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									Stephen Nathans-Kelly


             ne of the elements of traditional   circumstances for getting reflective,       In the world of wedding videography—

       O     wedding and event videography
             that made it an easy target for
       its detractors, at least in the early
                                                 compelling responses—the sort of thing
                                                 poet William Wordsworth described as
                                                 “emotion recollected in tranquility.”
                                                                                             and its more story-oriented offspring,
                                                                                             wedding filmmaking—we don’t have
                                                                                             that kind of flexibility. The plot doesn’t
       days, was the infamous wedding               Of course, the first and most            change substantially from event to
       reception interview. It played into the   common solution videographers found         event, so the real story flows from
       worst stereotypes of the old school       for the bad rep associated with             the characters. It’s these characters’
       videographer: the sweaty guy with the     interviews was to stop doing them. The      personalities and their individual and
       bulky equipment shoving microphones       decline of the guest interview went         shared experiences that give the event
       and blinding lights in the faces of       hand in hand with the unobtrusiveness       its real meaning, dimension, and
       unsuspecting guests who wanted            movement in wedding video, the              uniqueness and will drive the film you
       nothing more than to finish their         retreat into the shadows that inspired      make of it—that is, if you find a way to
       dinners in peace.                         the closest thing to a Hippocratic oath     bring those characters to the forefront
          Part of the problem was the            videographers have ever taken: “You         of your film through their own words
       equipment: You couldn’t do the job        won’t even know I’m there.”                 and unique gestures.
       without the bulk or the light in those       But the problem with the unobtru-           Enter the modern-day wedding and
       days, and you couldn’t put in a hard      sive, fly-on-the-wall approach is that      event filmmaker’s interview. In the
       day’s work with that kind of gear         in the absence of any more substantial      contemporary approach, interviews are
       without working up a major sweat.         connection to the event or the people       done the day of the wedding, the day
          But the bigger problem was             involved, the objective, fly-on-the-wall    of the rehearsal, or in-studio or on-
       strategic: The reception was always       stance leaves very little room for story-   location before or after the event. The
       a less-than-opportune time to do          telling. After a while, most weddings       time or locale may vary, but it happens
       interviews, partly because being asked    start to look and play out the same         anywhere but the reception dinner table
       to improvise a few wise words for the     from that remote spot on the wall.          and always in an environment where
       bride and groom was annoying to all          In novels and feature films, there are   the filmmaker has some control over the
       but the most attention-starved, and       two types of stories that can work          circumstances of the interview and can
       partly because the joyful frenzy          equally well, depending on the par-         apply his or her own expertise in
       of a typical wedding reception            ticular strengths of the teller and the     these scenarios to get results that serve
       didn’t provide the most conducive         tale: plot-driven and character-driven.     as more than sound bites or filler—

             event dv FEATURE

November 2009 / EventDV   37
interviewing the interviewers
        something more personal,                                                                                                    easily lend itself to interviews.
        revealing, and unique than the                                                                                              “As I did more destination
        tired “You’ll always be my little                                                                                           weddings I found myself film-
        girl” clichés.                                                                                                              ing and then photographing
           I spoke with four leading                                                                                                more rehearsals as part of a
        wedding and event filmmakers                                                                                                wedding weekend. If I’m going
        who have established their                                                                                                  to be present a day before
        personal styles and reputations                                                                                             the wedding, I thought, why
        in the industry largely based                                                                                               not put me to work filming/
        on the compelling, revealing,                                                                                               documenting the thoughts and
        funny, and moving stories they                                                                                              emotions surrounding the event
        collect in their interviews with                                                                                            and the moments that had led
        the key players in their events                                                                                             up to it? I simply expanded this
        and the seamless and powerful                                                                                               idea to set up time before the
        ways they incorporate these                                                                                                 rehearsal to engage with the
        interviews into the films they                                                                     
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