China Diary

Day 195: Kindling The Flame


I’m writing this from the confines of my home, but my heart travels back to China for week plus I spent there. We worked hard on the movie’s post production in all the aspects – we went through the visuals, the picture post production, sound design, and discussed premieres, schedules and marketing. It was delightful and progressed nicely.

The last day we finally tackled the black dog I had been talking about: the scene which needed my directorial input, I finally grabbed it by the balls and spit it out in the open. I had been having nightmares about it for quite some time, and truly, the great stroke of inspiration never came – like it sometimes does – so the only thing left to do was to bruteforce the inspiration out and carve the fucking scene together, by all means necessary.

First, we had a talk with Max, and one of the great things was that Lei, who is now working on other stuff, happened to come by the office – and of course, he was instantly asked to translate between us. That made things much, much easier, since – while I love Tanya and everyone at the office – Lei’s English is just better. He understands me better, and he’s able to transmute my ramblings into coherent thoughts in Chinese, and present them to Max in a way that a he’s onboard – and vice versa. With him in between, I can understand Max much better, and he can understand me.

So we spoke about the scene and I spilled my thoughts to him through Lei, and we agreed that this is the right way to go. We grabbed Lei with us and went to VHQ, and gathered everyone together at the big meeting room. They have this huge whiteboard covering the back wall, so I took a pen and started to draw, like a cave painting, or like drawing runes, on the wall, while speaking through the scene. Picture by picture, scene by scene, moment by moment.

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After a long and exhausting presentation, everyone was staring at me, and I was trying to read their minds, whether or not they got my idea of the scene or not. Max helped by talking in great length about the philosophy of the movie (in Chinese), and Lei translated my presentation. We were eventually left with loads of notes and whiteboard full of pictures nobody from the outside could ever understand, but hopefully, also kindle of enthusiasm for the team.

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After the meeting, I swooshed out to meet the distributors of Iron Sky The Coming Race in China, to discuss our release strategy. As you can believe, releasing two films around the same time is not an easy puzzle to solve, although only the other one carries clearly the name Iron Sky – Iron Sky: The Ark is called in Chinese “The Hope Island” (I’ll add the Chinese markings here later when I get them correct), but yeah, two scifi films with Moon playing a big part in them, and me as a director, we’ll have to make sure the market understands which one is which. And find the best release date, too.

The next morning we jumped on a taxi with Mika, and flew back home. Even in the business, the little coffin they stuff people is not big enough for me. Enviously, I was watching the much lighter weight and smaller Chinese sleeping soundly, while me, the huge Nord with my 6 foot 7 frame just couldn’t do much but try to fit any way possible.

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But yeah, now I’m back in Finland! This diary continues again when I come over next time to China, probably sometime mid-November!

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