Making it happen

The Hawkinsian approach to filmmaking has previously been quite relaxed. However, My DDR T-Shirt has taken Hawkinsian Productions to a new level.

Unlike previous projects, it has not been so easy to shoot. Filming was mainly done in one six day trip to Berlin. Even this humble undertaking stretched Hawkinsian coffers to the limit so we wanted to film everything necessary to make a film in this one visit. In other words, the complete, ready-to-edit film had to come back in the suitcase with us.

To do this, we carefully scheduled our time and separated each day into morning, afternoon and evening slots (though we can’t claim responsibility for these concepts entirely). We had a full schedule of filled slots by the time we arrived in Berlin.

Even with this meticulous planning, the single trip project wasn’t quite feasible. About 80% of the finished film came back in the suitcase but the other 20% came from two other trips (one by Ian, one by his nephew), two interviews in the UK and some achive footage.

Previously, every aspect of Hawkinsian Productions has been done by Ian Hawkins. My DDR T-Shirt is the first project to enlist outside help. Philip Wynn joined Ian in Berlin to make the first ever Hawkinsian two-man crew. On one day we also enlisted the help of Henning Krull for translation services – the first ever three-man crew.

Making contacts

Right from the start, Ian had a couple of ‘second-hand’ contacts in Berlin. Most of these came in handy during the preparation for the trip. However, the most useful contacts were made completely from scratch.

Skype proved to be a seriously useful facility during the planning of My DDR T-Shirt. We were able to search for English speaking Skype users in Berlin. Admittedly, we had to put the time in to do it, and hit a few dead-ends along the way, but it was certainly worth it. Most of the scheduled interviews were arranged in this way.

Hawkinsian Productions owe enormous thanks (and probably some kind of salary) to Sven Kubala. Sven has been an advisor, researcher, interview arranger, document translator and all-round project supporter. Nobody has done more to turn the initial idea into a actual arrangements. Vielen dank, Sven.

Alongside Skype, we have done some good old-fashioned research. This included lots of reading, googling, emailing and thinking. Contacts are great, but a simple email to a museum can be productive too.