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


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Old May 21st, 2012, 05:39 AM   #1
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What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Hi All

I did ask nicely in the video bio thread if any current threads existed about what wedding videographers do to keep busy in the bleak Winter months or during the week when weddings seldom occur but none seem to exist. As promised I started a new thread to see how we fill in our time between wedding gigs.

Alex from France was looking at doing video bios but it seems people shun away from the cost of doing a decent one and spending a reasonable amount of time shooting.

What do you do to supplement your wedding videography income to keep your cameras busy???

Chris
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Old May 21st, 2012, 05:54 AM   #2
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Well at one time I thought about robbing banks but I can't run fast anymore. Then I thought about porn but my wife slapped me on the head and that thought went away very quickly. ;-)
I was thinking of giving it all up but I still need to make a living so during the slow season I find I'm doing more and more holiday parties. Yep the good old Xmas and NYE parties that more and more companies are bringing back. While not as big and extravagant as before they are doing them and can be a reasonable source of income but more importantly, they get me contacts. Since I'm really trying to cut back all of my workload this year I'm only giving myself a certain number of dates during the off wedding season to work but they do seem to be filling in.
Anyway that's what I try to do.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 05:56 AM   #3
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

i'm still very new to the video side of things, but previously for the stills, i did some stock photography which can sometimes unexpectedly yield good results.

For video I was thinking of looking at stock footage, what i was thinking was, take a theme for instance, castles (of which there a lot of here) and create a catalogue of themed footage. The list could be endless.
I have no idea if theres any money to be made from it or not tho!

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Old May 21st, 2012, 07:57 AM   #4
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Back in my day, if business was slow we'd send out a mailer to all of the law offices in town reminding them that we shoot depositions. Always got a surge of new work out of that tactic.
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Old May 21st, 2012, 07:46 PM   #5
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Use winter to catch up on backlog. Shoot in the summer, edit in winter.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 03:03 AM   #6
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Go on holiday for three months.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 06:04 AM   #7
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Thanks Guys

I think I like Don's answer..rob banks..you don't need to be creative at all there... Christmas parties are an issue over here cos it's mid-Summer so we are going crazy with weddings anyway!!!

It's not really even seasonal as I often have days of the week free but my Realtors keep me busy with rental shoots

The thread was posted actually for Alex in France so I'm sure he would appreciate some genuine ideas..legal depositions sound good I wonder if that happens in France..I suspect they would be a bit boring to do but money is money!!

I must admit editing in Winter sounds like a good idea but I couldn't even remember the day after 6 months and brides here would go ape if they had to wait that long

Thanks for the ideas so far

Chris
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 06:37 AM   #8
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Hi Chris.
Sorry if my comment seemed flippant I know that winter down time can be a serious matter when building a business, the first couple of winters have broken many who have relied solely on weddings. I started when weddings here could only take place in a church or a town registry office (often dismal places). At that time weddings during winter months were very scarce and usually very low budget. In 1995 the market was opened to licensing other venues (still more restrictions here than you seem to have) and winter weddings increased as couples who didn't want a church wedding could choose from a variety of venues many of which offered very enticing packages. Over that time I have seen my market move to about 75% civil venues which are better spread throughout the year. However with the mood of pessimism and uncertainty which has been hanging over the country for the last few years, the whole wedding market seems to have shrunk in both numbers and budgets so finding things to earn from away from weddings is becoming more necessary throughout the year, not just in the winter.

My holiday comment though tongue in cheek wasn't to far away from my reality. We have a home in France which we go to whenever work is short in the winter, though unfortunately not for three months at a time. I had spent many winter months in UK fretting when no work was coming in but now with good communications (and Ryanair) I can keep my business ticking over during quiet times just as easily as I can at home here in UK. I note that Alex, the member who's question raised this thread, is in France and I assume that he is either a French national or fluent speaker as I found it extremely difficult to build a business in that country as a non-national.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 06:49 AM   #9
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

I've just realised that I haven't offered any suggestions as you had asked for; here are some of the things I've done to expand the range of work I get.
Contacted schools offering to film their productions for free, just ask for exclusive sales of DVDs with a minimum number. I have 5 or 6 regulars.
The same with local dance and am/dram groups, again a few regulars and the odd one-offs.
I've contacted events organisers and I've picked-up quite a few seminars, company promotions and charity events. I either produced video inserts for presentations, provide live cameras for cctv room screens or records the event for them to send out to those that attended or for their use as a tool to attract new sponsors for future events.
I also have a nice connection with a health and safety compliance company producing individual induction videos for companies.
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 08:24 AM   #10
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Hi George

Not a issue at all except I was slightly jealous!!!

