The 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. Many wedding filmmakers agree that there is at least some element of story in wedding film production, while others think it's strictly documentation. Not all brides can afford to have a production with their backstory researched, recorded, and then weaved with interviews and photographs into their wedding film. But there are always stories to tell, and people can find them if they are only willing to look. Storytelling is an ancient art that works in many ways far outside of Hollywood's formula. Documentary storytelling, though structured, fortunately provides a bit more freedom. Every wedding has a story, even the perfect and predictable ones. Filmmakers has to look closely to see what's being revealed. Only then can filmmakers shape it and give it meaning.
vantage point Sheila Curran Bernard (www.harborproductions.com) 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 (www.humanstoryfilms.com) 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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