Wow, what a rush! Brianna and I are back from having attended Venture Workshop and our heads are spinning with what an amazing experience we each had. Inspiration, knowledge, fellowship. These are just a few of the keywords that come to mind as we both reflect on our time with the wedding filmmaking community that gathered in Denver, CO last week.
Read below for our top 5 takeaways from Venture 2019, and check out the bottom of the article for a list of helpful resources provided by a few of the speakers and sponsors from this year’s workshop.
1. Wedding Filmmaking = Bravery
By operating strictly within the post production process of wedding filmmaking, we’re only exposed to a fraction of a wedding filmmaker’s reality. At Venture Workshop, we had the opportunity to watch the masters at work as attendees emulated their instruction and put into practice their expert guidance. It was amazing and incredibly eye-opening for us to see just a fraction of what wedding filmmakers face when operating their business and exercising their craft.
Venture Workshop provided attendees with a well-rounded and balanced experience. On a technical level, White in Revery pulled the curtain back for attendees to see how they would shoot an outdoor ceremony at the Venture Workshop’s venue, Blanc. Filmmakers participating in this session filmed using a variety of gimbals, lenses, and camera bodies. White in Revery talked in-depth about how they would move around the space and transition between various positions based on different parts of the ceremony.
Later in the workshop, Forestry Films demonstrated their unique filmmaking techniques by guiding attendees through filming a couple’s “cinematic session” indoors. David showcased how he makes the couple comfortable in an otherwise unfamiliar environment, and how different elements he introduces build an authentic filmmaking experience.
It’s quite common that wedding videographers incorporate corporate projects into their portfolio. Both Seth Dunlap and Jay Worsley spoke and demonstrated to attendees how they could utilize their wedding filmmaking skillset in the diverse landscape of commercial filmmaking.
All that to say, most of those sessions focused exclusively on the technical aspect of shooting a wedding or commercial project. Venture Workshop brought in speakers to discuss a variety of other pain points filmmakers experience on a daily basis outside of capturing a wedding. From Colleen Bezich’s keynote on best legal considerations, to Matt Johnson’s presentation on relationally engaging couples and clients, to Jordan Bunch’s guidance on team building, there are tons of topics wedding filmmakers need to consider in order to see success with their business.
While there’s no shortage of challenges wedding filmmakers face in their business, Venture Workshop’s all-star line up of speakers gave hope and field-tested counsel to all in attendance.
2. WOrkshops are a game changer
In the post production game, it’s easy to operate within a vacuum. The world can get pretty small really quick when you only look at a select amount of footage from a handful of filmmakers. Attending a workshop like Venture really brought context to the larger picture in which we play a role.
While Denver was home to a few of the speakers and attendees, Brianna and I met wedding filmmakers from around the world. We shared meals with videographers from the Ukraine, Canada, Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, and even a few of our close neighbors in Santa Barbara, California.
It was fascinating to overhear conversations between attendees that were based on completely opposite ends of the globe. Despite the vast geographic distance, filmmakers were immediately able to relate to the struggles and successes that they faced within their wedding videography businesses. Everyone at Venture was able to hear how one another uniquely approaches the practice of filming a wedding.
By nature, weddings follow a fairly established pattern of events - the bride, groom, and venue are all prepared for the day, the guests arrive and the bridal party processes into the ceremony space in order to recite their vows. When a reception follows, the couple celebrate with their closest family and friends, participating in timeless traditions specific to their culture. In essence, it’s the same basic story being told every time. Yet it’s within that repetition that filmmakers’ skillsets truly shine. By telling couples’ stories using their unique voices, shooting techniques, and editing chops, no two filmmakers are the same.
Just as Venture was enlightening exposure for us in terms of how our clients operate, it was equally valuable for filmmakers to see all the diverse ways in which their peers uniquely deal the same deck of cards that they play with.
Lastly, an experience like Venture really ranged the gamut in experience levels. We met filmmakers who had been shooting for as little as 6 months, as long as 17 years, and everything in-between. One of our new fast friends hadn’t even shot a wedding at the time of Venture! This workshop truly gave all in attendance the ability to relate, expand their thinking, and better set themselves up for inspiration and stronger growth than before they arrived.
3. THERE’s no one way to win
If anything came through during John Bunn’s How to Film Weddings live podcast recording, it was that there’s no one right way to do anything in the wedding filmmaking industry.
The panel consisted of Venture’s 8 main speakers and organizers, with each of them addressing nearly every listener or audience-submitted question. Topics ranged from working with your spouse, to 5-year plans, with each panelist presenting a unique and relatable response. When asked about who inspired them in their filmmaking, they listed not only other wedding filmmakers’ names, but Hollywood directors and DPs, artists in other mediums, and even the wedding couples themselves. On a more fundamental level, each of them handled client correspondence differently when the 30-day mark hit before the couples’ big day.
