The Small-Town European Producer Who Worked On "Game Of Thrones" And The Local "Gossip Girl"

“When an American production comes here, the attitude is to throw money at the problem until it goes away.”

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For the past three years, I’ve worked in film production in a very small European country. One of my first jobs was working as a lowly assistant on Game Of Thrones when they came to film here. I had zero experience, but they gave me the job anyway. So that’s how I started.

A lot of people said it was the worst production they’d ever been on. When an American production comes here, the attitude is to throw money at the problem until it goes away. There were scenes with thousands of extras. The scale is just crazy. People aren’t used to that. It was fun for me, though. I was mostly just getting coffee and making copies but I also got to drive around the actors.

Now, I work on a low budget local drama — sort of our version of Gossip Girl. I coordinate production, organizing everything from costumes to auditions. They always want to do these really cool sequences, but there’s no money. So we’ll knock on the door of a club, and say, “Can we film a scene here? We’ll give you 20 Euros.” We get a lot of doors slammed in our faces.

I’ll also be given two hours to find 20 extras, who won’t even be paid. And then right before they’re supposed to show up, they’ll say we’re actually going to shoot this on Saturday. The script writing team is a bit of a mafia. They don’t listen to our requests, and the scripts sometimes come in so late that the actors don’t have time to learn their lines. Half the time, I’m feeding the actors their line on set. I’m saying, “Okay, now you say, ‘I have always loved you.’” It doesn’t lead to the greatest dramatic performances.

Half the people on our crew are related, which is so awkward. You you can’t come in and complain about the director, because the assistant is her daughter or sister. People quit all the time, because we work 80 hour weeks and we don’t get compensated for a lot of it. My family thinks I’m crazy for doing it. For the first few months, I’d come home crying every day. My parents would probably like that I had a job with a little more staying power. Most film jobs last three months.

Eventually, I’d like to write some scripts and direct. That’s the problem with the film industry. It’s full of people want to be writers or directors and they end up being production assistants.

I’d also like to move somewhere else — maybe London or Australia, or the U.S. if I could get a green card. There’s such a big cultural divide here between older and younger people. Older people are really into local culture, whereas I identify with British and American culture. A few weeks ago, a famous local comedian came on set and I had no idea who he was. Everyone gave me the nastiest look. But I don’t watch local programs that much. I’m part of the Internet generation, I guess.

As told to Hillary Reinsberg.

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