There have been exactly 25 years since the first show… and “Stars’ School” is still present in dialogues, images, news, memories and in “I know you from somewhere”…
A group of young talented people brought a fresh approach in television and in the musical market of the ’90s.
At the time we did not know the term “talent show”. Titus Munteanu’s idea, inspired by an Italian show, was about a school where young people with artistic potential would learn from the vocal, choreographic and acting points of view in the best context – an entertainment show, on the public TV channel.
THE STUDENTS OF THE STARS’ SCHOOL
I was an editor working for this show and I remember how much we tried to find “students”. At the time, there were only a few Arts Schools. We would ask the composers, who used to recommend their students, we would go to music high-schools and we would convince people in the musical industry to send their sons and daughters for the casting. And the public television would announce castings that used to bring us most of the candidates, mainly from around the country.
I can still remember the masses of people at the gate of the Romanian Television headquarters… Hundreds of children together with their parents or teenagers who had come alone, eager to come in and demonstrate their talent.
We were permanently looking for new talents, so after each show broadcast, we would find one or two more “students”.
We have seen thousands of teenagers in castings, some very talented, other common, funny or… a bit crazy. But we have treated them all with respect.
We were looking for the “perfect package”, teenagers who had the potential to become complete stars.
STARS’ SCHOOL DURING FILMING
They used to call me “the headmistress of the Stars’ School”, which made me angry J)). I was an editor and host and during the tours we would take on our own, I used to be the “policewoman” of the Stars’ School…
I was present during all the phases of the production, which was a real school for me as a television person.
I worked in a very fine team and we did shows I am proud of even today!
As are the photos I made with my old camera, which I always had with me, using every free moment, to gather around all the gang for a group photo.
They are all amateur photos, but for us, the people involved, their value is far greater than the quality of the camera or the talent of the photographer…
Robots, engineers, sailors, cooks, monsters, firemen, outlaws, damsels, policemen and what else… The students of the Stars’ School could be anything during the shootings…
NEW YEAR’S EVE SHOW
The debut of the Stars’ School was the show filmed in December and aired on the ’94-’95 New Year’s Eve show. So 25 years ago!
From that moment, the requests started: more TV shows, stage shows, concerts, presences in different other productions. And even national tours.
All the crazy things that went on during the tours, in the trains, backstage at the concerts around the country – all these could be material for an entire book…
We went on to do, every year, a show for the New Year’s Eve program, playing without limits. And the audience pools had no limits either. It is shocking to see how many people watched the Stars’ School on New Year’s Eve in 1997. Even if you are not in the television business, I am sure you have heard about the audience measuring for the shows. At the time we had the huge percentage of… 85% share!!! Hahaha. It is shocking! (I know, at the time, the private channels were not as strong as they are today, but these numbers are really funny! I should put them in a frame J)).
We had recital moments at the greatest Music festivals at the time – The Golden Stag Festival and The Mamaia Festival. They were well thought shows, for which we worked our asses off…
Pop Music Festival – Mamaia ’95 – our first important stage show. Here, during rehearsals, in plain sun. And capture of a moment for the show.
Mamaia Music Festival ’96 – during rehearsals, great fun during Macarena J. And then trying to coordinate them all on a music mix in which each and every person had a precise role, counted to the last second…
STARS’ SCHOOLS IN PICTURES
I realize now that I made a lot of pictures with my amateur camera. Many of them are bad, but I kept them all, nevertheless…
Apart from these, I discovered in my archive, pictures form photo-shootings in which we were all together. The photo-shootings for the albums that were about to be made (Roton was the first one to make one) or meetings, like the one of the ProTV Magazine, the magazine that gathered us all (or the one who were around) for a reunion of the Stars’ School after 17 years.
We made albums with the Stars’ School, we received Golden Discs and many of the “students” of the Stars’ School got prizes in festivals – for singing and creation. And, the most important of them all, we won the First Prize at a very important television festival – Rose D’Or, Montreux – 1996.
STARS’ SCHOOL BACKSTAGE
We spent more time in TVR than we did in our homes… The control room, the make-up rooms, the costumes rooms, the workshops, the rehearsals rooms and the post-production rooms – there was no corner that we did not know better than we knew our own pockets.
It wasn’t easy. The “playing” on screen meant days of preparing, tens of hours of filming, sometimes injuring, damaged voices and the try to innovate during a time when the means were scarce.
filming from height, not from a professional crane as they do it now, but with the cameraman on a wooden ladder with all the cables and things that a steadicam had, in a truck used for changing the bulbs of the street lights…
When we were dead tired, there were always solutions, while “the others” were shooting…
We were a dog friendly team J))
Although access with animals was not allowed inside the TVR headquarters, we kept bringing street dogs inside… Or we would take care of some dogs from the places we went to for shooting.
THE YEARS HAVE PASSED…
Luckily we are not very far from one another… Many of us are still in the showbiz, we grew professionally and we work, I think, with the same passion as we did 25 years ago.
With the “headmistress”, things are simple: after being the editor of the show and getting a journalism degree, my way was a normal one – I became the producer of different entertainment shows. I was always fascinated by what happens behind the camera more than by what is in front of it. This does not mean that I don’t value the host experience, both in TVR and in Antena 1. (My experience as a Stars’ School host can be seen here).
WHAT HAPPENED WITH THE STUDENTS FROM THE STARS’ SCHOOL
Many of the students of the School are still in the music industry. You know Goia from Voltaj or Adi Despot from Vita de Vie. Or the Class group. Geambasu and Laurentiu developed events bands (Calin Gembasu Band and The Colours) and they are going all over the country. Malina Olinescu went on singing for some time.
Marius from Timisoara stayed in television as a host, but in a different type of shows. Now we kindly ask him to bring us luck in 6/49 lotto shows in TVR…
With some of them I have worked for years, as a producer… With Carmen – in production and with Lulu – as a musical director.
Nadine had many interesting projects and now she has her own show on TVR.
Diana Munteanu hosted different shows – the most recent ones on Antena1. I have to admit that I used her as an actress in Next Star moments and for New Year’s Eve shows and Mysteries Stage.
Lili Sandu is still in television. The most recent show was Ferma on ProTV.
Titi (UltraTT) is a super-director of mega-events! But he still sings.
Alice Bursuc has been for many years a health and beauty editor at Elle.
Madalina’s dream to become an actress became reality in Timisoara.
As well as Kitty’s – in Italy.
Mirela went on singing in Morocco, with her husband, a Moroccan star – Elam Jay!
Nicoleta is a psychologist in the US. Angelica… Simona… Ramona… Rares… Raluca… It is clear that we have to gather them all to get up to date…
What is clear to me now is that from the “headmistress” of the School, I could become the “grandmother” of the Stars’ School J)). I could make a show with the children of the students of the Stars’ Schools. They are now just a few… Wouldn’t it be grand???
STARS’ SCHOOL REUNION
Many of us are lucky because we meet for work, in television or in related fields…
We did not have a lot of time for parties. But any meeting is an opportunity to remember moments that make us happy…
Star’s School was a beautiful craziness! I am sure we all hold it very dear in our hearts.
21 years ago (!), we had a final show. Some kind of a “this is it, it’s over, we are too old for this”…
We laughed a lot during those shows, but emotion and tears were there too.
As an editor of the show, I went to the video archives and I chose for the graduation moment a lot of moments with the students of the School.
If you are part of our generation, or you watched “Stars’ School” when you were children, even if you were not even born when we were filming, but maybe your parents told you about the show, I invite you to see in less than 3 minutes, on the music of Calin Geambasu, some of the “travels” of the Stars’ School students…