Oh No! Reenactments

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When I first heard we were going to shoot reenactments of childhood stories, I panicked. Even the most talented filmmakers can easily fall into the sandpit of cliché and cheesiness that tends to plague these realistic do-overs. The fact that we were going to shoot childhood stories from the 1940’s made it even more daunting.

Charlene and I spent a good deal of time watching examples of what we didn’t like. Then, we spent time analyzing the stories for themes that we hoped to visualize. We dug into those emotional beats and attempted to translate them into draft after draft of storyboards. We devised a combination of wide shots paired with fluid, abstract close-ups to create an objective and informative visual landscape that was accented with personal, evocative moments.

One of the more difficult camera moves involved a counterbalance shot that arcs around the main subject’s face as she turns in the opposite direction. Within the first few hours of the shoot, the jib we depended on to execute this complex move broke. In that moment, Charlene and I pulled together to overcome the gaps between our skill sets and gelled as a directing team.

She worked in some wonderful handheld camera moves, and I directed the action and the frame to take advantage of those technical choices. Through that symbiosis and the help of an innovative, dedicated crew, we were able to capture some of those rare, powerful on-camera moments that nerds like us live for.

-Carrie Schrader, Writer/Director