The 13th Junior Eurovision Song Contest (JESC), which takes place in Sofia on Saturday night (21 November), is a huge production bringing together staff from BNT (Bulgarian National Television) and an international team. Many have worked on the event before. Three of the key creatives told us what makes JESC a show that stands out from others.
Christian Biondani is the Multicamera Director. This is his second JESC – he was also in Malta last year. Christian has worked on TV series, documentaries and the MTV Europe Music awards but JESC is one of his favourite shows, because, he says: “You work with children and when you see the children all singing together you think that the future can be a good one.”
“Technically it’s very difficult. You have to script all the single shots for a 3 hour show. But it’s super fun to do. The crew’s great and it’s very international. I have people from all over Europe in my crew, from Bulgaria, the UK, Italy, Ukraine. It’s like a big mix of things that we shake together and something wonderful comes out the other end”.
The LED screen content is created by Nick Clark-Lowes and his team from NCL Editor based in London. They also created the screen content for JESC in Malta. So how do the song contests compare to their normal work?
“When I first got into the song contest production I didn’t realize the scale of it. I underestimated it,” Nick explains. “But when I got to Malta, I realized production-wise it’s one of the biggest shows we’ve ever worked on. We’ve done festivals and Rock in Rio. We’ve worked with Jessie J for a long time and I’m just about to do Duran Duran’s new world tour, but this is a much bigger show.”
“It’s so different from what we normally do. I like the process,” Nick continued. “I like the way the contestants go on stage, and then into the viewing room to discuss changes. And I like the fact that this is for TV and cameras and so we have to develop things differently. This is different from a rock and roll show where we design for the audience in the arena. But our work here has to work for people in the arena as well as for those watching at home so it’s challenging.”
Robert Currie also from NCL Editor works on the team, and is impressed at the amount of thought that has gone into not just the design but also how to develop the brand: “The set design and the way the LEDs are being used are as creative as I’ve seen. I also like the concept of integrating the sense of the logo in the rings of the set, developing the brand.”
This year JESC aims to be very different from what we have seen before.
“The aim is to keep surprising the audience,” Gordon Bonello, the Show Director explains.
“The theme #discover for this year’s contest inspired me to combine different styles of dances, special effects and lighting. The performances will take us into an eclectic blend of musical styles, which range from classical music and dance through beatbox and traditional Bulgarian music to electro, dubstep and trap music. The change of style from previous Junior Eurovision contests comes with a specific goal: to attract a more teenage-orientated audience.”
The 13th Junior Eurovision Song Contest will be aired live in the 17 participating countries at 1930 CET on Saturday 21 November and online at junioreurovision.tv