- It was April 2012 when I received a phone call from the film’s locations manager to join the production team of Charlie Countryman. We never met before, but roumors about my super skills and charm brought her to me.
I realized we were going to have a one of a hell ride as I never have the luck to be called for soft things. Hardcore is my middle name and when the budgets are low, things are tight and stakes are high – an invisible network activates and someone who knows someone who knows me ends up dialing my number or connecting with me on social media.
This is also how I never know what’s next and how I end up doing all sorts of incredible things, live a lot of awsome adventures and meet all kinds of people, more or less interesting and beautiful. Industry never mattered, it was always like a scenery behind the next story.
It was a debut: Charlie was my first feature film. I had managed the production of an American TV Adventure Show a few months before, but even though many things were alike, film production had its own particularities about which I had no idea until I joined its production. My over 12 years of entrepreneurship, operations and management skills helped me a lot to asimilate and process big data instantly, but it was quite a challenge from managing change and endurance perspectives.
There were a lot of consecutive night shootings and as Bucharest is the capital city of Romania, handling almost 40 locations (from which plenty of central and Old City streets) in this very alive city full of crowds, continuous and chaotic traffic and events – was a trully blast.
The first day of production was a nightmare coming true. For me, as a first timer on set. I was hoping for the locations manager to open the film and me to just assist and learn about how things happen on set. As lucky stars never show up when I need them, that never happened. And here I am in the dilemma kind of position to open 2 different locations at once, at 5 o’clock in the morning: the Writer’s House and the Romanian Atheneum. And guess what! No “engage” button on my T-shirt to press and to fly from one place to another, and no idea about what working on set really means. Not to mention the locations manager’s line with a night before when I tried to find out all possible details about work on set: ”It will be ok, don’t worry! It’s nothing you can’t handle!”…and this is how she pushed me to the sharks without an armour, but with a nice smile on her pretty face.
Ok..ok…but how does that nothing looks like? I like to know how I stand. Guess what! I never found out how I stand, but I did found out what’s all about.
The begining was a little painfull – as I heard a few hysterical sounds reffering to ”the blonde nice girl who entered the frame”, it made the line producer loose her temper (a thing that prooved to be just a reflex not only for her, but also for a few others) and it made the director yell ”cut” a few times. I didn’t take it personally as I understood that it’s always like this in the first day of production but also in the first 1-2 hours of every production day until things set up and enter their rythm; still it took me a few hours to get into that new dimension of real production, to distress and feel back in control.
Charlie was my first. Film. I did my best and everybody did the same. The project wrapped with happiness and joy shining on everyone’s face. It was a production success, a beautiful memory and a learning multi-cultural experience.
I started to feel much better when I found out that the film was a debut also for Fredrick Bond, the commercials well known Swedish director. (by the way check out Heineken – The Voyage Commercial – Legendary travelers wanted 2013 that he directed, the new global Heineken campaign). A very nice and easy going person that made us all feel like flying in a high speed and twisted roller coaster. Great experience for adrenaline addicts like myself.
My happiness reached its highest levels when I found out that Charlie was also Matt Drake‘s – the scriptwriter – first feature film. After everybody danced with everybody at the wrap party, we also had a dance and this is when I found that out. Then, maybe on the song’s chorus (not sure about that) and right when I started thinking in my head about the possibility to fit in this industry and stop being so damn free and wild, I hear the writer saying:
”What are you doing here? You don’t fit the picture!”
It was like in those Ally McBeal scenes when you hear Barry White’s sexy voice on the background and you get high and high, then something happens and everything starts sounding like something very bad is happening with the disk.
”Ohh…well, where do you think I fit in, then?” I said, watching him with curiosity.
”You ask me very hard questions, that is something you have to find out!” he wisely said while smiling like a happy child who got a hard to bear truth out from his chest.
Well, I didn’t find out, I am still exploring. I need an ax to break the ice, as David Bowie sings in his priceless Ashes to Ashes masterpiece. And while looking for that ax by doing various things for living and for setting a new base for my future, I started to write a feature film in English – maybe that will get me closer to the place I fit in, if not out of it for good :)
Leaving all that aside, it seems that Charlie Countryman (featuring Shia La Beouf, Evan Rachel Wood and Mads Mikkelsen among other great names) is eventually meeting the public starting from 15 November 2013 in limited theatres and on demand. Not sure, yet when it hits also Romania, but I am hoping to find that out.
Can’t wait to see how the guys put it together! Beautiful first time experience and an always to remember memory!
My personal Charlie Countryman Photo Collection from Production and Set.
More about it:
Sundance Festival – Interview with Shia, Evan and Fredrik:
Video from Director Fredrik Bond’s Diary Collection (featurette): https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=716443948369068
Photo Album– original stills from the film production that I try to put together for the film fans & tell something about their locations in Bucharest :) Keep in touch as I will regularly update it! (Photo Source: Charlie Countryman and Fredrik Bond Facebook Pages)