Thanks for that input..I'm sure Alex will appreciate the ideas!! I do much the same thing with dance companies..as long as you have a reasonable audience it pays to do the gig for free..my dance company I do here also distributes the DVD's for me and takes pre-orders at interval...it's always proven profitable for me.

Schools in Australia are a nightmare! You have to have police clearance now PLUS a signed release from every single parent!! Really not worth the hassle..they treat videographers like they were child molesters!!!
I don't do them at all but IF a school has a concert/performance at a public venue you don't need all the red tape ..it's only if it's held at the school.

I think that any seminar/presentation/lecture etc etc is worth doing "on spec" as long as you know roughly how many people will attend...it's no good doing a shoot for 2 hours and selling 2 DVD's!!

Your ideas are much appreciated..I might even use some myself!!

Chris
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Old May 23rd, 2012, 08:58 AM   #11
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Hi Chris.

I only do the schools and dance groups if they pre-sell the DVDs, I require that they sell a minimum, they take in all the money and do all the distributing, I will only deliver to the school premises never to individuals. and insist on just one payment. I did the first few times sell direct to parents, that was a nightmare The schools' usually add a mark-up and I give them a couple of free ones. As for CRB, I know it's generally perceived to be an issue but I've never had a problem (must have an honest face). I do insist that I'm never in a position where there is not a teacher or official in the room. They all do however get permission from all of the parents to agree for the performance to be recorded and I never put anything on the internet. I clear all materials after 3 months after I know they've had the copies they want.

As for the seminar/eventsI don't do those on spec I do it on a day rate and they add a mark-up and sell it in their corporate packages as an option. I don't get every event, only when a company goes for it. Despite the impression of gloom there are still companies with money to spend.

This week I've had a warehouse induction, a manufacturer one tomorrow a drama production on Friday night and a wedding on Saturday (the first this year) and wayho the sun is shining for the first weekend in I don't know how long. If I had to pick a year with no early weddings this would have been the one with so many cold wet weekends so far.

Chris If you're interested in seeing the induction I've just completed to get an idea of what they are PM me. As they are on company premises I don't post publicly.

Last edited by George Kilroy; May 23rd, 2012 at 09:25 AM. Reason: typo
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Old July 23rd, 2012, 03:29 PM   #12
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Funerals.

Stable, always to be found, and family that wants to remember with a biographical DVD. Coverage includes shooting stories of the family & friends, photo albums, momento. Split with the funeral home to get your foot in the door and card up front.
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Old July 24th, 2012, 10:31 AM   #13
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

I shoot Birthdays (Filipino 18th to be exact), they are as extravagant as weddings. Basically it is like a wedding shoot without the ceremony. Advertise on the local Filipino community newspaper in your area. There's no slow months I did 3 in December last year.

Next in line would be funerals, very easy to shoot and edit.

My 2 cents!
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Old July 24th, 2012, 07:46 PM   #14
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

I've found that nothing beats weddings for well paid, well organised, steady income. I tried commercial work and found it very hard. Lots of dithering people to organise and tight budgets. The next best sideline for me is converting peoples old VHS video tapes to DVD format. Quite a nice little earner...
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Old July 24th, 2012, 11:49 PM   #15
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Re: What to do when Weddings are Scarce?

Quote:
Next in line would be funerals, very easy to shoot and edit.
I once got a call out of the blue to shoot a funeral. The person on the phone told me the purpose of the video was so they could send it to relatives who were living out of Hawaii. Easy money, I thought, just shoot and edit and give them the finished product!

When I arrived at the chapel, I found out the deceased was a college kid who died in a motorcycle crash. He was Vietnamese. To my horror, it was an open casket funeral. Lots of college kids came, and huddled around the body, openly sobbing. The kid's mother was crying so hard that they had to literally pry her off her son's body. They carried her out, and she was kicking and screaming at the top of her lungs for her son. What do you shoot in this kind of situation? I felt so sick, I was shaking from the heaving. I made a promise to myself never to shoot another funeral again.
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