Executive Producer of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, Martin Österdahl once again discusses some of the ideas that he and his asteemed production team are toying with at the moment, including the use of just one presenter, being "organic", and using a narrative to spice up the competition and unite the millions of viewers all over Europe and indeed the World.
He also talks about the possibility of there not being a slogan next year, like in previous years. You all remember "Light Your Fire" from Baku, "Feel Your Heart Beat" from Düsseldorf and "Share The Moment" from Oslo, right? Martin Österdahl believes that this may not fit into the concept for next year's show in Malmö.
Presenting the show "organically"
"Organic" is what Loreen said when she was asked to describe Sweden at the Winners Press Conference after her victory in Baku. Now Martin Österdahl can see potential to use this word to develop the show further.
"We are going to try and build up a more organic story through the program. A large part of it lies in how we work with the presenter and that the roll gives a different impression and connects the various elements of the show in a better way”, he says.
"You can play with the shapes and fade out the edges by adding the presenter to other parts of the show. This could involve the person appearing in pre-recorded sections, maybe even in the postcards, so that it feels like a natural transition between the efforts of the presenter and the other elements”.
"It’s also about how you take advantage of the opportunities for producing pre-recorded material and how you connect the various parts of the program into a natural flow and a better dramatisation”, he says.
Loreen at the winner's press conference in Baku, where she described Sweden as "organic". Photo: Elke Roels (EBU).
Simpler with one presenter
Connected to this are plans to revert back to the age old tradition of just having one presenter. Martin Österdahl believes that there is a similar problem at the Eurovision Song Contest to the Oscars. There a single presenter like Billy Crystal has been used.
"They need to prepare a lot with a lot of rehearsing. There, success has been achieved by allowing the person the space required in order to put a personal stamp on the program. If you are three in a program like this, then it becomes much harder”, he says.
Slogan not a certainty
The question about whether Sweden should create a cohesive theme, formulated into a specific motto or slogan has been raised during the initial planning. All organisers apart from Moscow have had this in the past few years.
“Many have done this very well. “Share the Moment” from Oslo in 2010 is an example”, says Martin Österdahl.
We have already looked at the four core values that will consummate the work and have a function that resembles a theme. But Martin Österdahl is not sure that Sweden will have any slogan.
“Maybe ultimately we will create a theme like «Share the Moment» but that is not a certainty. It is a bit of an impossible task to find a new (slogan) that is brilliant every year and that is not just a rewriting of something else”, he says.
The "Share The Moment" theme used by NRK for the Oslo 2010 contest. Martin Österdahl highlights this as a good example of a slogan.
Narrative to inject life into the competition
At the heart of the Swedish project with the Eurovision Song Contest are the same ideas that were developed when the competition was founded: to create cultural understanding, reduce distances and highlight every person as being equal. The Eurovision idea is invaluable to a TV producer, and offers the program a potential that has not been taken advantage of in previous years, believes Martin Österdahl.
“Maybe it sounds very pretentious when we talk about it in this way but the truth of the matter is that we also need to achieve a dynamic in the narrative between the joyousness and seriousness of this program. Good humour often has a depth”.
"In all seriousness I believe that it is this dynamic that enables (the show) to really have an impact. The thing that makes you think that this is not just the world’s funniest and coolest show, is also feeling that it is actually exciting and in fact quite important; that it matters and that what we are doing has a meaning and a sense of worth”
A uniting power
Martin Österdahl hopes that by Sweden using the founding values of the Eurovision Song Contest in the narrative, that the program will reach new heights.
"We believe that there is a lot of value in people across Europe all sitting down at the same time and experiencing the same thing and enjoying the same thing. We believe that it builds an identity, a sense of community and solidarity”.
“There are important elements but this is also something that we can take advantage of in order to create something very big and fun. Usually when talking about international television, we say that everyone is united through catastrophes. We also want to achieve this effect through enjoyment”.
We will continue our journey shortly with a closer look at some of the more technical aspects of the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place in Malmö Sweden on the 14th, 16th and 18th of May.
Thanks to Gustav Dahlander from SVT for providing the above information. Translation provided by Simon Storvik-Green (EBU).