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Making History: Coming of Age
Posted Jun 2, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1

You already know how exciting it is to show a photo montage or same-day edit at a wedding. What you may not know is how well those types of productions will play at other types of events. If you think the nostalgic shots of the bride and groom growing up went over well at a wedding reception, imagine how powerfully they will affect your audience and underscore the meaning of the event when you present those growing-up shots at events that are all about the ceremonial passage into adulthood. You can expand on your photo-montage business by producing Coming-of-Age montages for families celebrating the ritual that says goodbye to a childhood and marks a child's arrival as a young adult.
     Three of these rituals are the Sweet 16 Party, Fiesta de Quince Años, and the Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebration. Each of these parties deserves a photo montage produced by you.
     The Sweet 16 Party, especially popular in the '50s and '60s, is making a comeback now thanks to the popular MTV program My Super Sweet 16. This event is usually a party for the young girl and all her friends. It is a somewhat more modern—or more inclusive—version of the debutante ball where the Sweet 16 is the focus of everyone's attention.

For the Sweet 16 party, we like to put up three plasma screens and have photographs of the young lady, her friends, and family playing throughout the party. We produce five different photo montages for this type of party. One is the history of the honored guest. Other montages are different compilations of all her school friends, camp friends, family, and relatives. In one type of photo montage that is a big hit with this crowd, we superimpose in Photoshop 40 photographs of the Sweet 16 child into pictures featuring her favorite movie, rock, and sports stars.

This continuous showing of the different photo montages adds excitement to the party. The secret is to try and have pictures of everyone who comes to the party. What teenage child doesn't like to see photographs of herself while dancing the night away?

In Hispanic cultures, a 15-year-old girl is celebrated as La Quinceanera, and will celebrate her coming-of-age at a party called Fiesta de Quince Años. This is an often-elaborate party where La Quinceanera chooses 14 maids of honor with their respective male partners to be special guests at the church and also at the Fiesta.

The Fiesta de Quince Años can be an elaborate production with footage recorded at the church and also the reception hall. Many times we can upsell our photo montage product by showing a same-day edit of the day's festivities. Hispanic families are very proud of their culture and history and place tremendous value on a Family History photo montage.

In the Jewish culture a child comes of age at 13. A boy will have a Bar Mitzvah and a girl will celebrate a Bat Mitzvah. After a child has a spiritual ceremony at the temple, most families will have a party to celebrate the child's coming-of-age into the Jewish community.

The Candlelighting ceremony is a highlight of the celebration. The child will introduce 13 special family members and friends to light a candle symbolizing their importance in the history of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child. We usually present a short video history showcasing the life of the child before the start of the Candlelighting service.

Candlelighting festivities can become long and tedious, sometimes lasting more than 25 minutes. To make this process more entertaining, we show photographs of each guest as the celebrants light their candles. No one knows who Uncle Jerry and Aunt Bertha from Detroit are, yet when they come to light their candle, on the screen we'll show images capturing their youth, their marriage, and significant moments in their relationship with the Bar Mitzvah child.

Showing a mini-photo montage of about ten pictures per person as he or she lights a candle adds entertainment to the festivities and value to your bottom line. The addition of a same-day edit, showing the temple, Candlelighting service, and special dances like the Hora is a great way to end the evening—especially when your company logo flashes on the screen to close the show.

When parents come in to purchase a video production for the a coming-of-age party, Fiesta de Quince Años, or the Bar/Bat Mitzvah party, they may at first be reluctant to spend more money on a photo montage in addition to the actual videotaping of the party. We explain to the parent that the photo montage is the only way their family and guests will have an understanding of the history of their child. Yes, people will see the child at the church or synagogue, and later watch him or her dancing at the party. But that will teach them little if anything about the essence of that child and the history of the family. Eventually, the parents begin to understand why the photo montage of their child is so important.

Producing photo montages shown during the coming-of-age celebration of a child is not only wonderful entertainment, it also leaves the family something that will live as history long after the party is over. Years from now, the Bat Mitzvah or Quinceanera child will show her photo montage to her own children at their coming-of-age celebrations. You will truly be a Video Historian for creating history that will be enjoyed for decades to come. When this happens, if you listen closely, you might hear the Congratulations, Felicitaciones, and Mazel Tovs from past generations thanking you for doing such a great job of creating and preserving their family's history.

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