This is a re-post originally posted on The Specimen film blog. For those new to this blog, you may not have discovered the Specimen yet, but could also benefit from this post.
If you’ve been following the production on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll have noticed by now that we did some additional shooting this past weekend. I’ve referred to this shoot as “Pickup Shots” because the term “re-shoot” has a negative connotation that there’s something wrong.
The reality is, that pickup shots and re-shoots are a fairly common and routine aspect of film-making. Film-making can be very stressful and no matter how well you prepare, no one can think of everything. As you edit your film together you inevitably find moments you wish you had done another take of, or wish you had shot this angle, or that insert, but hadn’t thought of it on the day as you were trying to make schedule. Many directors like James Cameron and Peter Jackson are well-known for re-shooting entire scenes, months after principal photography once a first cut of a film is complete. In “Woody Allen on Woody Allen” he states:
“Usually I re-shoot weeks and weeks and weeks. You know sometimes a month of re-shoots.” – Woody Allen
So I didn’t feel bad, when I started to make arrangements for the pickup shoot. Having completed a first cut of the film, I was able to focus precisely on the shots required and knew exactly what I needed and how long each shot would end up on screen. That made the shoot go very smoothly and as shocking as this sounds… on schedule!
We did the shoot with a skeleton crew comprised of our Gaffer Jeff Porter, Sound Recordist, JK Koepfli, an extra set of hands from Drew MacDonald, actors John Dunne and Brian Pope, and finally myself doubling as camera operator. (Our DP Geoff Knight was unavailable on a paid shoot. Can’t begrudge him for that.) The shots came out great and were very beneficial to the current cut of the Specimen.
The bottom line is don’t be afraid to re-shoot if you need to. You only get one shot at completing your film your way. Once you release it, it’s out there and there’s not a lot you can do about it. Before then however, you have the power to do what’s necessary to ensure your vision comes to life. Do what you have to do to make that happen.