Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Call to the Videography

This is an Editorial I was asked to write for Carolina Wedding Magazine. This is my second unedited draft.

I am a filmmaker who just so happens to make extra grocery money shooting
weddings. Granted, I make a lot of income on corporate, commercial videos and
now, website design, weddings still give me money to take my family to the beach or buy my amazing finance some kind of something. Weddings take me about 20 hours to complete from the time that I put the first DV tape into my deck until I rip the final DVD.
Let's face it-- Weddings, (if you know what you are doing,) are easy. I am a great and efficient editor if I have no other claim to fame, so maybe I dont know. That may make it faster for me, than some other "wedding videographer" hack out there or maybe, I can justify my twenty hours because I put the personal touch on it and take a little extra time to make my newlyweds really enjoy the product they trusted me to give them. One wedding videographer I talked to took a month to finish a wedding he had shot and the finished product was garbage. (He collected a $900 paycheck.)

I am not a blueprint videographer and I do not wear ties nor do I bullshit my clients on the day of their wedding. I live in North Carolina. I have six competitors in the area. Their prices are at the highest $2,400 to their absolute lowest, (one camera, two tape restriction nonsense,) $1,300--- And they are getting it. One of these guys was shooting weddings with two, 1 chip, $400 cameras and editing the video with--- MOVIE MAKER. What the hell is Movie Maker? This blockhead did not know what Final Cut Pro or Avid was. I mean--- What??? OK, there are other video editing software that you can get at novice and intermediate levels, but c'mon--- You should stay up-to-date on your craft. My father is a dentist and is retiring in four years and still reads every tooth periodical that comes into his office. I am on the cusp of upgrading all my equipment from Canon XLs to Sony HD Cameras and my competitors, (who by the way are all doing about 25% more business than me,)are shooting on Hi-8.

So you are asking yourself now, what is the point of this diatribe, (besides me bragging that my equipment is bigger than the other guys.)

OK, so here it is. Wedding Videographers--- Stop robbing people. Weddings are expensive. These kids are getting ready to start their lives and that money they pay you to document their special day would pay three to four of their mortgages otherwise. I know you guys, and the ones sitting there reading this looking over at your limp Canon Elura laughing all the way to the bank, learn some integrity. There is another looking at his Sony VX1000, which although is a better camera was discontinued in 2001, so I can assure you that the record heads on it are worn to nothing. I have thrown down the gauntlet. Spend some time editing, make some quality titles, DVD Menus, good transitions. Invest in some good editing software whether it be Sony Vegas, FCP, Avid, or Premiere. I challenge you to really learn the way of the samurai and earn that outrageous paycheck that you are receiving.
My starting price is $800 dollars and if you get my platinum package it comes in at $1100 and it gives you everything, and I mean everything, and even then I feel like that number may be a little high. I have shot twenty-two weddings and twenty-one of the newlyweds have been blown away by the finished product. One hated it, but with all due respect to her, she was not going to be pleased with anything anybody did. She sued her DJ, Cake Maker and Limo Driver. I was not on the list of the big sue. I gave her her money back and wrote it off being that it was my first wedding. I had originally charged her $150 bucks and shot it with two Canon GL-2s. That gives me the right to brag. That gives me the right to challenge you, untalented conmen to bring your prices down and raise your production.
For prospective newlyweds, I beg you to do your research and find the right videographer for the job. It does not have to be me, but for goodness sakes do not pay $2400 or anything over $1,300. Shooting and cutting weddings are not worth that kind of money even if we make the production look like Bridezilla.

Conmen--- Take a look at my timelines from my last two weddings---- That is what a a$1100 wedding video should look like when you drop it to DVD. Deal with it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Chapter Thirteen - The Ant in the Sand

We stepped out of the car at The Wayfarer Hotel located on the infamous shit hole strip of Myrtle Beach. Cutter jumps right out, box in hand and a cigarette dangling from his mouth. I was not so fast. I had to spend time prying my hands out of the door handles and seat. As we walked to the office, I could not help but notice that I had been shaking my left hand for about two minutes and it had really become sore from gripping the proverbial oh shit handle for the last three and a half hours. We got a room and actually, managed to score the one we had always gotten on any of our excursions down. From Senior Week to Just for the hell of it, we managed to score Room 201. It was the biggest room and overlooked the road that at night would become a sea of white trash in bathing suits.
The room was just like we left it years before and after I moved the twin bed on the right, I found that our names had been preserved from where we carved them in the wall next to the girls we had mounted in the room from the years earlier. That brought the first smile to my face of the trip. Cutter was already in the bathroom powdering his nose. He came up for air just enough to tell me to fix us a shot of Cuervo. I knew mixing alcohol in Myrtle Beach with Cutter, an automobile and meetings was going to be the worst idea in the history of bad ideas, but after that death defying trip with Satan behind the wheel, I felt it to be the best decision I would make. Cutter exited the bathroom. His nose was already becoming raw with glimpses of redness and irritation around the edges. He was just one of those guys that could not stand anything but fast and furious when it came to his unstable health. He had said he was getting it all out of his system before little Ashton comes. That was a fucking excuse. He had always had a reason. I chose not to be Sister Mary anymore. I agreed and that was that.
Lets go grab a steak, he exclaimed, swigging from the bottle. Apparently, my drink pouring had not been up to his gluttonous standards.

