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                                                              Sheila Curran Bernard (
                                                              writes, “Story helps define documentary and separate it
                                                              from visual material that simply documents an actual
                                                              person, place, or event. You might shoot a wedding or
                                                              town meeting or a series of interviews, for example, but
                                                              even if you edit the raw footage for length, what you
                                                              create is not a documentary. You might set up a camera to
                                                              record a ‘day in the life’ of a local barbershop and end up
                                                              with some interesting footage, but until it’s been shaped

BEAUTIFUL in BLUE                                             and given meaning by the filmmaker—until it tells a story
                                                              in some form—it’s not a documentary.”
                                                                 Brides have a preconceived idea of exactly what their

t    he great storyteller William Gaff of Humanstory
     ( likes to pose the
     question, “What is story?” to open dialogue about the
subject and to get filmmakers thinking. He encourages
artists to reflect and discover answers for themselves.
                                                              wedding should be. Filmmakers, likewise, have
                                                              preconceived ideas of exactly what our wedding films
                                                              should be. Sometimes life has other plans.
                                                                 Recently, a bride came to us, and she was quite
                                                              distraught. Her wedding had been scheduled to take place
Many wedding filmmakers agree that there is at least          more than a year later at a beautiful cathedral and resort
some element of story in wedding film production, while       hotel. She had just been given the unbearable, and
others think it’s strictly documentation.                     incomprehensible, news that her mother’s illness could no
   All people and characters have a backstory—a history       longer be controlled and that she had to have her wedding
that has brought them to the opening scene in a film or to    within a month for her mother to attend.
the moment they walk down the aisle. Some may argue              Her church and hotel were not available for the new
that filmmakers who produce films without a backstory         date. She scrambled to find a new church, and a kind
are simply documenting rather than telling a story.           friend with a lovely home offered her backyard for the
   Not all brides can afford to have a production with        reception. She wanted her day recorded, but she was afraid
their backstory researched, recorded, and then weaved         because everything was happening so fast. She didn’t know
with interviews and photographs into their wedding film.      how it was going to turn out or if everyone would be able
But there are always stories to tell, and we can find them    to cope. I told her that—no matter what—there would be
if we are only willing to look.                               beauty and special moments, and I would find them.
   Spend just 1 day with a giant oak tree. Even a tree has       On the day of her wedding, I arrived as she was getting
a backstory. As a seed, was it carried by a river or a bird   ready. It was like any other wedding, 
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