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Getting Re-enactments Right

Madeline Gagne portrays Jason Bull’s daughter.

Madeline Gagne portrays Jason Bull’s daughter.

Mary Rathke
Columbus Neighborhoods: Clitonville producer

When you shoot re-enactments, there are a million things going on at once.

The actors are getting ready, the camera guys are setting up, the techs are positioning lights. And I’m trying to see it all, all at once, to make sure the right camera angle with the right light, with the right actor tells the right story.

It’s overwhelming sometimes.  But it all comes down to fundamentals.

Is the scene in day or night?  Is the costume not only appropriate to the time, but to the character?

Then, how can the story be told in action and faces instead of dialogue?  A million decisions made one at a time. Then, just when everything goes wonderfully right, you notice something in the corner.

It’s a 21st Century water bottle sitting in an 1800s set. Oops.

Through the magic of editing and animation, you won’t see the water bottle we mistakenly left in a few scenes.  We tell ourselves that it happens to the best of the bunch, that surely Martin Scorsese messed up too.  But since we don’t have the fancy editing tools that Scorsese can afford, we worry that we can’t cover our mistakes as easily as he can.

But this time we pulled it off.

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