Qingdao-bound train slips smoothly off the station and begins its’ five-hour-trip towards the 14-million-people city, around where we will be finishing the shoot of Iron Sky: The Ark by the end of the year. The whole crew is onboard this time, as the Beijing part of our production is wrapped for good. The studio where we used to shoot will be torn down next week, so there’s no going back anyway. Leaving behind the vineyards and the rolling hills where the Homo Erectus known as the Peking Man used to roam half a million years ago is slightly melancholic, but simultaneously a relief. Finally, the main leg of the production can begin.
Also, I miss the Qingdao food and beer. So as we land, I instantly demand we go for a Qingdao welcome dinner, and soon, a pot full of steaming seafood and beer pitchers line the table and we’re having good time with the lead actress, Mika, and my assistant Crystal. Tomorrow is an “adjustment day”, which means there’s nothing much going on – but we won’t be staying in Qingdao. The car is waiting outside to take us 1,5 hours away, to Rizhao – another city double the size of Helsinki located next to the sea.
The hotel where we’re staying is, to be honest, quite amazing. They’ve placed me in a suite on the executive floor, which means in addition for a huge complex of a room, I also have an access to an executive lounge with drinks and food and whatnot. One thing about being a Dao Yan – that’s Chinese for a director – is that everyone treats you with more respect than in Europe. This makes working on set much easier, for a director gets to decide in much greater detail on things, and he is being trusted much more, but also it can be sometimes overwhelming for a simple Finn amidst all the responsibility.
And no, I’m not complaining – I just have to remember this is not always the case in the world of film. Different countries have a very different way to work on the production, although it kind of is based on the same structure.
The whole night is full of excitement, because I know Annika is jumping on a plane and starts her journey towards Rizhao tonight, landing here tomorrow. I can hardly wait.