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  • « Annie Goes to College Everybody Loves Saturday Nights… »

    New Jersey, 1894

    April 15th, 2007 by Spokeswoman

    After a long drive up the NJ turnpike and a few Fresh Air podcasts, Team Londonderry traveled to Verona, NJ to reunite with old friends and reenact 1894. Gary (Cpt of the NJ Wheelmen and Back in Bloomers veteran) and Elaine Sanderson hosted Team Londonderry (Meghan, Mike, and Gillian) at their home in Verona on our very busy, cold, but wildy successful shooting weekend. We added a new member to the Team, Kitama Jackson from NYC, who acted as our PA/Grip on the shoot. He did a fantastic job and we were very lucky to have worked with him.

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    Team Londonderry: Meg, Mike, Gilian, Kitama

    The goal was to film short moments on Annie’s ride, while also filming as much scenic b-roll as possible. Because of Meghan’s mass of curls (and also for her pluck!), she was elected to star as **Annie** during the weekend’s shoot. This meant donning lace-up boots, bloomers, and other Victorian garb, and braving the cold winds of this chilly April weekend!

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    Meghan pulling on the new boots; Annie savoring a warm moment in the car

    Gary is an antique cycling enthusiast and he has an impressive collection of 200 bikes, including versions from all “generations,” like the early French velocopides, to the elegant-looking high wheels, to the safeties. He has 4-person tandems, male and female hand-powered tricycles, baby bicycles, and even antique bikes for the disabled.Gary was generous enough to let us borrow his bikes for our shoot, and patient enough to accompany us on both of the very long shooting days, as both an “actor” and sometimes as an ancillary director.

    Re-creating the look of Annie is no easy task, but we got very lucky because Elaine, Gary’s wife, happened to have a navy riding suit, consisting of a period blazer and long, heavy skirt, as well as matching bloomers. This allowed us to show Annie both before and after her trasnformation into “The New Woman.”

    On Saturday we filmed “pre-Chicago Annie.” When Annie left Boston, she wore a women’s riding suit, with a long skirt that proved cumbersome to cycle in and far too hot for the summer. She also began her ride on a black Columbia bicycle that weighed about 47-pounds. Now, if you’re ever ridden a fixed-gear bike, you’ll know that it feels a little funny at first, particularly after being used to slick, light-weight road bikes with 20+ gears. It took Meghan a litle while to get the hang of riding this heavy bike in the long skirt, particulary on tough terrain like mud and damp grass. But capturing her struggle on film only made the reenactments better because these were exactly the issues that Annie had in the first few weeks of her ride.

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    Meghan affixing the “Londonderry” placard to the bike

    When Annie reached Chicago, she was physically spent and likely would have thrown in the towel, had she not discovered bloomers and her 27 pound Sterling bike. On Day 2 of our shoot, Meghan switched from her long skirt to bloomers, and from the heavy Columbia safety bike to a much lighter men’s Sterling bike. (Ok….that’s a white lie. The bike we used wasn’t really a Sterling, and it’s also not really white… it’s amazing what a roll of hockey tape and a little creativity can do!) But, in true Annie fashion, Meghan’s warddrobe change from skirt to bloomers completely changed the ease with which she rode, and the lighter bike made it much easier for her to get around. This shoot gave us an even greater appreciation for Annie’s determination and endurance.

    We spent Saturday in the Verona area, shooting both outdoors and in Gary’s basement. Sunday was spent in Frenchtown, NJ. and at Gary’s son’s farm in Flemington. The farm was a REAL farm, with an old red farm house, chickens, sheep, and even a llama! The property allowed us to get some very diverse shots, because of the stream, the stone walls, the 200+ year old barn, and a 300+ year old burned down tavern. We even came across a grove of bamboo…..Next stop- China?

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