Filmmaking in Prague – a journalist’s adventure. Part 1.

Being a first year journalism major student from a different country, I had my doubts about leaving Poland for the summer holidays just to end up in a different country instead of Ukraine, where I originally come from.

Nobody from the group of international students decided to do this, but after I heard that there was a second application period for certain openings through the Erasmus Plus program, I realized that I should give it a try, seeing how it may be problematic to pull this off next year or the year after that because of my studies or personal life. So, I chose to spend two months in Prague, having an internship at Three Brothers Production film making studio, mainly because it was listed that they needed people with fluent English language, and since I already have a degree in English philology, choosing my destination was a no brainer.

 

 

Of course, the road to Prague was not an easy one – both literally and figuratively. After I have dealt with all my exams, I had to hop on my first bus that will take me to a city closer to the border, only to find out that my bus is going to be late for an hour and a half. After all trials and tribulations of having to wait out on the bus stop under heavy rain, I finally made it to Prague, where I took a taxi to Three Brothers Production residential address. Finding that place was rather tricky, as it is located in Prague 5 in a village Hlubocepy – a rather picturesque and quiet area, remote enough to not be touched by loud and ever awake atmosphere of city center. Three Brothers Production turned out to be not one building, but rather a set of buildings that they share with other different companies, that are also connected to filmmaking and stunt industry.

I was the first one to arrive, and unfortunately nobody knew that the students were supposed to arrive a day earlier than the official beginning of the traineeship term, so I had to spend some time explaining who I am and why I am here, but I was soon shown around and relocated to the room I was said to share with another student who was to arrive later that day in the evening. With the third student’s arrival the day after that, all three of us were ready to begin our job here. For the first week, we were mainly doing odd jobs in the office, especially since the official meet and greet happened several days after our actual arrival. For the time being we were told to help out with putting together a number of script copies for the upcoming movie and load or unload trucks with equipment. After several uneventful days had passed, we were suddenly told that there was going to be a movie shooting starting the following week, and that we were supposed to go with them as runners to help out with things that may require our attention during the process of making a movie. Thus, the second week of our traineeship was remarkably much more eventful and full of impressions – we got to participate in a real movie making process, where we were on set throughout the day for five days in a row, after which we had several days off. Unfortunately, due to several reasons, only one of us was required on the set for the remaining duration of filming, so two students – myself included – were left in the initial office on Hlubocepy for the third week of our stay without much to do, as we got back to our odd jobs. We did get our own little road trip to the city center where our assistance was needed with setting up a knight tournament that took place over the weekend in a castle. It was rather interesting to watch how professional stuntmen rehearsed their roles in full armor and on horses, and the entire area had a special and magical medieval atmosphere.

At the end of the third week we had another meeting with our coordinator and boss, who reassigned us to a different group of tasks, and the next two weeks I got to work on a completely different movie that was shot last year – Montenegro. My duties included mainly making sure that the English subtitles were up to standards and ready for distributing the movie to potential buyers – another job I have in stock for me that I will start doing fairly soon. Overall, getting to work on a post production stage of a movie was a lot more mechanical but nonetheless interesting, as I got to put my perfectionist nature to practice and finally feel like I was doing something useful with what I had to offer. Time will tell if the second half of my traineeship period will be more interesting and stimulating in terms of actual work, but I do know for sure that it will involve a lot of talking to potential buyers for the movie, as well as making sure that the version for international release comes with decent subtitles for better understanding by people who do not speak Czech abroad.

The last, but definitely not least – I got enough free time to see the city of Prague in all its glory, both in daylight and during night time, and I honestly do not know which one is better, as both offer their unique atmosphere to present the Czech capital in all its glory. Everything can be found here: beautiful architecture, incredible variety of cuisines and surprising amount of tourists from all around the world – all of which is definitely a much appreciated addition to the time I get to spend here.

 

Mariia Novychenko