What about a boring wedding where nothing happens? What if you show up and there's only the standard wedding prep, makeup, reception, etc.?
James Blankenfeld asked: I'd LOVE to shoot a wedding like Jess and Brian where there is so much going on. I've been stuck with boring weddings lately— and this was all before Muse, so maybe I just wasn't looking for the right things— but I've done a lot of weddings where nothing happens. I show up and it's just hair and make up, guys sleeping in until they wake up, shower and change, and then it's right to the ceremony, pictures, and into reception. There's no fly-fishing, no golf, nothing really that takes us away from the standard boring wedding prep. In that case, I've always shot the highlights and tried to lay out a story best I could. Has Stillmotion ever captured a wedding like this, where there really isn't anything outside the ordinary going on? If so, what do you recommend I do so that I don't fall into that "standard" wedding film, but can really make it a film like you produce?
If you look at any wedding, as an event, you're absolutely right. They seem boring. After all, the same thing happens every time—it starts with putting on makeup and drinking mimosas in the morning, it leads up to the ceremony where the bride walks down the aisle and they read their vows, it continues into the reception with the eating, the cake-cutting, the bouquet toss, and the night ends after dancing as the couple drives off together.
As an event, weddings can feel boring. But what isn't going to be boring, and what's actually going to differ from wedding to wedding, are the people.
That's why we place so much importance on getting to know people ahead of time and spending the extra effort in pre-production. If we hadn't gotten to know Jess and Brian, if we hadn't asked specific questions to understand their Big 3 Things, and figure out what was going on surrounding their day, then we would have ended up with an event just as you described. Instead of spending 6 hours to shoot the guys fly-fishing, we would have just showed up and gotten what the girls were doing at that time—putting on makeup and doing their hair. In fact, if we hadn't done our research in pre-production, we would have just showed up on the wedding day, and we would have completely missed all of the things happening outside of that day—that aren't interesting "just because", but are interesting because they say something about the people in this story.
There are two pieces of advice for you:
1. I really can't stress enough how much it starts at your first interaction with a couple. Before you even meet them. I'm talking again back to the Business Side of Story and taking the time to take down every "boring" wedding video you've ever made. Because if you continue to show the same samples of your work, you'll continue to attract more work like that: couples who don't care for a story.
2. Realize also that, even after you attract couples who align with your interests and vision as well, it's not going to change anything unless you take the time to get to know them in advance, and to really dig and ask questions. It's not enough to show up the day of and hope something is going on. Your bride and groom have a lot on their mind with the wedding, and they aren't the storytellers, so you can't expect them to know what's important to share with you or not. You're going to have to be the expert and ask the questions if you want to find the unexpected Places that demonstrate their Big 3 Things.