The sound bites you collect are really the story of their wedding day. There are a great many ways to use the sound bites you've collected. Storytelling is a unique and multifaceted art, and there's no right or wrong way to tell a story. All storytellers bring their own individual approaches to each story they tell. What we've talked about so far should be used as a guide. You need to find your own voice and style. How you choose to tell your story is very much up to you and what feels right to you. Remember, the bride and groom hired you, not me. As I've said many times, don't be afraid to find the style the fits you best. Now, having said that, I can certainly help you discover your voice, and give you some general guidelines to keep in mind when it comes time to actually use the sound bites you get. Here goes.
Always try to keep "on message." By that I mean, if you're looking for a sound bite to use during the proposal section, remember that you want to have the story focus specifically on the proposal itself. There can be many nice "side stories" about what they did leading up to the proposal, why they decided to propose the way they did etc., but if you get too bogged down in the details of an event, your presentation of the event will become lost and muddled. Too many details, no matter how interesting, will slow the story down. Often, those details that seem so fascinating in the abstract really don't add as much to the story and you might think.
Always look for the emotion in whatever sound bites you use. Getting married is a very emotional experience for the couple and it's important for you to bring out the emotion surrounding the event when you capture their voices and choose and use the sound bites they give you. The emotion is the core of the Storyteller video.
Use sound bites to bring the viewer insight into significant moments in the story. One of the easiest ways to illustrate effective use of sound bites is to use the example of how I started one of my favorite wedding biographies, that of Bree and Matt Ross. In this story, I wanted to set the mood of the piece right from the start. The wedding took place in inspiring natural surroundings in the mountains of New Mexico. I opened with the words to a Native American poem that the couple used in their wedding, read aloud over a black background. I wanted the story of how they met to start the movie because it really was the emotional core of their story. I wanted the the viewer to understand that this was the joining of more than just two people; it was the joining of two souls. Bree and Matt had met at birth. They were born on the same day of the same year, in the same hospital room. By using sound bites to tell this story right up front, with very few distractions, I gave the viewer the insight they needed to understand why this wedding was so important.
Use sound bites as emotionally gripping teasers. You can also use sound bites preview what's to come in the main story. You can do this by combining different sound bites together into one--a little from the proposal, a bit from their message to each other, and a bite or two from their comments on the meaning of their vows. This approach will pique viewer curiosity quickly and make them hungry for more.
Sound bites can also describe what's happening. Another use for sound bites is to explain certain parts of a wedding as they happen. They can guide the viewer through the day or explain unusual elements of the celebration.
If you want your sound bites to accomplish these goals, it's also important to place them well. I have a fairly standard group of places I like to use the sound bites I gather. You've no doubt seen some of them in the questions you can ask during the interview. Good places to incorporate sound bites include the pre-wedding day, the getting-ready time, the procession down the aisle, the exchange of vows and rings, the first dance, the father/daughter dance, the cake-cutting, the bouquet toss, the garter toss, and the wrap-up.
If there is anything unique that happens at the wedding you're covering, you can have the couple talk about that. It's important that you pay attention and watch and listen to your couple. They are very likely to give you a path to follow. Don't limit your imagination or your story by only doing what I've talked about here. My approach to storytelling is, well, mine. Stretch out and let your own instincts and reactions guide you. Only then will you be able to imagine the possibilities of what you can do.
Next time on The Inside Story: You've got all the tools; now it's time to start booking and producing storyteller movie biographies. In the next installment, we'll talk about how to market and sell services that follow the storyteller approach.