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The so-called backstage. We all miss the great tournaments, the emotions, the happiness of meeting and dueling. In autumn last year, a year that was dictated by the virus, I kept catching myself going back to fantastic Rumia, to the hall, to the backstage, to our consultations, meals, work and meetings. I come back “my” famous “apartment by the elevator”, famous for... having no windows but being close to everywhere. ()

I'm waiting to meet everyone who participates in Zloty Tour again. Sportsmen, trainers, referees and people in “CREW” shirts, staff members. Today is about them, in particular about one of them.

Marcin Mielniczuk, every one of you knows him. At tournaments many of you direct your questions to him:

Marcin, when do the competitions start? Marcin, when do they end, when is the break? Marcin, where is the verification? Marcin, where will the congress take place, where are the referees, where is my dinner, breakfast, lunch, tableseat?

Marcin, do you have a pencil, a bandaid, a USB drive, a string, some paper, a pair of scissors?

I, myself, have asked Marcin about a few hundreds of these questions over the past years. I'm sorry, Marcin, but this isn't the end...

How did this evolve? “This” being the magnitude of armwrestling gigs organized by the Mazurenko Promotion crew... Let's start from pre-history! Once upon a time, during one of the first international competitions we had to hang a sponsor's banner. We didn't have a... string. We borrowed the string but we didn't have a knife to cut it. We borrowed a knife from a nearby bar. This is pre-history. It really was like that some time ago. Now we have everything that we need. And the one who provides us with it is Marcin. He coordinates the entirety of the event, from the project, through realization, to cleaning up all this “mess”. I can tell you what it looks like at Zloty Tur organized unchangably in hospitable Rumia. A regular sports hall suddenly changes into a beautiful facility. You can see it by yourself, here's a video.

Marcin, how are sports events held? You can tell us on the example of Zloty Tur, TOP 8 or other big competitions.

Marcin Mielniczuk: First, long before the competitions, the script is created. It has to include every “turning point” of the event. Just like a movie, a concert or a play script. Precisely, meaning with the accuracy of a second and a centimeter. While working on the script, the crew has to answer questions like: who will be where and when, how do they get there, what’s going to happen later, how to get them off and many, many more. Every sportsman, every trainer, the referee and the spectators are actors in our performance. We describe every “role” and every consecutive “scene” very thoroughfully. The opening – and questions: who’s going to give a speech, how long is it going to take, who’s going to take over next, when to give the music cue, what images to display? Then, usually, referee presentation, then finally categories start, eliminations and slowly towards the finals, award ceremony, anthems, acknowledgements. And as I said – second by second.

PeSzy: For now, everything is just “on paper”?

Marcin Mielniczuk: Yes. We think how to surprise our spectators this time, step by step.

What original, unorthodox element can we use? We’re talking about nuances in light, projections and other effects. Then it’s time for designing the stage design. We decide what the stage should look like, and everything around it. The elements are “solid”, ones that should be build like with building blocks. It includes what the spectators will see, what we’ll put on the screens, in the background, on the side screens, in other rooms. We also decide on how the cameras will work, where zooms will be held, where to lead them, how to distribute the lights.

In the meantime, the graphic designers work on visual elements. It includes everything: the main poster, small images for the Internet, tickets, IDs, lanyards, logos for files for media. The viewers have probably noticed that the color palette of all “visible” elements of the events is consistent and has some sort of set tone.

Some equally important elements are animation and music.

PeSzy: The event is getting closer, the script is ready, the stage is designed. What happens then?

Marcin Mielniczuk: Each team knows beforehand what they will need, they get themselves the “pieces” they will need and in a set order, the crew arrives at the location. Each team has a precise date and time.

PeSzy: Then a typical sports hall is transformed to a dream world. What is your role in the last few days before the event?

Marcin Mielniczuk: Taking Zloty Tur as an example – I’m in the hall a week early. I move into the object with all my gadgets and equipment. First we bring the “heavy” equipment. Containers with stage and light elements. “Spider-mans” appear in the hall (they’re people who are prepared for and authorized to work on high). They have to anchor the stage construction and the decoration elements so that they’re stable and safe. When we have a framework ready, other teams arrive. Television, sound engineers, other people too.

PeSzy: What’s your role on this stage?

Marcin Mielniczuk:Each team does their own, and I coordinate it. Slowly, every bit starts to come together to form a whole. During this time we also put together the computers to work the event, the performance and the transmission. The printers and several dozen computers, TVs, monitors and other equipment are set up at this stage.

PeSzy: The event is about to start. Do you get nervous?

Marcin Mielniczuk: I don’t. Everything is checked and verified multiple times beforehand. It has to work! You know, computer scientists are people that are… lazy, but hard-working too. We try to work hard before the show so that we can sit with a coffee and enjoy the show when it actually starts.

PeSzy: At the beginning of the interview I enumerated all the questions that people ask you before and during the competitions. How do you react to them?

Marcin Mielniczuk: Next question!

PeSzy: Thank you, I’ll call you in a week.

Marcin and PeSzy a few years ago. PeSzy thirty kilos ago.

Photo of the opening: Tomasz Wisniowski


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