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STARSHIP TROOPERS - MISSION IN Hassmersheim, Germany

The adventure of doing a movie!

Inspired by the Hollywood movie "Starship Troopers" a few friends postexperienced the application of "Starship Troopers German Divison" and filmed it.

Maybe this is exactly the reason why you are here. . .

So, you want to do a movie?

We will not forget that week-end for a long time. What is this film project about and who will participate in it? This exciting questions we asked ourselves when Steffen Werner came up with his idea to mobilise several people and started a call in the "confidential" Facebook group TTPS "Tough Troopers Preparation Space".

"Only a dead bug is a good bug!"

Preparations went back a long time. Weapons of the Troopers From the construction of several Morita guns, replicas made from fibre glass (The Morita is a movie weapon, which includes two different guns in it: On top a Ruger Mini 14 and below an Ithaca 37 Pumpgun. This prop was built real for the original movie. In the original movie there was as I know only two of these life firing pieces).

Up to a film check list that included: light, sound, film blood, armaments and even the hotel reservations for the actors just to name some. Sure this list was much longer and included many more things.

Die Kompanie

 In other words he had really thought of everything. Even the location where the short film should be shot and the complete manuscript, were already set and good to go.

Who did Steffen take as a director with him on this short film trip?

People like you and me. Different people, different life lines, whether man or woman, different characters and from different sections. From lawyers, senior teachers to the different engineers, students and schoolboys everybody is and was present.

Everybody has in common: "We are strong and a little bit crazy !"

Off it went in the first December week-end. Cars fully loaded with equipment drove into the direction of Heilbronn, in the South-West of Germany. Closing into the district of Hassmersheim, we saw for the first time the aforesaid location and it was really gigantic!

It actually is an old factory site which was in former time an a sulphur factory. It looked actually more like a ruin. Inside the whole magnitude became clear. The factory is ramshackle. The old distiller has gigantic holes in the places where once burner have been placed. The stairwell is partially equipped with wooden railing. In some spots the railing is completely absent. The building is high, more than high, the highest point of this factory is about 30 m. Smaller holes in the floor are meagerly covered with palettes or wire frames. Missteps were not allowed!

For people with fear of heights this is a pure adrenalin kick!

Gebäude

After digesting the first impressions we already heard voices from one of the upper floors and followed them. Klaus, Lara, Anna, Jakob and Steffen had arrived earlier and quite diligently practiced their "roping" technique. (One of the first scenes that should be shot. The Starship Troopers are rappeling from a troop transporter.)

Abseilmanöver

After a friendly greeting for Richy and me, the training went on cheerfully and Klaus our Technical Supporter of the IG Seilsport already set up the next rope training.

Such a factory building is predestined for actions for this kind of action.

Klaus gave exact instructions, like: how the rope has to be handled, how the equipment works and to use the correct security measures. All these important information were given to us during the training exercises. After a couple of dry runs in the building it continued with the real thing, through a window out of the building. We talk about 10 m!!!! in the dark with headlamp !! - It's crazy but it is cool.

"Put your hand on that wall trooper. PUT YOUR HAND ON THAT WALL!"

At 23:00 the first day ended and we all went to the medieval hostel. There were a few more snacks available, Steffen gave a short debriefing for the team and then everybody went to bed.

At 07:30 the night was over.

Yes, it was seriously that early, nobody had however slept enough but the show had to and should go on. After a breakfast with coffee, eggs, sausage and much more we all went again to the former sulphur factory. There our Supporter Klaus already expected us.

At this morning other measures were carried out that we needed to do the Starship Troopers German Divison short film. In the meantime, Jörg the last Trooper arrived and the weapons were checked, helmets were adapted, film equipment (action cam, steady cam, camera, light reflector, microphones etc.) unpacked and positioned.

"One day someone like me is gonna kill you and your whole fucking race!?"

Every single one worked concentrated and carefully when suddenly Scotty Stahl came through the door! He is known as the "famous" movie-police officer "Holger Lange, Polizeihauptkommissar" (German equivilent for a Chief Inspector) and actor in the RTL TV-police series "Blaulichtreport".

When the boot camp instructor of the TIGERLAND ACTION FORCE entered the foyer one of the troopers saluted and reported the trooper to him. Everybody stood still when he welcomed the group with a with his loud voice.

Scotty had two tasks during this movie shot:

  1. Acting as "Commander Schröder"
  2. Working as "Actor's co-ordinator", meaning the person in charge of structuring the action and to ensure that the other actors were properly prepared and to eliminate "nonsense".


Because most actors knew him from him most from his boot camps (only Richy and Anna not), it was obviously no problem at all to do the whole film shot in a militarily organised way. Scotty's presence enforced the "event character" to everybody. Scotty, working since a couple of years in front of a camera and was the only "professional". For Steffen it was very important that nobody had the feeling to be used, especially since everybody volunteered and no money was paid.

In addion Scotty as an Infantry Colonel is a military expert which you can also see on his website Tigerland Action Force

In terms of military knowledge we also had the advantage of having Jakob, Richy and Steffen on the set who also served their time in the military. In addition there was Jörg who did not serve but is very interested in the subject and therefore gained a lot of knowledge in this area.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself. Welcome to the Roughnecks!."

Bootcamp Instructor

The first moments on a film set are like a blurred shot. People run through the picture, everybody stands in the wrong spot, the microphone is not working correct and nobody actually knows exactly what to do. Hence, it was essential to follow the instructions of the director. He directs and he is the spider in the net who pulles the strings. The screenplay is the "bible" that has to be folloed.

Different scenes had to be shot during this week-end. Preparations had to be done several times including technical installations and several dry runs. With the lighting certain rules had to be considered, because different lighting conditions for the different shots had to fit.

The positioning of the Troopers had to be fixed meticulously. Every shot had to be arranged before and be rehearsed. The sound had to be correct and all this went on scene after scene. This meant sweating despite of the icy cold. Only then you could here form the driector: "camera rolling, sound running - action!"

The whole team and equipment went completely up in the building and for another scene downwards again. Some scenes had to be done more than once. The breaks in between gave everybody at least the chance to gain strength again.

"Remember your training, and you will make it out alive!"

After a long week-end almost all scenes were done and we all could look back tiredly and exhausted on successful work. A few more shootings will be done in other locations. Where and how is not certain yet. The main part for sure was done here in Hassmersheim.

Trooper Krause is watching you!

When everything will be completed and will reach the final stage, the work for Steffen our director will start again: checking the raw material, setting the sound, do the cutting and than step by step create the short movie.

Our conclusion: this week-end event has offered us the possibility to exchange with the other participants and to gain new perceptions. It was a great experience, a great team. Exhausting, however, incredibly productive with a high "fun factor". We are very much looking forward to the next and upcoming exciting shootings.

Pleases You about the next Blogentry!


"All right. SPREAD OUT! Fire Teams, you see a bug hole, NUKE IT!"

Written by: Elke Brandl