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RESHOOTS – The Good, The Bad And The Necessary


RESHOOTS – it’s the dirty shameful word in the film business. A sign of incompetency for not getting it right the first time, correct?

Before we continue, most of the time, they’re not reshoots. They’re “additional shooting” which will add more to the story and ultimately contribute to the films success. Is that so bad? Rumor has it Woody Allen budgets for reshoots (additional shooting) redoing whole sequences. His five Academy Awards must prove he is doing something right.

Reshooting not a bad thing and should be regarded as part of the the filmmaking process. There have been many famous reshoots. Parts of JAWS were reshot in the swimming pool of film executive’s house. FATAL ATTRACTION altered much of the last sequence of the film. The producers and director changed the ending from a more fatalistic approach to something much more dynamic, exciting and eventually satisfying for the audience. Most recently WORLD WAR Z virtually replaced the entire third act – turning it into one of the biggest hits of the past summer.

Many people look at the act of reshooting as going backwards – or trying to put a Band-aid on something that’s broken. Or taking a mulligan, completely breaking the rules to forgive and forget a botched shot. It’s the opposite in fact. It’s enhancing your project with a better insight into what the film is and what the film needs. It’s one of those rare chances in life where you get to reflect on where you are – take a step to the side and possibly even change course to make something better.

In day to day life, too often we don’t allow ourselves to take that step aside and assess what our goals are – what we’ve built and could do better by being reflective and willing to repair something that isn’t working. When we’re in production, we fire headlong like a freight train on a single track with no ability to look back and see where we came from and little time to make a change in course.

That ability to be reflective, to take in the whole picture and dissect it into the parts that have made the whole is an essential part of filmmaking. That chance to change those parts, polish them up a bit – or re-evaluate what is necessary and what is not, and being bold enough to make a change is basically the act of reshooting.

It should be part of our overall process in production and in life – not being afraid to realize where something isn’t working – where something could be better – taking the time to reassess and having the courage to change the path you are on. Because that’s where the magic may lie – in what sometimes is the unexpected.

So when you’re preparing to shoot your film, whether it’s a short or full length feature, always set aside days and money for reshoots. Just assume that during production, the director will discover a new creative direction that will ultimately help the film.

As seen on

woody allen


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