It´s all about prep


Over my last three years at Blackstone I´ve done a lot of productions - TV commercials of every kind and photo shootings.
The only thing still missing to complete résumé was a film shoot.
And as it turned out I should no longer wait for it to come...

Although we are specialised in commercials, from time to time when we get an interesting film script we can't say no.
In this case Constantin Film wanted to shoot part of their newest feature film "Winterkartoffelknödel"  with us in Tenerife.

A comedy about two German police officers, travelling to the Canary Islands to find a dangerous gangster couple.

Locations needed: a tacky 5 star hotel, an abandoned factory and a holiday village at the beach.

Holiday village - sure no problem! Factory - we have this one special abandoned military base built in the 1940ies and never finished. Our so called ghost town just made the producers fall in love with it.
A cheesy luxury hotel - well, not a easy one. We have mostly new, elegant and modern 4-5 star hotels in our database, too modern for what our clients were looking for.

After searching each and every hotel over the island we found the needle in the haystack. It was a 5 star hotel at the seaside with very kitschy interiors and just perfect looking with it´s baroque details to be our romantic hotel location. Our clients just treasured it. 

As the locations were sorted out after various location recces with our clients we started working on castings for bit parts and background extras, wardrobe and props briefings.
My two special missions: teach Spanish actors German sentences and get some real police men participating in a few scenes.

The more challenging task of these two was to get 4 original police cars plus 12 fully equipped policemen. On my list of assignments this just hopped up to a top priority. The Spanish police, Policia Local, has a special storm troop comparable to a "SWAT Team" called UNIPOL. After having several phone conversations and meeting with the chief of the police the official answer was "No." As a producer I could not take no for an answer so I didn´t let go, called them again after a few days and set up a new meeting.

Meanwhile together with our casting department we also prepared audio files with a German text from the scrip to give our five preselected Spanish actors a chance to be well prepared for the video casting of the bellboy role. Besides I had a blast at the casting sessions, giggling about their pronunciations - finally a few of the actors stood out from the rest. One of them learnt German at school and spend some time in Germany many years ago.

The casting decision came down to two of the 5 preselected actors. René and Eduardo. Both were extremely talented but at the end Eduardo convinced everyone with his good German spelling and got the bit part next to the famous German actors Sebastian Bezzel and Simon Schwarz.

A few days before the shoot - I still didn´t have a positive answer from the police and a bunch of actors on standby for the worst case to substitute them - I headed to the police station ready to give it all to get my will.

Until today I don´t really know what exactly changed their minds. Was it the will to pay, the positive propaganda of Spanish policemen or simply me being annoying as hell? I sense as everything else wasn´t new to them it must have been my persistence that made them collaborate.

I actually got more than I hoped for: two armoured vans and two SUVs and 11 agents fully equipped with uniforms, helmets, shields, guns etc. 

After having had everything sorted I just said, let the games begin and ready to shoot.