when i do wedding highlight reels, i often get a list of people the client wants to include in the final video. most of the time, this request is usually made to satisfy that particular party: “can you include my uncle bob in the video? i’ll feel bad if he’s not in there..” during the pre-wedding meetings, i try to convey that i’m telling a story about them and their special day. unfortunately it ends up being who has the most cameo appearances. how does SM work with the couple on this matter?
there are a few things we do that help minimize such requests. here are the ones we find to be most effective:
1. know your story. hey! that sounds familiar! :)
if you know your couple well, know their story, and know which parts of it are important to tell, this may actually include Uncle Bob. perhaps Uncle Bob was the one who introduced them, or is otherwise integral to their relationship. do you know that? i think as a story teller, it’s up to you to evaluate who is important to the immediate story you are telling, and who is not. and another thing: are you telling the story of the day or the story of the people? if you’re telling the story of the day and Uncle Bob sat in a chair twiddling his thumbs all day, it’s gonna suck to put him in. but if you’re telling the story of the couple and the people that matter, maybe he plays a much bigger role…
but how do you know whether your couple wants him in the film because he really matters, or because it’s political? well, i think that comes back to you doing your research. and setting expectations properly…
2. set expectations properly!
you mentioned that you “try to convey that you’re telling a story about them and their special day”. but what exactly does that mean? why can’t that include Uncle Bob? he IS family after all!
just today, i got an email from a bride who’s getting married this August, saying that her mom would like to talk to me before the wedding. she said (and she’s talking about photo here, but it’s generalizable) that she realizes that our approach is very candid and real, but her mom puts importance on having at least a few “formal” family photos, and that she’d like to make sure they have some.
so i’m going to make sure that not only the bride and groom, but also the family really GET what this is all about. and i’m going to put it in such a way that they’ll connect with it. i’m going to let them know that at almost every wedding, we set aside some time for formal photos. what this means is that people who HAVE to be included (even just for political reasons) are included, and it leaves the rest of the day for super creative storytelling that is going to be emotionally moving.
but i’m also going to explain that for the rest of the day, i’m going to be focused on not just capturing what people look like, but capturing WHO people are:
“if Uncle Bob is tearing it up on the dance floor, you better believe i’m going to be right there dancing with him with my camera! and you’ll have these really awesome, animated, and real photos of him having an amazing time at your wedding! but what about Aunt Bertha? well, if she’s less involved in your day, chances are we won’t focus as much on her. but because we’ll be following the most interesting and relevant things, your story will be REALLY strong. but, if Bertha’s on the list of family formals, you’ll at least have her there.”
3. have “family formals” for cinema! (wha???)
there’s something we offer to all of our cinema couples in all of our collections, and that’s documentary speeches and a doc ceremony. they’re separate chapters on their final DVD so they can either skip to or skip over them.
what’s great about these is that they satisfy family members who may be a bit more traditional. if they’re satisfied, it gives us more creative freedom for the highlights, SDE, and main feature. and if you happen to include some crowd shots / reaction shots during those chapters, you’re likely to have Uncle Bob included to boot!
doc edits are a breeze to cook up and they don’t interfere with the creative process. it’s a win win.
hope this helps!