTuber and an expert known as "half-human, half-animated film."

What is your first memory of Belgrade?

Definitely, it's the Prote Mateje Street where I took my first steps. I vividly remember the tree-lined avenue and the dry cleaner's on the corner, where the workers from the City Cleaning Company would gather and have a drink. Across from our home, there was also a supermarket that soon became the center of my universe. You see, going shopping with my grandma felt like discovering a whole new world that was even there, on the other side of the street.

Outside our neighborhood, fond memories are tied to the Belgrade Zoo, which I often visited with my other grandma. We had a special ritual. You see, I loved going to the section with the seals the most. There was a guy selling fish that we used to feed them, and we would sing "Frère Jacques" to them. In response, the seals would make their guttural sounds. That was the main attraction for me.

Later on, when my grandpa moved to New Belgrade, it felt like a whole new continent to me because, before that, I had no reason to cross the bridge.

So, step by step, I discovered Belgrade. However, even today, four decades later, I still don't know the entire city.

Vladimir Marković LoOney


Your childhood was marked by your performances with the famous children's choir "Kolibri".

After consulting with my 4-year-old self, my parents enrolled me in the children's choir "Kolibri" with which I performed until the age of ten. It was somewhat of a natural progression since my entire family has connections to the arts. Both my grandparents, my dad who is a musician, and my mom who is a presenter and announcer.

Now, when I look back at that period and consider all the solo concerts, children's TV series, and programs, I realize that, in modern terms, it was "child exploitation." (laughs) Jokes aside, despite the business side of it, it was still a lot of fun, and from time to time, we would receive a record as something that remained with us forever.

Who had the biggest influence in steering you towards the arts?

Definitely my mom. Although I had a hand in it as well. I constantly told her that I wanted to become a pop star. (laughs) In the end, of course, I didn't become one. What I am now, a dubbing director for animated films, I never dreamed of even in my wildest dreams. In fact, it was only two months before the entrance exam that I decided to apply to the Faculty of Dramatic Arts for film and television editing.

Actually, like most children, I wanted to be in the spotlight. But then, when "Metla bez drške" happened, I discovered that I didn't actually want to be in the public eye. I realized that I prefer my current role in the industry, where I operate behind the scenes.

Vladimir Marković LoOney sinhronizacija crtanih filmova


Why didn't you enjoy being in the spotlight?

You know how they say, fame has its price, and I, figuratively speaking, was famous. I had wonderful situations, like when a Chinese person stopped my mom and me at the McDonald's at Slavija and spoke to me in Serbian, saying that he learned our language by watching "Metla bez drške." Or whenever my mom sent me to Kalenić Market, I would come back with a bunch of extra groceries because the vendors like to give more to the famous... I've had enough white cheese for a lifetime! (laughs)

On the other hand, for every wonderful situation, there are a couple of ugly ones, like being bullied at school, where older kids would corner me and beat me up just to brag that they had beaten Zlatko from "Metla bez drške."

How do you view "Metla bez drške" from today's perspective?

I see it as a kind of time capsule of Belgrade. You could often see the main characters, Zlatko and Duško, racing through the streets of the capital, and there were scenes at Tašmajdan Park and Kalemegdan Fortress. For example, the Roman passage that was located beneath the "Veselo Majmunče" (Cheerful Monkey) statue was actually the Barutana (Gunpowder Magazine). I remember it being quite eerie to film inside there. Sometimes we would come across homeless people who had spent the night there, so the TV crew would always go in first to ensure everything was safe before filming. So, the series immortalized the beautiful side of Belgrade, but we were also witnesses to its other side.

What did filming the series teach you at such a young age?

Although filming the series lasted for four years, mostly during the summer, it shaped me to some extent as a person and taught me professionalism, which is no small feat when you're a kid between 8 and 12 years old.

Moreover, the instructions given by director Vlada Aleksić were invaluable, especially when I started pursuing directing myself. I would sit in the production van on set and learned what each button meant, which turned out to be very useful for my career when I worked on some TV shows directly from production vans.

Vladimir Marković LoOney Zlatko


Did the idea of pursuing a directing career arise back then?

It was just interesting to me, nothing more. I found myself in the role of an actor, although I never saw myself that way. To be honest, I don't even know if I acted well. I only know that I tried my best. After that, I didn't pursue acting anymore, except for student exercises at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU), where I accommodated my colleagues because it was fun for them to have Zlatko from "Metla bez drške" in their exam films. (laughs)

You also remember a very interesting anecdote from the filming of "Metla".

