The first time I talked to John Goolsby, author of The Business of Wedding and Special Event Videography, director of Cannon Video, and owner of perhaps the fullest and most dazzling trophy case in event video, he told me he wasn't sure he was qualified to write a column for EventDV. Gee, and I thought I was modest—in fact, it's one of the things I've always admired about myself.
John's book, though very modestly presented—and quite short—is a momentous tome in the event videography world. And not just because it's really the only book out there that specifically addresses event videography theory and practice. John's book offers lots of homespun philosophy on how understanding what weddings mean to the participants will help you create documents they can cherish, but every bit of his advice is remarkably concrete, every insight well-grounded in observation and experience.
One of the things I like best about it is how much he credits those around him for the techniques he's used most successfully. Every chapter offers invaluable tidbits gleaned from other videographers and photographers—where to stand during the bride and groom's first dance or how to light and compose a particular shot, for example.
The book has great chapters on how to create contracts that clearly delineate services and fees and include all the necessary clauses to protect you and your clients; how to sell and when to stop selling; how to present your final production to your clients; the importance of good equipment and the advantages of leasing it; and much more. One great section discusses how to make your shots flow into one another. The book also cautions readers against leaning too heavily on fancy transitions and other special effects. Apropos for a book that characterizes wedding videos as documents that link generations, Goolsby reasons that as technology marches on, the more your video reflects the particulars of today's technology, the more "gimmicky and tacky" it will look in the years to come.
To pick up a copy of the book, go to the "Main" page of www.cannonvideo.com, and click the "WEVA Members Click Here" button. If you aren't a WEVA member, click it anyway. Buy the book, and look into a WEVA membership if you want to take another big step toward success.
One of the interesting subtexts of John Goolsby's book—and of many EventDV columns, to date—is the uphill climb event videographers have faced in achieving the kind of respect event photographers enjoy. The situation has certainly improved in the years since the book first came out in 1992 (it's now in its fifth edition), but the simple fact that it's 13 years later and there's still only one such book available suggests that the field remains underserved, and undervalued as well.
Which isn't to say John's book doesn't serve the field well—almost anyone, at any level, can learn something from it, just as the book illustrates how much John has learned and continues to learn from from his peers. But a single book with a single author can only do so much.
Enter EventDV. While no print publication can give you the keys to the kingdom of an essentially visual domain, our goal here is to assemble the voices—like John's—that can speak most authoritatively on all the essential elements of event video work. Conferences like WEVA Expo provide invaluable opportunities to assemble many of those voices on a single stage, and even more in a single "Backlot." But such events happen only once a year, they don't come to your doorstep for free, and—unless you've got a multi-camera mind—you can't see everything that's happening there at once or catch every speaker you want to see. In EventDV, you'll see an all-star cast every month (check out our one-time-only "Meet the Columnists" feature to match up names, faces, pedigrees, and topics). Whether it's Jenny Lehman showing you how to build a business plan, Doug Graham arguing the pros and cons of long- and short-form video, Ed Wardyga laying out a lighting scheme for a stage-event shoot, Todd Gillespie countering the "scholastic squeeze" on institutional videographers, or David Robin explaining why the fly-on-the-wall approach to videography is better than trying to run the show, it's all here, living proof that those who can and do also teach. And no matter how long you linger on one page, another columnist you want to catch will be waiting on the next one.
And lest I forget, there will soon be another book that complements John Goolsby's by taking a closer look at the technical side of digital video production, this time with corporate videography in mind. DV 101: A Hands-on Guide for Business, Government & Academic Video Producers, written by The Moving Picture co-columnist Jan Ozer and published by Peachpit Press, will hit the shelves in March 2005. I'm a little too close to this book to sing its praises too extensively (I edited it), but suffice it to say that it teems with the insight and expertise that's made Jan the digital video go-to guy of EMedia, EventDV, and PC Magazine for nearly a decade now.
So that makes two. Support the writers who serve your business, and there's a good chance—to cop a phrase you've heard in too many wedding toasts—that they'll go forth and multiply.