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September 21, 2022

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Award-winning alum says Notre Dame Prep truly is a caring, Catholic community that looks after students long after they graduate.

Notre Dame Prep alum Bill Holland NDP'00 is with two of his Communicator Awards from the Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts earned for work on social media PSAs for the American Dental Association.

It’s always similar and familiar refrains we hear from Notre Dame graduates. “I would not be where I am today without my Notre Dame education.” “Notre Dame taught me the value of hard work.” “The high academics at Notre Dame made college so much easier for me.” And on and on we hear virtually the same thing from nearly every grad.
Add 2000 Notre Dame Prep alum and artist and film/video producer Bill Holland to that list. 
“As much as the workload at Notre Dame often seemed overwhelming, it totally prepared me for tackling the seemingly impossible tasks I was faced with in college,” said Holland. “I found that as a college student, Prep had prepared me well for the reading workload and extensive projects that every class would demand. There were times, as a high school student, that the amount of reading almost seemed impossible to tackle, but when I got to college the reason became clear.”

College for Holland was Northern Michigan University, where he received a bachelor's degree in digital cinema. Since then he's been plying his trade in and around the Chicago area working for himself and for a number of high-end creative agencies doing video work and computer animation. 

He and his wife, Kelly, currently live in Milwaukee, which keeps the bills affordable and Chicago's culture, nightlife and business climate close enough. 

He's a busy guy and even though he's not in metro Detroit anymore and many miles from Pontiac, Holland says his ties to Notre Dame Prep and its Catholic community remain strong. He recently agreed to an interview from his high school alma mater and discussed his career, his award-winning work and why he holds a special place in his heart for NDP.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

NOTRE DAME PREP: Which company/ies have you been working for or with since 2018 when we last spoke?

BILL HOLLAND: I was with the American Dental Association for four years after a long run as a freelance motion designer/videographer/and editor running my own company. The ADA made me a surprise offer I really could not refuse, and so I went on to be their lead motion designer. I was their first in-house motion designer, so there was a lot to do in terms of building a motion and animation workflow. While I was there, our team won numerous awards for our video production work. This summer, I got news that I was awarded two Silver Telly Awards for my work on social media PSAs for the ADA Seal, which you are probably familiar with from your toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and the iconic Home Alone drug store scene.

NDP: What was your work experience like during COVID?

HOLLAND: During the pandemic, we had a pretty large layoff at ADA that saw our creative team lose some people, and unfortunately, I was one of them. Graciously, I had a period of many months before I was officially let go, so I had time to start a new LLC and get some client work lined up. After I left the ADA, I worked with Rusty Dog Productions on several really cool projects (which I can't talk about here), worked on some motion graphics for the Home Depot online catalog and storyboarded and animated some social media videos for Xfinity Gaming through GMR Marketing in Wisconsin. I also jumped onboard, at the last minute, to help design and create motion graphics for political ads during the historic Georgia runoff election. 

Holland worked on the concept designs that were used to create a futuristic cityscape for the company Verses.

NDP: I heard you also worked for a San Francisco firm. Still with them?

HOLLAND: Yep. In September of 2021, I was up in Marquette, Michigan, for a wedding, and I got to talking to a few of the guests there. One of the groom's good friends worked for a company in San Francisco, and she mentioned that they were looking for motion graphics designers. I submitted my resume and reel, did an interview, and suddenly I had a full-time job again. We're about to hit the one-year mark, but I've worked on some really interesting architecture films in that brief timespan. These are essentially sales and pitch videos that present a dynamic overview of proposed architecture projects. I've worked on architectural visualization for projects primarily in the Bay Area, but our company also has offices in New York, Chicago and Boston. We also occasionally step away from architecture and into film and TV work, most recognizably for America's Test Kitchen. More recently, I did concept designs that were used by our 3D team to create a very cool futuristic cityscape for the company Verses. I also helped develop the storyboards for a new project from Lane Partners called Berkeley Commons, located in Berkeley, California, as well as creating motion graphics for their B Street South project

NDP: Separately, have you exhibited any of your work?