An unbelievable one! "Metla bez drške" was filmed in Zvezdara, right next to the RTS building, in a plaster house that was built for the film "Balkan Express" and was called "Vila Marlena." Everything was filmed in that house, from Zlatko and Duško's apartment to Veselo Majmunče.

It so happened that, before the final season, lightning struck this villa, causing the entire structure to tilt significantly. Moreover, it created a huge hole in the wall of Veselo Majmunče. Since it was 1992, a time of immense poverty, there were no funds for renovation, but they needed to solve the problem of the crooked building. The camera crew was very resourceful in that situation – they tilted all the cameras and faked the vertical alignment. (laughs)

How do you remember the 1990s?

When you're a child, it seems much more innocent than it actually was. It was a time when kids had their sneakers and "Mont" jackets taken off in front of the school. I didn't experience that because my parents didn't buy me the latest sneakers and jackets, but others did, and they had, to put it mildly, unpleasant situations because of it.

I always tried not to fall under the negative influence that went hand in hand with the early 90s. When local teenage criminals and slightly older ones started hanging out at the arcade across from our school, many of my macho classmates admired one guy who had a horrendous hairstyle: a shaved head with bangs. Every time I went to get a haircut on Njegoševa Street, the hairdresser would literally ask me, "Do you want a normal haircut or that idiotic one?" I never gave in.

However, that doesn't mean I didn't have traumas from that period. I vividly remember standing in line to get bread with ration coupons. Once, I went to a nearby store to get bread and milk for my brother, who was still a baby. At that time, you were only allowed to take one loaf of bread and one liter of milk. However, since the saleswoman knew we had a baby at home, she packed two liters of milk for me. When a military pensioner waiting in line noticed it, he immediately pulled out his gun and aimed it at me. It was only thanks to the intervention of the neighbors that they managed to calm him down.

Vladimir Marković LoOney Metla bez drške


You mentioned that you decided to apply to the Faculty of Dramatic Arts (FDU) just two months before the entrance exam. What tipped the scales?

That was in 1999, when the school year ended earlier due to the NATO bombing. Therefore, I had almost the entire semester to contemplate what I wanted to study. The initial idea was to go to Prague and study film editing at the Czech FDU. To better prepare for their entrance exam, the plan was to first take our local exam, which was almost the same as the Czech one.

Somewhere during the entrance exam, my competitive spirit kicked in, and I started fighting for my "place in the sun." I made it to the third round, where I performed excellently, resulting in second place on the ranking list. As for the Czech Republic, it remained just a mere wish.

Do you have any regrets over that?

Yes and no. It would definitely be a completely different life from what I have experienced so far. If you ask me what I would be doing, I believe I would still be an editor or a director, exclusively working abroad. On the other hand, considering everything I have gone through and achieved here, I would feel sorry if all of that had never happened. In short, I don't know any better, as they say in our culture. (laughs)

Vladimir Marković LoOney strip


How did you decide to venture back into the music scene?

It happened completely unplanned. I got a job at a marketing agency as a music video editor. Among other things, they had a newly established record label, Bassivity. Shortly after, I started hanging out with people from the label and spending more and more time in the studio. One thing led to another, and my love for singing was reignited.

I recorded a few singles, and then an album, but that's where it stopped. It's not like I didn't have opportunities to establish myself as a singer. Cvija and Sha wanted to take me to Switzerland to perform in clubs there, which was very popular at the time. However, as a performer, I have certain fears that I simply cannot overcome. Besides, I constantly think that everything will go wrong, and it ends up happening.

Did you have any mishaps?

Oh, yes. For example, I had a performance with rappers at the hip-hop stage at Exit Festival. They just needed to hear the beat to follow the song. But alas, the sound engineer messed up. He turned down the volume, and dead silence was coming out of the speakers. Since I couldn't hear myself, I started singing off-key, which elicited laughter from the front rows. Such things block me; I don't know how to act in those situations.

Another thing is that I forget lyrics, both mine and others', and I'm not a big enough star like Zdravko Čolić to hand the microphone to the audience to continue the song. All of that was torture for me, and I didn't want to torture myself. That's why I made the decision to stick to editing and directing.

What was the first thing you directed?

