The Main Event: Bottom Feeders?
Posted Oct 7, 2005

Those of us who do weddings are often said to be at the bottom of the "video food chain." There may be several reasons for this.

Whatever the reason(s), we're often seen as the bottom feeders of video by our corporate and broadcast colleagues, by our clients, and even by ourselves. Many of us aspire to "move up" to the commercial video world. I think that this mindset greatly undervalues both what we do and the product we create. Consider the following:

Because of all these difficulties, the stress of a wedding shoot is enormous. I've heard seasoned broadcast professionals coming off their first wedding exclaim, "Wow! I don't know how you guys do this week after week!"

But this isn't just a rant complaining about all our difficulties and whining for a raise. I think that our end product has tremendous value to our clients, even though they might not all be aware of it beforehand. I don't know how many times I've heard customers (my own and my colleagues') say:

When you think about it, a wedding video is a documentary every bit as much as something on the History Channel—and one that's even more important to the people involved. Every once in a while, this point gets driven home to me. Take the case of my colleague, Howard Neill. Howard is a frequent poster to the Video University wedding forum. He and his wife, Sam, are a wedding video team based in South Africa. A few months ago, they got an unusual job. A young lady, Chantal, was engaged to be married to a young man, Andrew. The unusual part was that Chantal had terminal cancer. The doctors gave her a couple of months at best.

It was a race against time. Could Chantal have her dream—a real wedding, in a church, with all the trimmings? Or would her time be cut short? It was a very close race, but in the end, Chantal's dream did come true. Every wedding service provider donated their services to make it happen, and on July 9, Chantal and Andrew said their vows together at the altar. She died less than two days later.

Chantal and Andrew's story has every bit as much courage, love, and pathos as anything you will find on network television, and it was all real life, not something made up to sell beer or hair spray. Who documented this moving and inspirational story? Not a corporate video producer. Not a Hollywood mogul. It was captured by "lowly" wedding videographers. Bottom feeders? I think not.