China Diary

Day 188: An Ordeal

The silence of the hotel. The smooth buzz of the traffic outside. I’m back in China, Beijing, Hotel New Otani Chang Fu Gong, and it’s time to get back to writing, too!

Getting here this time was quite an ordeal indeed. The production booked my tickets well in advance, but what I didn’t realize to have a look at closer was the way my name was spelled in the ticket. Instead of regular MR VUORENSOLA/TIMO it was MR TIMO/VUORENSOLA. Might look suspiciously similar, but there’s a huge difference: the Chinese travel agent had mixed my last name and my first name, and as I rushed to the counter, the first response was: you can’t fly with this ticket. Your name is wrong.

Luckily, Finnair was able to fix the naming, but it did cost a bit and was an unnecessary hassle. Amidst it all I forgot to dump my luggage to the desk, and had to turn back at the security after lining up for a while when I realized I definitely can’t take my hockey bag size of a luggage as hand luggage to the plane.

At Finnair lounge, I enjoyed a glass of champagne, some wine, a whiskey and a beer, so by the time I was at the plane, I was already nicely buzzed. I had decided to try to attempt to stay awake through the flight to battle the jetlag (didn’t work), so I had some dinner and watched some Curb Your Enthusiasm and few more drinks on the way to China.

Flying with Finnair’s fleet to Beijing is really comfortable, I must say, especially if you travel in business. The food is pretty great and the service is good, and the seats are comfortable and big enough even for me. I can’t really lie down completely, but pretty well nevertheless. The flight itself is only seven or so hours, so you really get to watch a film or two, have some dinner, breakfast, a nap and you’re already in Beijing.

After landing, everything went more or less by the book. I was a bit groggy from not having slept, but I was confident I could get to my bed quickly enough. Little did I know i was about to spend the next 2 hours in terrible Beijing traffic, and the hotel itself was fully booked and my room wasn’t ready until in one hour. By this time I had stayed awake for 24 hours so I was indeed damn tired, so when they finally got the room for me, I was ready to crash right there.

Unfortunately, though, the floor they booked the room was on 20th, which apparently is kind of a smoking floor (although smoking is forbidden, but apparently it doesn’t apply to the 20th floor), so entering the room felt like taking a dive into an ashtray. I was too tired to really worry about the smell and slept like a log for six or so hours, waking up every now and then and inhaling a lungful of sweet cigarette smell.

But before I continue, maybe it’s a good moment to take few steps back and go back in time. Last time I wrote here was in May, so there has been quite a lot of progress in every field in the last three months indeed.

After returning from my trip to China, I flew instantly to LA, where we shot a clip for the upcoming Iron Sky The Coming Race. Simultaneously, the Finnish Market Court finally ruled in our favor in the long-running legal case related to the first Iron Sky, which, at the same time, propelled our remaining funding challenges for the film to a victorious finale, meaning Iron Sky The Coming Race is back on track and ready to be released in January 2019, after over a year of sitting on our hands and waiting to finally get going. I did visit Croatia and watched the Croats beat the Russians during the Football World Championships, I visited Ljubljana and met with Laibach, with whom we restarted the compositing of the music for Iron Sky The Coming Race, and also started Cinesync sessions with Pixomondo to finish the visual effects of ISTCR.

In addition to this, my wife did force me to go to the doctor, to check up on my blood pressure. And indeed, it is elevated. I got instructions to lose weight (I can’t understand what they are talking about) and watch out for high cholesterol foods, and all in all try to lead a more healthy lifestyle. What a drag… But, it’s better to act now than when it’s too late, I guess… And I should look more dashing at the premieres, if nothing else! (And it’s working, too, mind you – I’ve managed to shave off some 5 kg already in the first few weeks – which, of course, is mostly liquids but still).

Speaking of premieres, it turns out both Iron Sky The Coming Race and Iron Sky: The Ark will be released around the same time, so next year will be rather busy for me. Also, I have started to read and develop scripts for the future projects, so… Much has indeed happened in the last three months.

Alright, back to China. So, here I am, back and ready to start working on a bunch of post production tasks for Iron Sky: The Ark. There’s meetings with our VFX team VHQ scheduled, a meeting with our sound designer, mr. Wu, and some color grading with Mika planned for next week, too.

We started today with an extensive VHQ meeting. We went to their offices and sat at the big theatre, and started to go through the shots they had either nearly finished or finished, and went through mine and Max’s comments on them. Mostly, everything is looking really beautiful. There’s a lot of spectacular, amazing and huge shots coming up for the movie, and watching them on big screen instead of my crappy little monitor is just mind blowing. The film indeed starts to look like a real movie, and a great one, too, if I may say so!

There’s of course still a long way to go, but now that I’ve already seen a bunch of shots nearly finished – or finished – I’m really relieved that we are absolutely on the right track. Now if I just could shake off the jet lag, I’d be a much happier director – and soon, much healthier, too!

That’s just us enjoying the last rays of Finnish summer in Helsinki few weeks ago.

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