OK, so for anybody familiar with the effects of cocaine, doing six lines, (of what I had counted him doing,) and grabbing a steak fit together like mayonnaise on a biscuit. When you do coke, you would be lucky to manage a whole bottle of water passed your esophagus. And when was the last time, you saw a coke or crack addict that was hefty around the edges sporting a triple chin, talking about being rock bottom? I had not done any coke so a steak was not going to be a problem for me and I will be honest, I Cutters fat ass didnt have a problem with it either.

We were half way through our steaks before I decided to cut the small talk.

Do you have a plan, I asked him.

Plan on what?

I mean, did you bring the pie charts I made you. The spreadsheet, the business proposal, did you bring them?

Nah. This is an informal meeting, he assures me.

I could not believe my ears. You know, dudeI worked my ass off on those and you are talking about an informal meeting? There are no informal meetings when you are talking business. You come with your plan. You sell your plan. You are not Martin Luther King, you dilldo. You cant just walk in and tell them you have a dream.

I was just gonna walk in, meet them, tell them my plan and show them some examples of what I plan on doing, he said so non-shalantly.

Then you were going to give them the proposal after they tell you no, I hit back with sarcasm.

You know me better than that, Garrick. Im a salesman. I know how to work them.

Out of at least seventy business ventures of his, he had not worked one. I chose not to say anything at all. He ordered two more drinks for us. I was reluctant, but went ahead and drank it. I in the years after college, had trained myself to have a little restrain when it came to this. Cutter, well, he had not.

FAST FORWARD to 3:00am.

We had hit three bars. Cutter had passed out the last of his thirty business cards and I find myself on the sand getting really pissed that I am still up. Granted, the tequila shots had gone from three to about nine, but I had stopped around one. They were still taking effect. Cutter had gotten in one of his down on himself moods, probably to the excessive drinking, smoking and snorting he had done through out the night. When he got into these moods, he had always scared me, because instead of shaping up and getting it together, he would continue to binge until he would end up in a diabetic seizure, so I sat with him, biting my tongue. Through out the night, I had kind of juggled the idea of my prospective meeting in a couple of hours. Almost like a break through. In the past seven months of attempting to get this porn made, I had become a father, rekindled my friendship with the guy I had aimed to impress by doing the movie and learned some hard lessons about trust, dollars & sense, (yes, I meant to spell it that way,) and the real bullshit way of reality. I had always put off making a real film, justifying it by not be able to raise money for a market that has become oversaturated with shit movies by the abundance of high end digital cameras.

So many wannabee filmmakers had put stars in old golfing business mens eyes only to end up pissing the money away on yet another Pulp Fiction remake. There are no more suckers out there and if there are, they are investing on the web.

This was my excuse or my cop out if you want to look at it that way, but here I was out talking to suckers trying to raise money to make an adult film. The only difference in the two was that it was easier to guarantee money back on an adult movie. I had hit snag after snag and the only guy that put a check in my hand was more interested in my mainstream movie anyway. Maybe I didnt have to shoot a porn. Maybe I could pull one of my scripts out of mothballs and start dual selling my first idea with my real dream and just see what happens. I would not be back tracking I thought to myself. Suddenly, the idea of shooting a bunch of strippers for a couple thousand didnt sound so good anymore.

.WOW I was real tired. Money was money. This meeting had to happen and looking at my phone which was almost out of battery due to the abuse it had taken when Mandi kept hanging up on me and I kept calling back a couple hours earlier, and it said 4:30am, I knew I had to get salesman on his feet and get a couple hours. I looked over and he was out. Mouth open and snoring. I wanted to drop a jellyfish in it. I knew Cutter. It wasnt just a bucket of water to the face or a honey, its time to get up. It was starting a gasoline bonfire under his ass to get him to open an eye after a night of binging.

I looked around. The beach was empty. There was always a call to the police on semi-powered phone. There was leaving him there, knowing the tide had already gone out. There was pulling, dragging and carrying him-------

Or I could just push him out to sea..

Sunuvabitch, I said to myself, Im gonna need a couple hits of that coke just to get the strength to haul this beached whale back to the aquarium.

I looked in his pocket, opened his vile, only to verify what I already knew. He had already done it all. I guess I was going to find out what its like to be an ant.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vegas Baby!!!

OK, so for anybody that does read this shit and has wondered if I had lost interest in writing it... Yes I had. Not really though. I have been slammed with work. I am working on a short film, landed two big jobs that pay big money, editing another short that has to be cut by the Sundance deadline and have shot weddings on three back to back Saturdays, so needless to say, I have not even thought about this thing. I used to sit on the toliet with my pen and pad and write my Chapters and Journals of the neverending BS of trying to make my movie. The cool thing is as I type them on this Myspace crap, the stories you read have happened nearly two months prior, so a little break from the story won't let me forget what has happened.


Anyway, as busy as I was, I took three days off and went to the beach with the family. Having to tear my self away from editing bay, servers, internets, cameras, I still found myself working. In between beach visits I began constructing a web page to advertise and hype up the August trip to Vegas where Ryan and Jess are getting married. That's just one of the cool parts, because, the old posse I used to run with in LA for years are all going. I have not seen some of them a long while. I stumbled across some old DV tapes of some of the dumb things we did while we were out and thought it'd be cool to send out various videos to their comment section of their Myspace profiles. The problem was that I had done so many that I couldn't remember who and which I had sent to. So I made a page of them all for anybody to check out. For people outside the crew, you may not find some of the funny, but then again you may. Some are not funny, just nostalgic. Some are funny, or inside jokes. I will continue to post more as I find them in the sea of BS tapes I have accumulated over the years.

Shooting 24/7

    follow me on Twitter

    About Me

    My photo
    I shoot stuff. I edit stuff. Period.

    The Junk Pile