You Can Always Learn, No Matter The Job

Being a filmmaker fills me with dread when a close friend tells me they are getting married. It usually means that at some point they are going to ask ‘will you do the video?’ I always think I will say ‘no’, but the problem is, if it’s a close friend, I want to make sure it gets done just right. I have just completed a mammoth edit for one such wedding video, and after watching it back, I was surprised to see that it was structured with a clear beginning, middle and end – factor in the hen and stag clips, (you even have a refusal to the call for adventure!) The end was in fact VERY BIG, and emotionally charged. I know they are going to love it when I present it to them. What began life as a begrudging effort, has now become a labour of love where I am dying to get the audience to see it.

I have learned two important lessons making this video for my friends. First, it seems inescapable to me that stories want to be told a certain way, and no matter what you do, they tend to end up falling into certain patterns that hook, entertain, move and reward the audience for their investment. Even a damn wedding video!

Second and perhaps more important, was the touchstone that even the simplest of stories can be emotionally overwhelming. This wedding video will have ‘em laughing and crying when I gather everyone round to my home to watch the first screening. Sure, all my friends will know the key players (that would be the happy couple), but they might not know the supporting cast – mums, dads, siblings of the bride and groom. Yet, tears will flow and sides will hurt with laughter, because we are emotionally invested in what we are watching.

This all echoes what David Yates, director of the new Harry Potter movie said to me when I interviewed him for the Guerilla Film Makers Handbook, and I am paraphrasing here, ‘whatever you do, make sure it’s the best it can be, as most people don’t bother. That is the best way to elevate yourself….’

Chris Jones
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