As soon as I got the job at that agency, I made it clear that I also wanted to direct, even though it wasn't my area of expertise. But after just two editing projects, they gave me the freedom to direct Marčelo's music video "Kuća na promaji" (The House in the Draft). Based on a friend's recommendation, I found a location with a partially demolished house. My friend, Andrej Ilić, who is now the owner of IDJ TV, brought me a camera, and I somehow shot that video "by the seat of my pants." When I finished editing it, the people at the agency were very pleased and gave me the green light for more.

Vladimir Marković LoOney Bassivity


Looking from today's perspective, are you satisfied with that music video?

Yes, I am. In general, I'm satisfied with all of my music videos, even those that suffered from low budgets. The fact is that the best aspect of all those videos was the editing. It's difficult to praise oneself, but I consider myself a very good editor. And when I find myself in the role of a director, I rely mostly on my editing skills. That's what perhaps sets me apart from other directors, that instinct. Thanks to it, I put myself in a position to direct an international competitive reality show, as well as a semi-fictional series with Sergej Trifunović.

What do you consider your best work?

It's hard for me to choose; they are all like my children! (laughs) Seriously though, when it comes to editing, I am most proud of the music video for the Montenegrin group Who See's Eurovision entry, directed by Zonjo from The Books of Knjige. He shot five days' worth of footage, and I had to edit it all in just two days. It's one of the best editing jobs I've done.

As for directing, one of my favorites is the music video for the song "Zaustavite januar" (Stop January) by Željko Samardžić. Everyone advised me against the idea of shooting a video in the snow because they supposedly wouldn't air it during the summer. But I stuck to my guns, and it turned out I was right. That video played throughout that year and even in the following years.

What is the process of conceptualizing a music video like?

First, the artist would provide me with the song they want to make a video for. I would have a few days to come up with a script. If they liked the ideas, I would have some more room to develop them. Although, most of the time, the presentation of ideas didn't go smoothly. That's because I would always inject something twisted into the video, thinking it would grab the viewer's attention. That's precisely why they rejected me because everyone wanted a template, industrially standardized video.

To be fair, Željko Samardžić allowed me to express my creativity on two occasions. Once, I cast him as a waiter, while in another video, he was reading a book about clowns fighting over a girl. Both videos were well-received.

In the meantime, I have outgrown directing music videos and turned to other things.

Vladimir Marković LoOney režiser i montažer


Do you have a desire to try your hand as a director of a feature film?

In principle, yes, but there's a big "but"... In order to apply for a state competition, I would need to have feature films under my belt, even if they were short ones, and I don't have them. I have edited them, but I've never directed them. To fulfill that desire, I would first have to direct short films that would need to win awards at festivals. That would be a prerequisite for me to even get the opportunity to direct feature-length films. Besides all that, my age is another hindrance. I'm 42, and I won't get any younger.

On the other hand, I have some ideas regarding documentary films, but I won't talk about them anymore so as not to jinx them.

Have you dedicated a part of your life to comic books?

Yes, I have. I am a big fan of comic books. I've been reading them since I was little. At the age of six, I started flipping through Alan Ford, even though I didn't understand anything. (laughs) Then came Zagor, Eks Almanah, Mickey's Magazine, Politikin Zabavnik, and many others.

I used to buy them relentlessly. I would spend my pocket money on comic books, which, in the end, met an unfortunate fate. To free up space, my parents would send my collections to the countryside, where they certainly didn't appreciate them as much as I did, and they ended up as kindling.

All in all, I've always been a fan of comic books, and I still am. If you ask my wife, she will tell you all the worst things because we can't turn around in our apartment without bumping into comic books.

Has your love for comics gone beyond collecting?

Yes, it has. I attended classes with Vlada Vesović at the renowned "Đorđe Lobačev" comic school, which produced all of our comic artists who now draw for Marvel, DC, and Franco-Belgian publishers. I shared a desk with Aleksa Gajić. While he was drawing "Technotise," I was drawing "Looney's Adventures," a comic about myself set in the comic school. Quite creative, isn't it?

Anyway, Vlada gave me a "Mad" magazine with caricature-type comics to see if I could replicate that style. He soon realized that those rubbery characters I was drawing suited the Belgrade underground scene. He sent me to Reks, where the Nail (Ekser) festival of alternative comics was held, hosted by Raša Beopolis and other authors. Initially, no one accepted me except for the famous Wostok.

