I got tired of the bride making changes after the edit, so I developed a series of questions and instructions to prevent this from happening, including the following:
Is there anyone who needs to be cut or minimized from the video? This sounds like a mean question, but I am shocked how often I receive an affirmative answer to this one.
Is there anything you would like cut? Did anything go wrong? Sometimes they want mistakes left in because they’re funny, but just as often they want them cut out.
Is there any style of editing effects that you do not like? Most do not know what I am asking but with the ones who do, this question has eliminated many changes.
I also double-check music selections, titles, credits, and then review their bill, payments, overtime videography, and balance due. Over the years, these simple steps have saved us money and made our brides happier.
I have never meet anyone in this industry who is happy about their delivery time, and I’m no exception. The simple fact is that 75% of our work is in postproduction, and postproduction work is done on a first come, first served basis after any new events we have to film.
Once I realized I had done all I could do to shorten delivery time, I set out to make brides happier with the time that remained by addressing the issue directly shortly after the wedding. The post meeting has done a lot ease any potential conflicts over delivery time simply by keeping us in contact with them between the wedding and completion of their job. I have also found that before the wedding, the bride is so focused on the wedding day that she has selective hearing and pays little attention to anything I might tell her concerning things that will happen after the wedding, including delivery time. In the confusion before the wedding there is also poor communication between the bride, groom, and parents with this information. So by reviewing it a second time just after the wedding, we solve these potential problems before they become actual problems.
The WEVA Nationwide Survey of Brides has twice confirmed what we all have known for a long time, that after the wedding we are the most valued service and before the wedding we are at the bottom end. So it should come as no surprise that the bride does not pre-plan properly for her video, or listen carefully to everything we try to explain to her before the big day. Combine this lack of attention to planning with the discrepancy between what she planned and what actually took place on the wedding day, and you will often find yourself dealing with a disappointed bride who did not preserve all she could have and a poor videographer who did not sell all he or she should have. The most beautiful part of the post meeting is that it goes a long way to solve these problems and makes a much happier bride by doing justice to her event and memories by explaining how what we can deliver will exceed what she initially asked for. At the same time, this meeting makes for a happier videographer who can sell more as a result.
After reviewing the footage I compare what there actually is with what the bride bought in her package. For each section, I look for the following for each section: videography time; work-tape minutes; and number and length of toasts, speeches, presentations, and musical numbers. Then I assign a percentage to the amount of usable footage. There are many factors which can affect how good the footage is, most of which are out of our control. These include weather; lighting; decorations; the beauty of the facility (or lack thereof); if the bride has provided enough time for videography at each event; how good the other vendors are at their job and whether or not they respect videography; how easy the customers are to work with, and even how attractive they are. All of these things and more affect the quality and quantity of the footage you get. If something is out of sync with what the bride planned for and purchased, you have a responsibility to let the bride know, and to make a recommendation to help resolve the disparity.
After reviewing the footage in the post-wedding meeting, and seeing how much we got that she didn’t contract for (and how much we can do with it), it is common for a bride to add an additional 50 to 100% to her package for additional products. Some people call this an upsell, but they’re wrong—an upsell is getting the client to buy something they do not need but you have convinced them that they want, such as adding 4-wheel drive to a car for a person who will never drive in snow or leave the asphalt. By contrast, selling more features into a bride’s wedding package after the fact is an easy soft sell because you are simply sharing with her what actually took place. She was there, she knows what you are sharing makes sense.
Brides also buy with emotion, and seeing wedding footage for the first time (and remembering them as they actually happened) stirs those emotions. Before the wedding, the bride is guessing what the father-daughter dance will be like, and maybe she guessed that it wouldn’t be worth preserving on video and didn’t pay for you to include it. After the wedding, she has an actual memory and thus an emotion to tie to that experience. She remembers how her father held her, what he said, and the tears or laughter that they shared. Now there is an emotional memory of value to her, and thus you now have something to sell.
The suggestions and sales you make should be based on two things. First is the reality of what took place and what you have to work with based on the footage you acquired. Second is judging the bride’s emotional experience. If her dance with her father is filled with laugher or tears you have something to sell that she wants, regardless of how well your video you captured of this dance actually turned out.
The three main dances of the day--the bride and groom’s first dance, father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance—are excellent examples of how this works. Before the wedding, I often have a hard time getting the bride to buy anything but the most basic editing of these dances. After the wedding, nearly all my brides buy an extensive edit of these dances, adding considerably to their video and bill. Interestingly enough, I have been able to charge twice as much for exactly the same thing after the wedding as I would if contracted to produce it prior to the wedding day, and still sell most brides on this product. This is contrary to all laws of sales; when you raise your price, sales are suppose to go down, not up! Why does this happen? Because the typical laws of sales do not take into account the emotional value brides place on something before vs. after.
You must also judge each wedding individually. There is often something rare or unique to that wedding which you may have never seen or rarely do. Use your creative talents and invent something to present to that bride based on what happened on her day, such as a well done musical number preformed by the groom or a paent. Edit a music video of sorts for her. For an entertaining speech of the best man, add photos of his relationship with the groom. For a dance of the bride and her brother who is acting proxy for a deceased father, mix in photos or video of the deceased father.
Occasionally, it is something you have never seen before and probably never will again. I once did a wedding where the caterer did not show up, and I have the mother on her cell phone ordering Chinese take out for 300 guests needed in 15 minutes! Then all the wedding party in their beautiful dresses and tuxes kicked in, to help prepare and serve the wedding dinner. I created a behind-the-scenes reality TV special edit which added significantly to the video—and, of course, their costs—and they loved it.
In summary, what the bride pre-plans for her video and what actually happens rarely are the same thing. Often, things happen which were either not pre-planned or you simply were not told about. Also keep in mind that the bride values your talents far more after the fact than before. Take all these things into account and both you and the bride will benefit from the greatly increased value she’ll place on the video video. This requires a second "Demo" after the wedding, because your post-wedding phase of selling is more important than any selling you’ve done since you first booked the bride.
Mike Nelson is owner of award-winning Salt Lake City-based Remember When Videos, a WEVA MPV-certified videographer, author of multiple training DVDs including Bridal Elegance and 40 Creative Wedding Videos, and founder and past president of the Utah Professional Videographers Association.