HOLLAND: In November, 2021, my illustration work was featured in an exhibition at the Design Museum of Chicago, titled "All Together Now." The show included works revolving around sound, music and music marketing. I submitted several poster designs that I had been commissioned to create for a local immersive performance and music night in Chicago. To my surprise, they accepted all four. It was quite the experience to have my first gallery show in years at a large, downtown museum. 

NDP: You said you live in Wisconsin now. Where specifically?

HOLLAND: I currently live in Milwaukee. Shortly before I was let go from the ADA, we decided to make the move from the south side of Chicago, as the cost of living was lower in Wisconsin, and the quality of life better in a lot of ways, given our circumstances, goals and needs. My wife, Kelly, is from the area, and we could also be close to her mom this way. In Wisconsin, you get quite a deal more for your money than in Chicago, and we were admittedly over the traffic. I do, however, miss the public transit system, the concerts, the food scene and cultural events. There's so much to do and see in Milwaukee, but you do realize what a unique cultural hub Chicago is when you no longer live there, so we often go down to visit. I am definitely grateful for the years I spent there, and how that city has informed and impacted my life.

Holland's illustration work was featured in an exhibition at the Design Museum of Chicago, titled "All Together Now."

NDP: What do you do when you're not working?

HOLLAND: Aside from motion graphics and video production, I have been a musician and professional club DJ and event promoter for the past 15-plus years. Before the pandemic, I had started a talent-booking and event company with my two long-time business partners, Pete Augusta and Joseph Rovner. Joe and I had a long-running monthly music and performance event in Chicago called Rouge!, which was known for bringing a style of music called Electro Swing from Europe to Chicago. Electro Swing is a kind of fusion of early hot jazz, swing, bebop, soul and other vintage genres with contemporary beats, house, bass music and other forms of electronic dance music. That platform allowed us to tour the country DJing with various neo-vaudeville and variety performers, and led to my club residency at Untitled Supper Club and regular gigs at House of Blues' Foundation Room in Chicago. My last gig before the pandemic was opening for German Techno Marching Band "Meute" and one of my favorite groups from France, Caravan Palace. 

Holland also has been a musician and professional club DJ and event promoter for the past 15-plus years. (Photo by Eric Strom from Glitterguts)

Through Calliope we were successful at booking talent and producing corporate and private events, ranging from experiential marketing to booking talent and producing shows for the Chapel and Speakeasy Stages at the Electric Forest Music Festival. As far as Electro Swing goes, I've released an EP and several singles and remixes as Mr. Automatic, and I've begun releasing my soundtrack and more ambient, atmospheric work under the name Bill Netherlands (also my design moniker). Recently, I reconnected with an old college collaborator, Joe Rayome (Brooklyn, NY), to mixdown and master a new song he was commissioned to write for Northern Michigan University. We had won an award from the Kennedy Center in college for a score we wrote for a theatre production of The Laramie Project, and it was great to get back in the studio with Joe (albeit remotely) and throw some ideas around.

NDP: Can you comment on your time at Notre Dame Prep?

HOLLAND: NDP was a great experience for me, looking back on it. I'm the kind of person who doesn't do well if I'm not being challenged, and NDP really gave me that, while encouraging me to be my own person. The option for independent study in my senior year was invaluable, as I had to learn to be self-sufficient in working with Joe Martin to create a documentary about the band program. It was also the first time I really learned about client feedback and revisions, as I got called into Fr. Leon's office AFTER I graduated, to talk about editing certain material out of the video. At least in my experience, Notre Dame was a great school for kids who didn't easily fit into a box, and I was able to tailor my education in a way that really benefited me in college and beyond.

NDP: What especially stands out to you about your former high school?

HOLLAND: During the height of the pandemic, in 2021, I lost my grandfather and my dad within a week of each other. I knew that the Notre Dame Prep community was important to my parents, but I was floored by the amount of familiar faces I saw at both funerals, but especially for my dad. The Marists (including Brother Louis) came to lead the evening rosary at the wake for my father, and it made me realize that Notre Dame wasn't just a school, it was a Catholic community that followed our family over the years. You don't hear stories like that from the high school experiences of others. I cannot overemphasize how much that meant, while our family was trying to process that grief, during the middle of a worldwide health crisis. I definitely still feel like we are healing from the stress and trauma of the past few years, but moments like that, while they may seem like small gestures to the people making them, got me through some of the darkest times.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at