Monday, January 21, 2008

Are You Ready For Your Close-Up?

As an event planner, I am always on the lookout for creative people who are able to bring my clients' vision to life. So you can imagine my excitement when I received a wedding movie from Bill Gaff of humanstory. His work is so unlike the average wedding video, humanstory's films are more like documentaries of your love story which definitely makes him Gold List worthy. I had the opportunity to speak with Bill about his work recently. Dear Readers, I have the pleasure of presenting a wonderful film maker, Bill Gaff of humanstory.

Please tell us a bit about your services and how you got started
in the industry.

Humanstory creates custom wedding films. These film runs about an
hour in length depending on the needs of the story. We combine footage shot at the wedding with interviews of the couple and potentially their families and friends. The interviews are a great way to tell the story. They add context and emotion to the visuals from the wedding day.

There is no question that when dad sees his daughter in her dress for
the first time, it is an emotional moment. However, if you add to
that the daughter talking about how dad used to work fourteen hour
days to pay for her ballet lessons, well... you know what I mean.
Beautiful, honest stories.

Before getting into the wedding industry, I was in the film and video
industry in other areas such as documentary films, television
advertising and corporate and non-profit films. I originally wanted
to make family biography films and quickly discovered that weddings
were the perfect setting for this type of storytelling. I was ready
to move into this kind of work. It's good for the soul.

How soon should couples being looking for your services?
I think most people book wedding video 8 to 12 months out. There
are always some exceptions. The more time you have available, the
more you can research your options and choose the videographer that
fits your personality and your style. There is a limited number of
weddings each videographer can work and popular dates go early.

What questions should they ask?
Ask to see the work preferably a recent video in it's entirely.
The main thing is to determine if the work and the videographers
personality is a good match for you. I would recommend deciding what you want in a wedding film and having the videographer write up a custom proposal based on that. You can always add or remove things to make it work in your budget.

There are many different videographers with different types of
talent to offer. Find out where the true talents and interests are
with each videographer you interview and see if they are right for
your wedding film.

Please give us an overview of the movie-making process. How is the theme developed?
The three steps in filmmaking are planning, shooting and editing.
The success of each step depends on the success of the one before
it. I usually plan shots and write out interview questions ahead of
time. During the event I try to look for the subtle moments that
often can tell the best story.
In post-production, I watch all of
the footage, which can amount to 7-10 hours worth and begin to build
the narrative.

I try to have a rough idea of the theme based on my initial meetings
with the couple so I can look for moments that support that on the
day of the wedding. Sometimes, however, the story shows itself on
the wedding day or even later during the editing process. I try to
be on the lookout for story at each stage and be sensitive to
different kinds of stories that emerge.

The interview really helps me to understand what is really important
to the couple
. For example, last year I was interviewing a couple
several days before the wedding. During the interview I was asking
them about which family members were attending. The bride went
through the list of people describing all the funny and loving
details of each family member. Once, she got to the topic of her
grandmother, she stopped for a moment, and I noticed her fiance turn
and looked knowingly at her when she teared up. It turns out that
her grandmother had been the most influential person in her life and
had almost raised her because her mother worked full time. However,
because of her grandmother’s age, the bride was never 100% positive
her grandmother would be able to attend the wedding. Fortunately, not only was Grandma there on the wedding day, but I was also able to interview her and got plenty of footage of the two of them together.

I put a phrase on my website "These are the stories worth telling"
and I really believe it. In many cases, this is the only opportunity these families might have to tell them. I really love being a part of that.

How much time do you need to spend with the couples and their
families/friends when making a wedding film?

Most of my time and effort is devoted to finding the couples story, a
process that actually begins at the initial meeting before the client
has even booked. Once they book, the couple fills out a questionnaire which gives me their background information and plans for the day. Then we meet and talk more about their families and their stories. Throughout this process I am looking for a theme for their film. Most interviews take 1 or 2 hours. When I shoot day of interviews
I usually try to keep them to about 10 or 15 minutes for each interview. Editing usually involves about 40 to 60 hours of work.

*Images courtesy of humanstory

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin