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                                              Mr. late bloomer

                 


Like almost everyone else I loved to watch films, since the time my parents allowed it, of course. Yet the idea of taking part in the process of making one hasn`t grown inside of me before reaching the end of my 20`s. But, even with the idea or imagination in my mind of making the step ... I didn`t do it. Because I really had no clue where to start and even after people suggested different possibilities I came to the conclusion that it was best for someone who hasn`t been in touch with the film industry before, to try out the „screenplay approach“.

 

Hm, not my brightest idea. The following years I`ve spent on developing some screenplays with german television as a possible target for my stories. Quite a somewhat weird experience...

 

Frankly I didn`t expect much, but sometimes I thought the responses they gave me couldn`t be meant for the print I sent them. My first screenplay was supposed to be a romantic comedy and everyone who read it said it was funny. Maybe the story wasn`t award winning material, but, compared to what they offer us on TV they believed it could stand the test.

 

The reply from the production company: „A romantic comedy should be funny...“ At that time I was wondering, whether they have read it at all. If they had told me the story wasn`t what they had in mind I could have accepted that, but not funny... .

 

And it continued that way. An action film script wasn`t accepted, because the company meant it was too similar to the TV series they were just producing. Stupid me, how could I believe that a production company which is only producing action films may have want another action film script? 
 

After that I tried another approach. The one I somehow avoided at first...


I miraculously discovered the „Kölner Filmhaus e.V.“, a filmmaking society situated in cologne, which is permanently offering hands-on workshops around each process in filmmaking. I applied for two, but before taking part I spent vacation with my wife in Paris. 

And a visit of Paris for many people also includes a visit of Versailles, especially its palace. My wife and I were no different, so we entered the train in Paris among millions of other visitors who got off in the famous resort at the outskirts of Paris. Oh, if you should visit Versailles by train, then, if you are not too much in a hurry, leave the station to the left, follow a nice quiet route through the town`s center and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere on your way to the palace. You will encounter the tourist army crowd at the palace gates soon enough... again.



Hm, but that`s not what I wanted to say in the first place. Sorry, for the small detour.

 

To make a long story a little shorter: When we finished our visit and left the main building they were preparing the court for the shooting of the palace scenes of Sofia Coppola`s „Marie Antoinette“, and that was quite a surprise for me. Painful for my wife, because we waited there without something going on and a warm day turned into a pretty cold evening.





Due to the increasing pressure of the forces which worked against me (the timetable of the french railway more than anything else, even my wife) I decided to surrender and return to base with some photos of extras, empty chairs and a feeling of „what might have been, if...?“




       


...they replaced Kirsten Dunst with me?


Anyway, being at a film set for the first time charged me for the coming workshops.

The first one was about realizing a 16mm short film under the guidance of production manager Martin Kopischke and director Christian Rall. The mix of participants was very interesting since I was not the only one over 30 years old and with no filming experience whatsoever. Yet the group worked together in a nice way and suddenly it felt, as if we had never done anything else before. Not that the result was perfect, but the feeling and impressions I took from there were unique.

 

The second workshop, which took part soon after the first one, dealt with directing, led by director Bettina Woernle, with director of photography Markus Schott. Among the attendees were cinematographers, assistant directors and second unit directors who not only gave me an insight of their own field of work, but also their way of approaching actors and screenplay work.


                     


After finishing the second workshop I was eager to realize a short film on my own, yet the group of people from the first course, including me, gathered around director Christian Rall again to shoot another short film. This film featured Marcel Neumüller and Esther Roling, among others. Unfortunately I was only able to watch a pre-release screening, due to editing and post work delay. And since the group consisted of people from all Germany they were never to meet again, all following different paths.

 

That was the beginning of the development of my own short film, a three character piece set during the last days of the Ardennes Offensive in 1944. But, although I planned it as a very low budget short film, production companies wanted me to extend the story into a 90 minutes film. They liked the story, but, as everyone knows, short films don`t earn money, therefore they wanted me to extend it.

I, however, thought of it as a 15-20 minutes short. Three soldiers wandering around in the Ardennes forest, for the length of 15 minutes I imagined it as a Tour de Force, but 90 minutes ... I didn`t want to bore the audience to death and that was the reason I put it on ice. Really a pity, especially because the whole project was backed by the international renown founder and curator of the National Museum of Military History Diekirch/ Luxembourg, Mr. Roland Gaul.

 

Another aborted project of much smaller proportions almost made me lose faith and around that time I started to make short videos from the PC games „The Movies“ and „Theatre of War“. Nothing for a big audience, but an excellent possibility to train the usage of different softwares and applications in which I also was a beginner, let alone even knowing that these exist.

 

Lucky for me the company who published „Theatre of War“ was hosting a video contest, right after I got used to the procedure of recording the images I had in mind.

I won the contest and the prize was directly invested in new software.

Along with the new software new ideas were born, new possibilites opened up. I made my first steps in compositing video images and put that to use in my latest „Theatre of War“ video which therefore lastet three months in the making.

 

My new projects are sometimes progressing with the speed of a snail, but they are advancing. And that`s the most important thing for me.


That`s the only dilemma, if you don`t figure out what you want to do in life right after school. Too many things to discover and too less time, especially when you are working in a different area or are subject to other difficulties.

 

Nevertheless, all this above supports only one conclusion: Keep trying!

                                                                                                                                                                               


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