In a few short years we went from 40-50 weddings to working for a bunch of really cool companies on TV features, documentaries, and even some amazing things like an Olympic campaign and the Superbowl.
How did we make that leap?
What tricks and mindsets helped make our transition quicker and more smooth?
Throughout KNOW, at nearly every stop, we got several questions about how we made the move from weddings to commercial work. Our story of the NFL seeing a wedding film on Vimeo makes for quite the story, but it certainly doesn’t act as useful advice to rest your hopes on.
We want to break down our transition into commercial work and make this tangible. Something you can apply immediately to your work if you find yourself wanting to make the same transistion.
Even if you aren’t working in only weddings, these lessons continue to help us push our work forward – and expose us to even larger stages (we still use these lessons in our non-wedding work).
Here is our ‘secret sauce’ if you will, about how to use your background in weddings to gain traction and get clients in the commercial world.
Key #1: Make Wedding Films for the World, Not your Couple
From the beginning of Stillmotion, we’ve always said that we try to make wedding films interesting enough you could show the mailman.
We’ve seen many people fall into traps where they let the stigma of wedding videos get to them and they lower their standards, or they aim most of their creative vision at trying to please the couple.
So many times we’ve been asked to offer feedback on a clip and when we ask ‘why’ a certain decision was made the answer, all too often, is something along the lines of ‘the bride asked for that’ or ‘they’ll be upset and ask me to change it if i didn’t include that’.
We like to say, as harsh as it sounds, forget the couple.
If you can make a film strong enough to keep a stranger’s interest, then the couple and their family will surely love it.
When we say “stranger” we do not just mean other soon-to-be-married brides (stop making films for brides altogether).
If you aren’t making a film for brides, how do we then justify hanging the dress in the window or rolling the rings on a table? Try showing that to somebody without the context of it being a wedding film and see just how quickly they get confused or bored.
In making this clear choice to tell a story above all else, all of a sudden the fluff falls away and we need to find something deeper and more meaningful to drive our film.
Said in another way, showing you can make a good film about the wedding day says you can cover an event.
Making a strong film about who two people are shows that you can tell a story.
If you can tell a story about people that is interesting to more than just the bride and groom, you’ve developed a strong sense of story for other genres of filmmaking.
And, in the end, your couples will be blown away by your work when it stays true to their actual story – and not just a play-by-play of their wedding day…