The turning point in my drawing career happened during the Fanzinijada event at SKC (Student Cultural Center) in 2003. It was an event where fanzines were drawn and exchanged. From that moment, SKC became my second home. Together with Bambi, Maja Veselinović, Miha, Burek, and others, I created a magazine and a comic group called "Šlic."

It lasted until 2008 when I put an end to it. Simply put, I couldn't manage to pursue comic books, directing, editing, singing... Something had to "fall off." Comic books were the ones that suffered the most, even though I had success with them through domestic and international exhibitions and publications in magazines.

My plan is to create a large book in the foreseeable future that would represent a retrospective of the entire "Šlic" group. I believe that these works are a cultural asset of the city of Belgrade.

Vladimir Marković LoOney pevač


What is your main focus now?

Currently, I'm editing anything that comes my way, mostly related to the internet. I collaborate with both domestic and foreign clients. At the same time, I work as a synchronization director for cartoons for Warner Bros, as well as for independent animations.

How did you get the opportunity to direct synchronizations for animated movies?

In the industry, I'm known as half-human, half-cartoon, hence the nickname LoOney. When the animated movie "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" was released, Sony was informed about me as a local expert on Spider-Man. They took a risk by approaching me, but it paid off. They got one of the better translations and synchronizations in this region. That was my entry into the world of cartoon synchronization and localization.

After that, translations and synchronizations started to line up: "The Angry Birds Movie 2" for Sony, "Aladdin" and "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" for Disney, and "Onward" for Pixar... Then the whole world was hit by the pandemic. Honestly, I thought it was the end. However, time showed that I was wrong. I was called by Bassivity and offered to work for Warner Bros. It may sound fateful, but the first cartoon I synchronized for them was Looney Tunes' "Space Jam: A New Legacy." Currently, I share Bassivity's studio with Cobi and synchronize cartoons in between trap-folk hits. (laughs)

The latest project you're working on is the Buckast podcast. How did four individuals from completely different backgrounds come together in one place?

Yes, the Buckast podcast brings together four individuals who have only one thing in common: they are "buckasti" (chubby). Moreover, the synopsis of our podcast is "half a ton of quality content." Besides myself, the team consists of Aleksandar Ašković Kojot, who deals with content optimization on YouTube; Ivan Ćosić Ćosa, who is a designer; and Goran Bogunović Đed, who is a copywriter.

We met back in 2008-2009 at the then Tweetups, gatherings of Twitter users. I vividly remember how I met Kojot. I bumped into him at the hotel pool where we were staying for a conference. Since we had a common friend in the void, he yelled out with his penetrating voice, "Hey, chubby, get in the water!" When I approached him, he immediately hugged me as if he had known me for a hundred years.

More than a decade later, after we had already become good friends, we came up with the idea of creating the first improvisational podcast in Serbia. We don't stick to a specific topic; we just talk and let the conversation take us wherever it goes – wherever it tears us apart. Usually, most of it ends up in Kojot's hands!

I believe that the podcast itself is very informative and entertaining. Although young people might say it's "cringy." Sometimes it delves into a special kind of humor that is not typical for me. But that's perfectly normal. After all, you have four different individuals stirring the pot of creativity.

As for viewers and listeners, we don't have many subscribers, but those we do have are fiercely loyal. That's far more important to me than the actual number.

Vladimir Marković LoOney Luni


And what is it like being a YouTuber?

It's very demanding. This whole experience has actually taught me to appreciate young YouTubers more. It's hard work, especially when you have other obligations, like I do.

By the way, this is not my first attempt to become a YouTuber. As an experiment, in 2014, I started my own YouTube channel called "Bleja sa Lunijem" (Hanging Out with Lunjo), where the idea was to, well, hang out with people and talk about anything. However, it didn't take off because people were more inclined towards the standard interview format with a structured conversation. So I gave up on that.

What are your plans for the future?

Currently, I don't have any plans. All I want is to rest, although that probably won't happen. I'm pretty sure I'll receive a call to work on the synchronization of some cartoon because that's usually how it goes. But yes, the goal is to recharge my batteries and prepare for September when everyone suddenly needs something urgent.

Of course, during all that time, like the sun in winter, I'll be waiting for the shooting of the sequel to "Zikina Dinastija" (Zika's Dynasty), which I'm supposed to edit. Actually, I've been on standby for that film for four years already, but that's everyday life in the film industry.