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Making Movies – A Perfect Free Day

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I’ve been in Frankfurt for three weeks, and today I decided to have my second proper day off. The first one doesn’t really count, since it was a hangover day after the kick-off – that’s what you get when you don’t have even a single beer in a month and then go out with movie people. The second one turned out to be pretty perfect in a very enjoyable low-key way.

Technically we have Mondays and Tuesdays free, and we are not shooting, but I’ve opted to work through them, because it just makes things easier for me and other people who depend on what I do. Make no mistake, making movies is hard work, even for us who aren’t directly involved in the production. Case in point, yesterday I got up at nine, did some office work ’till late afternoon, then dashed between the set and the office ’till 1:30 in the night, when we wrapped up the day. After I got to my room, I noticed that our whole website was down, of course right when io9 had linked to us. So me and Jarmo spent a good chunk of time trying to kick the Apache and httpd up on a virtual server, where we apparently don’t have high enough access.

Skyscrapers in downtown Frankfurt

I woke up at seven in the morning after four hours of sleep, with my heart pounding, still groggy from the kinds of frantic dreams one gets after doing hard brain work too late into the night. I forced myself to stay in bed, napping a couple of hours more, and then just lounged under the covers reading webcomics, answering some work mails, and getting ready for a day out. This is something I almost never do, but this morning it felt prudent.

The winter had arrived in Frankfurt during the previous night. Outside it was snowing, and the world was gray and serene. I’ve been aching to go and do a bit of exercise, namely swimming, and I got a couple of hints of good public pools in the downtown area. Frankfurt was really beautiful with the snow coming down, coating everything with a light white frosting and making the skyscrapers just gray silhouettes with rows of light shining through.

What is it with green leaves covered with snow that makes them so beautiful.

I spent an hour in a cafe, having a leisurely dinner, reading a book and just watching people walking in the snow, before picking up my stuff and going to do a bit of clothes shopping. I had been aching to get some exercise, namely swimming, for days, but quite understandably I had not packed my swimming trunks when coming to an inland German city during the late autumn. One pair of half decent speedos later I was on my way to the pool section of Hotel Hilton, which isn’t the first place I would’ve gone to look for a public swimming pool unless someone had pointed me that way. Surprisingly they do indeed have one, which is also reasonably priced.

Getting in the water was wonderful. The pool was pleasantly big, so you didn’t have to keep turning around every three strokes. Next to the pool there was a large panorama window that opened over the snowy city, and there was a row of full size palm trees in front of it, which you could only see as silhouettes. With the gray light of the winter’s day the atmosphere was really relaxing and timeless. When I’m feeling overworked or stressed, nothing unknots the brain better than solitary exercise of some sort, be it swimming, geocaching or whatever. The only thing that would’ve made the pool visit better would have been a sauna, but that was too much to hope for.

Hot mulled wine outside on a snowy winter day.

After leaving the pool, I started walking aimlessly approximately towards our accommodation, and managed to stumble on the Christmas market, which translates to an endless row of stalls and stands, decorated with Christmas lights and fake fir branches, and selling liquorice, candy apples, glükwein, sausages, candied nuts and almonds, and compared to all the edible stuff, a surprisingly small amount of knickknacks and junk. Combine those stalls with old style German buildings, churches in the background, and a healthy bustle of people, and you get one really cozy marketplace. One could justifiably say that it was a bit hokey or tacky, and  then I could say that screw you and your cynical blasé bullshit – it made me feel good and positively jolly.

It might be a bit tacky, but who cares – it gave me good vibes.

I spent some time just drifting from stall to stall, buying some candied cashews, wildbratwurst and hot glükwein, and eating them outside watching the people while enjoying my post-exercise euphoria. A cup of coffee indoors, reading a bit more and then an unhurried walk back to the production office.

Bratwurst, straight from the grill – the lunch of the champions.

After handing some minor work back at the room, while listening to some quality blues, it was the time to go and party. As it turns out, Timo and one of our main actors share a birthday, which happens to co-incide with the first of our two free days. We started it at the costume department, headed over to the hotel where most of our actors and some of our crew is staying, and holed up in the nice lobby bar. Snow fights could not be avoided on the way, and now I can say with all honesty that I’ve been hit on the eye with a snowball thrown by a Bond villain.

I was shooting for a relaxing free day, and under the circumstances I don’t think I could’ve done any better.

4 Comments

  1. Yes the Weihnachtsmarkt with Glühwein (glow wine – now you know where glögi comes from), is really great. Germans have a way to make things that to our cynical, serious, adult minds seem corny, but look and feel pretty fun and genuine in the end. It’s like, “I can’t like Robbie Williams, it’s shit pop music”, and then you realize, what the heck, if you can enjoy something why should you be an elitist and reject it? If you like the market, the carnival in spring in Köln may be your thing too. People dressed up in funny costumes, corny parades and a lot of really old tacky German hits just make for a simply FUN party atmosphere. A lot of Finns actually are pretty dark, serious and elitist, and have a hard time figuring out how to have fun without tons of alcohol.

  2. I had to look twice at that mug shot to make sure it wasn’t Franknfurter

    ;-)

    enjoy the beer!

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