The audience’s collective encouragement and relief was contagious. We’ve found it’s most common for wedding filmmakers to be self-taught when it comes to shooting, editing, and running a business. The panelists’ diverse answers were refreshing and welcome news that each brand can be handled in a way that’s authentic to a filmmaker’s preferences and comfort level.
Outside of the podcast recording, there were also several class topics that overlapped. For instance, our conversations with attendees on crafting a narrative through editing offered a distinctly different vantage point when compared to Kristine from White in Revery’s presentation on their editing process. As far as engaging with clients and obtaining work goes, it was awesome to compare Jordan Bunch’s discussion on lead generation and conversion against Scott McKenna’s presentation on unconventional means of booking weddings. While all of these methods and approaches were unique, attendees were invited to combine tactics in order to best see what works for their company’s specific voice and branding.
It was an invigorating message to see that just as there are many unique brands and styles of wedding films being produced, there are an equal number of approaches to the craft and business.
While you would think that gathering a bunch of filmmakers together that operate in the same industry (and even in the same city at times) would lead to an air of secrecy and competition, that couldn’t be further from the truth for Venture Workshop. Despite the fact that from a business perspective, nearly everyone in the room was in essence competition, the unavoidably predominant vibe was a true sense of camaraderie.
The positivity and encouragement were palpable at Venture. Everywhere you turned you could see filmmakers bolstering one another up and truly empathizing with the hurdles they all faced. It’s fairly safe to say that the wedding filmmaking community is largely unappreciated by the layman when it comes to the unavoidable amount of hard work and dedication that comes with choosing to pursue this profession. The stigma of an obtrusive uncle stationed up in one spot on the reception floor with a bulky 16mm camcorder is real and filmmakers today have an uphill battle when it comes to disrupting that line of thinking. The wonderful thing about the Venture community was the collective dedication to rising the tide and raising all boats - despite the potential to occasionally out bid one another on projects.
Now when it comes to comparing cameras, that’s a different story. Let’s just say we’ve still got a ways to go when bridging the gap between Sony and Canon users.
5. a bright future ahead
Even though the odds may be stacked against wedding filmmakers when it comes to successfully operating their businesses, challenging themselves in their shooting and editing, and shifting the tide for the layman’s perspective, there have never been more resources available to help everyone along the way.
Our friends at Love Stories TV have introduced an undeniably game-changing platform for wedding filmmakers. As a completely free resource for filmmakers, the medium of video is at the heart of Love Stories TV’s design. In short, filmmakers upload their videos to Love Stories TV and provide the opportunity to all other vendors at the wedding (photographer, venue, caterer, florist, etc) to increase their exposure through those videos. On the flip side, brides view Love Stories TV as a resource to find and book the best vendors for their wedding - all through filmmakers’ videos. That in turn supports filmmakers getting work from those brides as well. It’s an ingenious design, and we’re thankful for the amazing stage that Love Stories TV provides wedding filmmakers.
For those looking to improve their craft and learn more about everything involved with running a wedding filmmaking company, How to Film Weddings provides an amazingly diverse resource. John Bunn and Nick Miller have established, grown, and maintained a truly supportive and informative hub for wedding filmmakers. Whether filmmakers need help with their audio practices, fine tuning their branding, or growing their business to net 6 figures, How to Film Weddings covers it all from a relatable and genuine vantage point. On top of that, they’re also developing resources that will give wedding filmmakers a leg up in aspects of their business that they may not be as well versed in - like a pack of email templates covering nearly every scenario a filmmaker may experience when working with couples.
Just as the diversity of resources grows, so too does the inclusion that the wedding filmmaking community is seeing. Levi of White in Revery shared his journey in filmmaking and photography and how that shaped the importance he places on art, diversity, and inclusion of the under-represented. We were encouraged at Venture to see so many female filmmakers, diverse cultures, and various spoken languages. Filmmaking as a whole has been a predominantly male-centric industry, so the range of artists present was invigorating because this will inherently lead to an exponential increase in the diversity present within the films being produced within the wedding community.
Want to see the most recent offerings that came from Venture speakers and presenters?
Check out our list of exciting and game-changing resources below!
Matt whoismatt Johnson - Matt’s Music List
Scott McKenna - YouTube Channel
Jordan Bunch - Wedding Film Academy Podcast
Jay Worsely - Drone Master Class
Love Stories TV - Website
Colleen Bezich - Legal Services