I’ve spent the last month and a half with Rob in Berlin. He’s mid-way through shooting his first feature ‘Dublin Berlin’ and it’s been a real rollercoaster of a few months to get here. The trip has come in two parts, the first was a month of glorious and much needed space. I spent most days on my own or with Rob, writing music, learning German, reading books like “Hot Irons” by Howard Brenton and Michel Houellebecq’s “The Map and the territory”. Listening to great new music and writing plays. It was a planned pause I guess, time to breath and figure out what exactly has filtered through from the heady mix of experiences I’ve had in The Abbey and with Pan Pan over the last 18 months. So I thoroughly enjoyed this month, we even bought bikes and became regulars at the Turkish Market at Maybachufer. I suppose it was easier for me to relax and enjoy this time when I was coming down from my year of intensity – Rob, on the other hand, had already begun to brace himself for the epic month of shooting.
I began working as an assistant producer on the film in late July. There was a need for some admin support and the pressure was mounting to find the remaining members of the crew so I got on board. It was one of those – jump in a see if you swim – kind of situations. I did a lot of cold calling and a lot of cold emailing and bit by bit the pieces started coming together. I also became chief house hunter for somewhere to use as accommodation for myself and Rob as well as the Irish contingent of cast and crew. That was a tricky thing and I was incredibly lucky to find a place in Prenzlauerberg that covered all of our needs and some. The owners are lovely artists themselves and the timing was perfect for everyone.
We moved in on the 12th August and that’s when the rush really began. I wonder if I could ever really have anticipated the speed and energy with which everything began to move. Days stretched and doubled, sleeping became a luxury and the place was so full of life and excitement in these first days I found it hard to take in. In the last two weeks, however, it has been necessary for me to take a step back from the film production in order to get my own work done. Arts Council deadlines loom and it is that strange sensation of re-focusing on the future. I split myself awkwardly between these two forces; the immediate pull of the day, the bustle of people needing to be fed and the film that’s growing daily into something more tangible, and then the pull of potential new work and collaboration in my own world. It’s not something I’m good at, I find it hard to force my brain into one story and out of the other. Still, in both instances, I am writing with very little left to do. My application is close to finished save a bit of re-drafting and budgetary detail, and the film only has 4 days left to shoot.
This epic moment in my life has pushed me out of the creative fog I had become stuck in. I think I’ve been a little mentally lazy while assisting. Understandable when there’s a definite limit to the creative contribution you can make, but it’s good to feel things moving again. Berlin, thanks for the jolt, it may have been a bit of a headache at times but it’s just what I needed.