Day 1 started off with a powerful presentation on "Rebranding & Evolution" by EventDV 25 all-star filmmaker Dave Williams of Cinema Cake. Dave said that, as a business owner, you're going to run into bumpy roads and roadblocks, but it's how you handle these obstacles that will make you successful. He talked about things he has learned over his years in business, such as how finding the right staff and delegating responsibilities is important to growing as a company. He also told attendees that utilizing tools such as ShootQ, Basecamp, and Quickbooks will help them keep organized, and encouraged them to always put a personal touch into everything they do, from branding to all their dealings with clients. Be authentic, be true to yourself, and "inject some estrogen into your brand," Dave advised IVA Expo attendees, as your target audience (in the wedding world) is female.
Next up was Matt Bishop of MI Studios, who gave us the 101 on growing your business with social media. Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising, Matt noted, and explained how he doesn't spend money on advertising but utilizes his time in growing his viral presence with the use of his blog and Facebook—an approach that has helped him book destination weddings. Becoming a social media expert and really putting the time and effort into this niche of marketing is so crucial to enhancing not only your brand, but your SEO too.
I was excited to attend the trade show during presentation breaks. It was a true gearfest with product demonstrations from Canon, Panasonic, Adobe, Safe Hatbor Computers, and LCD4Video. There is nothing better than being able to touch and feel equipment and get one-on-one time with the vendors. We were lucky to have Adobe give an in-depth demonstration on all the tools in CS5,5 Production Premium, which was fascinating.
Next up was EventDV 25 Filmmaker Steve Zugelter (also my husband and partner in Studio Z Films). He gave us the nuts and bolts on a "Studio Makeover." After rebranding with a name change back in June 2009, he talked about how the rebirth and transformation was vital for the growth of his (our) business. The key to a total makeover of your studio is by thinking different technically, business-wise, and in terms of your brand. He inspired as all by asking us to keep an open mind, have a clear direction, and stay true to ourselves, all of which is important for a successful makeover.
Another Event25 all-star, Steve Fowler of Steven Fowler Films, gave us tips on "WILD Sales in a Tough Economy." Fowler made very strong points on pricing and having enough confidence in yourself to charge what you're worth. Fowler's key points: Don't give it away; if you don't ask for it, you're not going to get it; and every time you go out on a job, you put everything at risk—so why do it for less? One of his most powerful statements during his presentation was, "Don't sacrifice your own life so other people will remember theirs."
The last presentation of Day 1 was from another EventDV 25 filmmaker and master storyteller, Chicago's own JJ Kim of Orange Wedding Films, who gave away his storytelling secrets, and then acknowledged that there really are no big secrets. It is more about how you must focus more on finding your own style and adding certain elements to build a unique story for each couple, Kim said. When doing this you can't just be the fly on the wall anymore because you're doing more then just documenting the day. You can feel Kim's passion as he talks about that we must continue to elevate this industry, and it really is all about educating couples by showing them higher-quality films.
Day 2 was a full day of hands-on DSLR training. The day started off with tips and tricks during preparations from Keith Anderson and JJ Kim. The group moved to the church location where Williams, Fowler, and Zugelter talked pre-production at the ceremony location. They then showed how they approach a wedding day during an actual mock wedding, providing ways that filmmakers can shoot differently for a creative edit. We moved back to the hotel and Kim led the creative session post ceremony while Steve Zugelter put together a Same-Day Edit. Day 2 continued with Zugelter dissecting Same-Day Edits through the editing process and showed the SDE from the day's hands-on training.
IVA Expo concluded with Javier Villarreal from Watermark Studios taking attendees through his SDE workflow using Adobe CS5.5 Production Premium and showing the clip he was able to edit at the end of his hour. Javier brought in clips from multiple cameras including 3 Canon 5Ds, a Canon 7D, and the Canon XF305, and edited them in real-time.
It was two days packed with knowledge, inspiration, old friends, and new ones. Each presenter selflessly shared their recipes for success while igniting a motivational fire within the attendees. It was a great end to an unforgettable time in Chicago.
Reagan Zugelter (reagan at StudioZFilms.com) is co-owner of Cincinatti-based 2010 EventDV 25 honoree Studio Z Films with her husband, Steve, and co-founder of the POSH Retreat with fellow EventDV 25 all-star Jennifer Moon of Northernlight Filmworks.