I know, the term “Wedding Filmmaking” might illicit images of your father or uncle taking video of a wedding to save them for your home movie archive. Can there really be an entire industry dedicated to filming and creating some form of narrative around weddings of all things? Well, yeah, there is. I was in the exact same boat of disbelief until very recently, simply believing that you would either hire the company providing the entertainment to film the Wedding, or you would just film it yourself. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After securing an internships at “MV Films” a couple of months ago, I was thrown right into the chaotic, fast paced and stressful world of Wedding Filmmaking.
To start, I think it is important to define what exactly “Wedding Filmmaking” is. In essence, it is a feature film length documentary that covers all aspects of a couples wedding day. Starting with the process of the bride and groom getting dressed, to the ceremony, to the reception, they are expected to capture all of these elements on the fly. It doesn’t stop there, however, as Wedding Filmmakers are also expected to edit their product as well. In addition, they are responsible for creating the films in a limited amount of time (usually 2-3 weeks) and personally ensuring the product is up to the couples standards before finally securing payment.
It would not be a stretch to compare them to a hollywood film crew, as they fulfil similar roles to the director, editor and producer. All on their own. In less time. For far less money. This job requires an immense amount of skill and endurance to truly excel, so it only makes sense for me; an unpaid student with no experience in the field, to do an Internship with a local Wedding Filmmaker.
Does that sound dumb and nonsensical? That’s because it is. I was recommended to a production company called “MV Films” for an internship by a family friend and innocently assumed that I would become something akin to a Production Assistant. I was over the moon with excitement and assumed that I would primarily be doing video editing, with only light filming on the side. I cannot begin to overstate just how off base this assumption was. My very first day on the job, after meeting with my coordinator (Matt) consisted of a 14 hour video shoot. We began at the house of the bride, spent 3 hours filming the makeup process, 2 hours at the church, 1 hour filming in a park and the last 6 hours at the venue. Mixed in with all of this mess was an additional 2 hours of driving.
To say that this was one of the most chaotic, exhausting days of my life would be an absolute understatement. I am an insomniac, have been since I was about 8 and rarely get more than 6 hours of sleep on a good day. After this day of shooting, however, I immediately collapsed on my bed at midnight and did not wake up until 1:00 P.M.. A full 13 of hours of sleep is what my body needed to recover to a state that it saw fit to actually begin moving again. This is by far the easiest shoot I’ve had as an assistant Wedding Film maker.
Contrary to what you might might be thinking, this post is not a giant salt fest, venting session. Instead, I want to truly get across just how, despite its relative obscurity, difficult and time intensive a profession Wedding Filmmaking is. My perspective on this subject is fairly unique, as I am learning all of it’s many requirements on the job and in the field. As such, I feel confident in saying that Wedding Filmmaking is an amazing “Trial by Fire” type exercise for anyone who has aspirations of going into a career that involves shooting any form of video. It combines the meticulous shot composition seen in hollywood films, with the split second timing seen in more hard news stories. It’s not hard to see why I had never heard of Wedding Filmmaking before, there are just a very small number of people who are not only willing to actually put in all the effort, but do it well.
As I am nearing the end of my internship, I can firmly say that this is not a career I am terribly interested in pursuing. There are simply too many skills required for far too little pay off in my opinion, both from a monetary perspective, as well as one of personal satisfaction. It is for these reasons, however, that I find Wedding Filmmakers all the more admirable and believe they deserve to be more well known. They are truly jacks-of-all-trades and are able to execute every aspect of their profession on an incredibly high level. Despite that, they are virtually unknown and even when describing them, their job description does nothing to convey how truly difficult and occupation it is. I hope that this post has at least shed a bit of light on how impressive they truly are at their careers and why they truly deserve acknowledgement. Or who knows, maybe you laughed at me being a big dumb and getting in over my head. Either works. Thanks for reading. Again.