To date I've attended for the purpose of filming, four weddings and I must say that I find them rather enjoyable for a couple of reasons. Filming a wedding is a very special day for two people, although many men would argue more for their wife than for them however since their wife is the most important thing to them, the video is equally as important to them.
I find filming a wedding quite the challenge, but in a good way. I remember at my first wedding the photographer on the day asked if I was nervous to which I replied "no". Strangely I wasn't nervous. I was there and I needed to capture certain shots and sequences in order to be able to tell a story, albeit I was just there to capture the wedding on film, not edit it.
The subsequent three weddings went smoother in that I was a bit more focussed as to what to film as well as allowing myself to be directed to what the director wanted. In all cases, I was left to my own devices, but needed some guidance.
After the last wedding, I wanted to shoot more weddings, however I wanted to be in control of the story. I wanted to get to know the clients a little in order to have a feel for what I need to shoot, the shots needed to tell the story. But not just the shots needed, shot in such a way as to align with the personality of the couple.
Thus "The Wedding Story Factory" was born which you can visit here. A side business venture focused on cinematic wedding videography. It came a bit by chance as I was playing around with the name "umfanjana Films" and the idea of keeping the wedding videography focused on wedding videos. ''umfanjana Films" didn't really lean towards wedding videos, and besides, the name is really just a means for me to express and showcase my personal and commissioned work as a filmmaker.
Yes I know, shooting wedding films falls under than mantle, however when you want to market yourself as a wedding videographer, you have to do just that, market yourself. With that you can align your marketing with an image you want to create in the prospective clients mind. The Wedding Story Factory creates a certain feel to it, although as a dear friend of mind pointed out when she saw my logo "the word factory isn't really something a girl wants associated with her wedding day."
Fair words, however after much pondering, I decided to stick with the name. I tend to be like that when it comes to things associated with my personality, I really just stick with my guns. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, especially considering my goals in the video media industry, remains to be seen.
I've re-uploaded my two wedding video edits under the new name in a new Vimeo account. These two videos I'll remove after I have shot and additional four wedding the way I want them to be shot and put together.
The other thing I like about the challenge of a wedding is that it is a wonderful way of learning a great deal about filming and storytelling. You have, during the important bits, a few seconds to adjust your thinking in terms of how you will take the shot. You planned to walk here with the glidecam or stand there with the monopod, but when that moment comes, you have to be able to adapt considering the "extras" at the wedding isn't listening to you as a director, plus the photographer needs to be able to do their job without you yelling "CUT! CUT! CUT!"
The other challenge of wedding videos is that ultimately, how do you tell the same story in a unique way? A wedding is a wedding is a wedding, but why is it that most weddings that you've attended, still had something special about them? Many factors includes the fact you know the bride; maybe the decor; maybe the theme. Ultimately it is a combination of all of this and the way the wedding was planned by the couple. Their personality is in the agenda and the wedding itself. It is difficult not to inadvertently put a stamp of your personality into something you create, I can attest it even happens in market research analysis. Capturing the couples' personality and telling that story is the challenge I find exciting.
You can, as I've seen many videos do, just capture the event docu-style and make it black and white, or like the one video, 5 minutes of slowmo; you could shoot a lot of decor, choose soppy music, state that all videos are like this. Or...you could get to know the couple a bit, the theme, the wedding personality and mix it all together and tell the their story. Camera movements based on their story. Lens options based on their story. The list goes on. It is a challenge. It is difficult. It is fulfilling.
All this helps me to grow as a filmmaker. I've heard and read it quite a couple of times that if you can shoot wedding videos without mistakes and have each video align with the story of the couple and their personality, even when they "are the same" in a broad sense, you can tell any story.
Time will tell, but for now, I am super excited for my next wedding shoot, the first for The Wedding Story Factory, the first where I am producer, director, cameraman and editor. I am excited to tell a unique story.
I have to add that as of writing this, I have just completed my website, received my business cards, and hope to create some contacts this weekend at the Port Elizabeth Bridal Fair. Will let you know how it went next time when I get on my soapbox.
P.S. I read a short story the other night which I am dying to tell you, but I need to adapt it to screen, and as such, it is still brooding in the back of my mind.