I am very grateful, that even though we are living with the pandemia, I was still able to work all year round. It is no longer a matter of course, and for that I am thankful. This pandemia has now been with us for almost two years and as we are getting more and more used to living with it, I am not giving this blog to it and I am not mentioning it in every term. You know, other wise it would be all about that. My year was so much more and I did good, so I am not gonna give the credit to someone it doesn’t belong to!
It is time to sum up the year 2021 and welcome new year 2022 here with us! I will do this in thirds, as my year kind of divided accordingly. Let us start and where, from the beginning of course!
1st third, January – April
My year started with prepping the tv series Enemy Of The People (C More 2022). We had ”quite a lot of” remote meetings during the prep period, and it was frustrating. It was very productive time wise to be able to book as many meetings as needed right next to each other as no time was wasted to traveling. All though it was exhausting to be in a remote meeting for four ours! One became to value the real live meetings where you can see other people react and sigh and all those other non verbal things. And the most frustrating thing was that for me, there were almost no breaks between the meetings! Of course always after the meeting it was someone who I needed to talk alone for some time, for example with the Director – to sum up the meeting and go through the next steps. But those ”can we have few words alone” talks between meetings ate my bathroom and getting a cup of coffee time! Okey, this all starts to sound ridiculous and very much first world!
One thing we couldn’t do remotely and that was location scouting. In the end of January we started to have these weekly road trips to Tampere, where we were going to shoot our series later in the spring. I had been in Tampere only few times before this year and I didn’t know the city like at all. Everything was new to me! I often compared the scout for Bad Apples scout we did in Estonia the year before. I didn’t no those places either. It was really weird to check the navigator every time we started to drive from location to another to see how much time did I have in between to work; did I have time to write this one email or do this phone call? If the recce would happen in Helsinki region, I wouldn’t be needing a navigator as I know where everything is and approximately how long does it take from Espoo Centre to Myllypuro Helsinki. Funny thing though: everything is 15 minutes apart in Tampere region! Some places like Ylöjärvi or Teisko can be a little longer away, but sometimes when there is no traffic, even them can be reached sooner! This was funny for me (a Helsinki city girl), because here it takes 30 to 45 minutes to get anywhere.
The first third of the year was very very hectic time as the prep always is! It is all about booking the crew, booking the equipment, casting, recceing and choosing the locations, scheduling the shooting days… of course I don’t do this all and definitely not alone! But, I as a Production Manager am involved of everything and most importantly I need to know everything that is going on! I need to be aware what is happening in which department and when. So, yes, the first four months were quite heavy ones. Four months of prep is not that much for tv series that has eight long (42-50 minute) episodes, and especially for a new series were everything is build up and put together, of course the story and the look but also crew wise. This time especially because so big part of our crew members were new to us Helsinki based people, as they came from Tampere.
I could easily sum up my first part of the year to consist of remote meetings and recces in Tampere. As we got closer to May, we started to have everything in order and we were ready to shoot.
2nd third, May – August
May fifth we started to shoot and it was super cold, not that many degrees on the plus side. I love the first day of shootings! Everything is ready and everyone just comes together! Everyone does their thing they are good at and voilá! The amount of electricity there is in the air in the beginning of the first shooting day, wow – you could almost touch it! For me the most important thing is to go around my crew, say good morning to everyone by name. It is really important to me that my crew knows I am there for them and I know who they are and why their presence is important. I would hate to be some one the crew is afraid of and does not want to come talk to, with either bullshit or with a real matter. I am there for my crew. Always.
We had some pretty rough conditions weather wise in the beginning of our shooting period, but when the wind changed, it really changed and then we had a brand new problem: it was too hot! We cleared the city of Tampere from all of the fans and ventilators to try to make the conditions some what bearable. Only problem was: we were shooting quite a lot outside.
