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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...

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Old September 2nd, 2008, 08:14 PM   #1
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How to avoid burnt out in wedding videography ...

As you all know wedding videography is not that easy. Long hours from morning to midnight on the wedding day and boring hours of editing as you already saw everything live and had laughs with people on the day.

Whats your technique to avoid burnt out?
On the other thread, it talks about why it took so long (6 months or 4 months) to give customers their wedding dvds etc.

I know 6 months or 4 months is NOT acceptable to complete a wedding dvd but i can't help it.

Discuss. :)

Last edited by Anthony Smith; September 2nd, 2008 at 08:47 PM.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:16 PM   #2
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If you're at a point that editing weddings is boring, you should think about finding other work or at least take some time off from weddings. Also, if your turn around times are longer than you think is acceptable because you're procrastinating due to boredom, it's time to move on.

Speaking for myself, I find many aspects of weddings very rewarding. I like meeting with couples, showing them my work and hearing about their weeding. There's a satisfaction I get when a couple chooses me and signs the contract. I enjoy going to the wedding, shooting it, meeting the couples family and friends and watching people enjoy one of the most special days of their lives. It's a great happy time. I always try to push my abilities shooting and try new (to me) techniques while remembering to make sure I capture the goods. After the shoot, I approach editing the same way, trying new (to me) things and making something great. I think about what I've learned about the couples likes and try to incorporate things that reflect their tastes in the video. Knowing, they'll appreciate the subtleties and effort. Finally, the best part is delivering a really special piece that the couple will cherish and hearing them tell me they love my work and thank me. (We all love our egos stroked.)

There are a lot of videographers (photographers too) that are great at what they do but could never be good at weddings. Nothing wrong with that, for whatever reason it's not their thing. Wedding video (photography too) is something you have to enjoy to be good at regardless of your skills. It's really the same for any creative field, a great filmmaker that doesn't like the horror genre probably wouldn't make good zombie movies and at least wouldn't enjoy doing it.

It ain't work if you love what you do.
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Old September 2nd, 2008, 09:59 PM   #3
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every year I go thru it about this time of the year. After 25 years in the video biz and averaging 50 or so a year I find Aug and Sept I start t owear down. I make SURE I take 1 day a week off for ME! I play golf every Wednesday AM and then do some personal stuff after that. For me it works! Takes my mind off of the work and allows me to clear my head. Back to it on Thursday.
Next year I WILL cut my schedule down and only do about 30-35 which should help th eburn out problem a lot but I'll still play golf every Weds AM;-)

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Old September 5th, 2008, 05:37 AM   #4
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My technique is to not shoot too many weddings. I charge more per wedding so that I can shoot less and ensure that each wedding I shoot is special, not only to the couple but also to me.

I'm not interested in being a wedding factory, (not that there's anything wrong with those that shoot lots of wedding), I just know that it's not for me.
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Old September 5th, 2008, 06:04 AM   #5
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great thread...and i'll tell you why...

the last few months i've developed chronic lower back pain and it got to the point where i couldn't sit to edit, and at the last wedding i shot, i ended up in A+E.

my physio has put me on a speedy recovery program and it's working. so i've now gone from sitting at home in one spot, to actually getting up every 20 minutes, and going for long walks/swimming etc. and i LOVE it. i wish i had done that sooner! also, my partner (she's in the police force so does shift patterns) and i always take 1 long break every day or every other day to grab a coffee or lunch somewhere, ensuring it's away from the house. i can't recommend that enough.

make your job enjoyable by having a very separate social/exercise life and in different scenery.

and i'm like Matthew, less weddings for more money and more attention is better (for my health) than being a wedding factory (which i have nothing against by the way).
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Old September 5th, 2008, 09:26 AM   #6
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I'm with Richard and Matthew on this one. Try to do less weddings per year for higher price, you will avoid the burnt out.

Of course it's easier said than done. In order to charge high price, your videos should also have a high production value so that you can justify what you are charging.

If your market permits, try to do weddings from many different cultures as possible. This way, you are not shooting same type of wedding each weekend. It will also give you a challenge in putting together a good video that is appealing to that culture. I understand it's not possible in all the cities. Being in Toronto, on of the most diversified cities in the world, gives me a great opportunity to shoot weddings from many different cultures. Although I shoot mainly shoot south asian weddings, there so many different variations of cultures among them.

Try to bring an artistic attitude in producing your wedding videos rather than treating it like any other 9-5 job. Remember, weddings are same script acted out by different cast. It's your job to come up with unique screen play for each wedding; Unique as each couple.

That's the approach I take. Hope that helps.
Ram Purad :: Aspiring Event Filmmaker
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Old September 5th, 2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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I also charged more this year which resulted in less bookings but by the end of the year the income is the same and I have less workload, meaning less stress if something goes wrong. F.i. my dvd burner went dead on me and it toke several trials before I noticed it was the burner causing the problem. A year ago I would have flipped but now I am able to keep up with my work and don't have to panic if something goes wrong.

You should take the advice from the others here, allow to take time for yourself, if you feel the edits are getting bored it's time to make a change.

It is something you need to enjoy and even though not all weddings are fun to do, sometimes when the sun is shining and the hardest part of the day has passed (church) and when i'm doing some creative shots at the reception I noticed during editing that I hear myself whistling when I was recording those shots, those are the moments I enjoy most when i get the time to do it all right and no stressing factor. When I get at home I really can't wait to capture my footage to see what it looks like.

As long as I can keep that feeling I know I'm doing allright
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Old September 5th, 2008, 11:48 AM   #8
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I agree with Noa 100%. If you don't feel that you are being compensated adequately for your work, bitterness and burn out are sure to set in.

Aside from the occasional vacation (or brief hiatus), I've found that pursuing one or more of the following tends to re-ignite the fire when things start feeling stale:

1. Watch other videographers' work. Particularly something that has garnered industry recognition.
2. Meet with local videographers in your area and talk shop. A great resource for new ideas & techniques. Horror stories (not yours hopefully) are also re-assuring to hear.
3. Rent or buy a new piece of equipment. New toys always make work fun.
4. Freelance for someone you respect (or work with a new 2nd shooter). You'll be surprised at what new things you pick up on the job with someone new.
5. This is not always easy, but get to know your clients before the job. Building a relationship with clients always inspires me to deliver my very best.

Last but not least...

6. Stay involved in forums like these ;)

Hope that helps.
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