About a Trainee's Christening


Friday afternoon. Touch down at Tenerife South airport.
When I step out of the security area with all my stuff, I recognize a sign with my name on it, and it all becomes real - today is the day when my internship in BlackstoneFilmCompany starts- and this weird feeling of millions of butterflies flying around in my belly is getting worse!

Within a few minutes we´re at the Blackstone offices, people are bustling around, speaking on the phone, typing fast on their keyboards, printing stuff, checking material and so on. "Welcome to the madhouse." says Julia, my new boss, with a friendly smile, as she sees me staring at the office scene. "Wow, there´s a lot of stuff going on." I think. After presenting me to the team, I am given the storyboard of the current project, to get a little overview of what´s going on. No time to pause, I just start working right away.

The reason for all this activity is 6 short sequences that will form two new TV commercials for the polish tour operator Rainbow Tours. They are going to show people of all ages enjoying their summer holidays. I hesitate over one scene where a bunch of kids are playing in a big pool. And I can´t stop asking myself: where do they get 15 good looking, well behaved kids between 5 and 8 years old, with the abilities to concentrate and follow the directors instructions?
"Stay calm, we´ve got a large database to choose from." says Katja, the production manager, so that's what I do. I stay calm…

Tuesday morning.
05:30 my alarm rings. Since my arrival, everyone has worked full out to get to this point, ensuring a smooth shoot today and tomorrow.
06:15 in the Blackstone office and 15 minutes later the BFC motorcade including trucks, genny´s and vans is taking off for the first location, a 5***** star hotel in the south of the island.
Clients will arrive at 07:30 o´clock. That means everything has to be ready to go beforehand: technical and camera material has to be on set, make-up and wardrobe have to be ready to work and of high importance, the first coffees for clients and team. I note that the team have worked a long time together, seeing them unload quickly, without making any noise so not to disturb the hotel guests at these early morning hours.

With the clients, the actors for the first scene arrive. One hour later at 08:30 everyone is in position and we´re ready to shoot. While we´re shooting the first scene at the infinity pool of the hotel, the art department is transforming the lower pool into a kids paradise which means turning a wooden bridge into a pirate ship, build up water slides, a bouncing castle and a huge amount of inflatable toys. And all of that has to be safe, as kids are going to play in this scene. Time runs ahead, they have to be ready by noon. To me this is looking like a mission impossible. But, as I learnt in the last days there is nothing that is impossible.

12:30 the kids are arriving. I´m astonished, the casting department really found all these different kids, with different ages, northern European looking and each one prettier than the next. And the best thing about them, they are so well behaved, listening to the instructions of our stylist and make-up artist, looking after them was easier than I thought. Escorting the kids to the set, I am amazed to see the former bridge is not recognizable as a bridge anymore. The art department turned it into this funny pirate ship that fits so well into the hotel ambience almost as if it has been there forever.

I´ve heard that shooting with kids is always a challenge. Although they behave and are full of energy, you have to keep an eye on them. Are they all there? Is it too much for some of the little ones? Anticipation rises for their swimming and diving scenes. Our experienced lifeguard always next to or in the water ready to step in if necessary and gives me a certain feeling of security. After three hours filming with the kids this mission is completed. The kids had a fun day and our clients were very happy with the result.

Wednesday, second shoot day.
An early start needed for the three different locations all around the island. The morning beach scene finished by 10:00am to keeping up with the time schedule. Again I´m fascinated how good the team is working together and how quick everything is loaded again and ready to go. 

We set off to the second location in the north of the island. A female swimmer will swim like a whale in natural sea pools. By 13:00 her Orca like movements are captured beautifully under water and we´re ready to break for lunch in a great Canarian fish restaurant with the waves lapping on the shore in front of us.
An hour later,  and we´re off to the far west of the island, the last location of the day. A beautiful restaurant surrounded by rocks and hills right next to the sea. The tourist in me is waking up, wanting to shoot photos of this lovely environment. It´s amazing that there are so many different and beautiful locations in such a small distance. I've never seen such a variety in one day in my life.

However, we have a scene to shoot! A handsome mid-forties man is having dinner while the sun is going down. Sounds easy but everything has to be prepared perfectly to be able to capture the magic hour of beautiful evening light. My first six exciting but exhausting days are finally at an end with me sitting as an extra I survived my first production and I´m happy I was a part of it and I´m really looking forward to the all the challenges that the future holds for me at Blackstone.