The second quarter of the year I spend mainly in my car and in the highway number 3. I traveled back and forth between Tampere and Helsinki and had my office in four places: in our Tampere office, in our Helsinki office, at home and in my car. This was very exhausting and consuming. I felt that if I was here, I was needed there and the other way around. Now when I think of it, it would have been best to have another Production Manager there in Tampere all the time to focusing on the crew and matters there at the shootings. If so, then if I stayed in Helsinki, I would have had the time to focus on budget, invoices, salaries and such – office stuff. In the circumstances I can honestly say I did good. I couldn’t have done any better in the situation I was in and with the recourses I had.
We wrapped our Tampere shoot by the end of July and it was no time to chill then! It was all about prepping Barcelona shoot which was knocking on the door. It was quite a lot of work to arrange the crew and cast there, but gladly we had super contacts there to help us locally! I had to get everyone there and everything else was covered. Of course some adjustments had to be done, as (surprisingly!) everything wasn’t quite the way we thought in the end. The places were either bigger or smaller than in videos and pictures. It is not the ideal that the Production Manager translates the new script pages at the hotel for the next day, but hey, what needs to be done needs to be done!
I had a half day free there in Barcelona which was nice. It was Sunday though, so almost everything was closed. For me that wasn’t that big of a deal, as I just wanted to walk around the city randomly. I ended up to the Sagrada Família and had an espresso there, not too bad!
My second biggest task was to get everyone back to Finland okey, and I did. So well done me!
3rd third, September – December
After the Spain trip I did not work no longer full time on the production. A Production Managers wrap comes from little things here and there. Salaries, budget realization, filling in work certificates and that sort of basic office work. I had two week holiday there in the end of September in the beginning of October, which was super nice! I had my companies first birthday there and I had a big hublaa on Instagram about that! I also slept a lot, played Playstation 5 (finally!) and then slept some more. I also had some meeting which then changed my plans for the rest of the year.
First I had a meeting at Warner about a new series, that would keep me busy starting from February/ March 2022. I was excited about this! I had worked in the same production company for two long series now and a change is always a good thing, moving forward is a good thing. I am a freelancer and I want to work for different production companies and with different people in different productions. That is the salt in this very tasty dish we call film business! I was also excited because I had been working at Warner before and I knew people from there, so it was like going back home – as it always is when you are going back to a production company you have been working previously!
But then I had another meeting and the rest is history. I have been working on that production ever since and I really do hope, I can let you guys know very very soon what it is! For now I can only say, it is super super exciting and a huge thing!
To sum up
The weeks went by so fast I didn’t have time to stop and appreciate where I’ve got this year, not until the very last week of the year. For some reason before writing this blog, I had this thought that this year was shitty, long and exhausting all in all. Well, actually, it wasn’t. It was long, yes. It was exhausting yes. It was shitty sometimes yes, but again, what isn’t? This is the way. The productions are projects and they start and then they end. That is the very best thing in my work! I couldn’t be working in the same place all the time with same kind of issues month after month, year after year. Even though I did this blog in thirds, not even a single week in those thirds was a like with another, not even a single day. And I love it!
Many times, when things get rough, when you are tired, everything can feel just too much. But, there is no better healer than time. In some time, things get a bit easier and then a bit easier. And before you know it, it is not that hard anymore! This goes in life in general as well as work life. One thing in our industry I really would like to change, is the fact that we think everything should be hard. It shouldn’t. Everything shouldn’t be too rough to handle. I love this job and I love to work in this industry. The industry just needs to vary with us, it should become more flexible and with that more bearable. Who can change the industry? We can. Yeah yeah I know, it’s all about the money and the lack of it and that’s why things are done in certain way. I say no. We have the money, the big issue is how do we spend it! Do we put more effort making the shooting days tolerable, do we add some time to prep and maybe cut from equipment or props, as somewhere needs to be cut? That is that kind of producing I am keen in. I want to be part of the generation of producers, who change things. I want to create something new, something better.
I think this is a good place to wrap up. This was so good for me to have a closer look what have I done, what was good what was bad, what did I learn and where do I still need to be better at. I am going to be better, more caring and more available this year. Year 2022. Be kind, be fearless, be ours!
Take a good care of yourself!