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


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Old May 7th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #1
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Your Thoughts plz.. Is this really just a man's business?

Hello, I'm starting a new thread even though I have on going right now, because this is basically not on the same subject.

My question is, do you think potential clients will be put off by the fact that I am female? I have noticed that mostly EVERYONE on this forum is a male, and in fact, fairly older than myself, (I'm only 20)

The truth is my goal is to become a live performance videographer, and music video director (for local bands) I've been trying to find a band to do a free video for. No one seems to take my seriously. So finally I decided to throw this question your way and see what you guys think.

Is it that I'm to young.. that I am female..? That I have little experience. I may have little experience, but I've got some talent, and I can't learn and grow without more experience. I want to get to the point where I am making money. Perhaps I seem very unprofessional because.. I'm a one-woman crew, and I don't have fancy equipment. I've got my camera and my computer.. thats about it..

so what are your thoughts on this
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Old May 7th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #2
 
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Jenna...

Wherever the answer may lie, if could offer you my own experience...don't ever give up on your dreams. While some people may diminish you for being female, there are just as many people who won't. My own experience is that this business really relies on reputation. As much as people may deny it, it really is a "good ole boy(or girl)" network. I'm sure that there will be some who'll flame me for telling you this, but, so it is. It takes time to develop your friends and your contacts. It takes time for you to develop credentials. Once you've established your skills and talents, the wrok will come more easily. But, you can spend years developing that reputation. Always have a positive attitude, always be dependable...everything else will fall out in time. And don't let ANYONE tell you you can't do it.

Best of luck
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Old May 7th, 2007, 06:33 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
Hello, I'm starting a new thread even though I have on going right now, because this is basically not on the same subject.

My question is, do you think potential clients will be put off by the fact that I am female? I have noticed that mostly EVERYONE on this forum is a male, and in fact, fairly older than myself, (I'm only 20)

The truth is my goal is to become a live performance videographer, and music video director (for local bands) I've been trying to find a band to do a free video for. No one seems to take my seriously. So finally I decided to throw this question your way and see what you guys think.

Is it that I'm to young.. that I am female..? That I have little experience. I may have little experience, but I've got some talent, and I can't learn and grow without more experience. I want to get to the point where I am making money. Perhaps I seem very unprofessional because.. I'm a one-woman crew, and I don't have fancy equipment. I've got my camera and my computer.. thats about it..

so what are your thoughts on this
If you want it girl, then you go for it! My wife and I hammer this idea towards our daughter just about every day. Progress is not easy for anyone. Perseverance levels the playing field. Ask any football lineman or soccer foward (mens or womens). You have to be serious, however.

Most, but not all, of the promising young videographers in my community are women. You have, in your own mind, an extremely important perspective ... yours. Do not let it fade.

After a career of producing events I "retired" to a new world of producing event video. I figure I have 15 - 20 more years of productivity before my body says "NO MORE". I started with one camera and a computer that could not produce DVD's. You can do a lot with one camera. One of the best projects I have ever done was shot with one camera and edited on iMovie. Yes, it took FOR EVER to complete!

One always learns the most when one is at the greatest disadvantage.

Making money. Give your work away once, but only once. After that, charge a fee. Build the fee upwards over time as your confidence increases.

Accept that the learning curve will never end. I received my Master's Degree 31 years ago, and the realization that learning never stops has been mostly the love side of a typical love-hate relationship. Having to learn a new challenge when I have a deadline to meet is one of the hate parts. There are others, but they vary from one day to another.

Do not stray from your goal, but regognize that as you gain experience your goal will change to ... somewhere ... which will likely be the best direction to follow.

Bottom line, if you want this kind of career, then do it. Methodically, carefully.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 06:54 PM   #4
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In my years in the business I've seen more and more and more females getting into the video business. Young an "old" alike. None of that matters. The only thing that DOES matter is YOU. Are you willing to work hard, work smart, work for less than you might think it's worth in the beginning, go out of your comfort zone and meet new people, let the world know who you are and what you do?
Your sucess won't come from being the worlds best camera operator or editor (it helps to be good though) but from your desire inside and never ever giving up on your dream.
Les Brown a very very well known motivational speaker has always said "it ain't over til YOU win"-go for it, you sound like you know exactly what you want-so go, GO GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO! ;-)
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Old May 7th, 2007, 07:11 PM   #5
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It doesn't matter and the point is not to use it as an excuse. If you get good, you will have a niche. You will likely have to do so free stuff for a real, even offer it to someone you know, so you will have it to show your future paying customers..... From what I've seen in this forum, the successful shooters have a style of their own that makes them unique, and your orientation, should lent itself to a style different from others.

And from the few wedding I've done, there are situations in the bridal dressing areas where a woman will have the advantage over a man.. just for modesty issues alone. In the weddings I shot, my wife would go into those situations with the cameras and get some great stuff....

Finally, you need help, so plan on adding someone to your "crew" in the future, as you develop the business.
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Old May 7th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #6
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No way is this just a man's business! I've never lost a wedding because they'd rather have a man. In fact, I've had bride's tell me that they love the fact that a woman is filming her wedding. I believe it helps me more than it has ever hindered me.

As far as music videos go... go out to your local clubs and talk to the bands that are playing. I'm sure you'll find lots of bands that would LOVE to have you film a free music video for them. Before I started doing wedding videos I worked with a few local bands doing videos, flyers CD jacket design and booking. I've never had any not take me seriously because I was a woman. I would still love to be doing that but in my small town it just doesn't pay the bills!

Good luck and go for it. If you get a great portfolio you won't have a problem getting the jobs!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 09:50 PM   #7
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My question is, do you think potential clients will be put off by the fact that I am female? I have noticed that mostly EVERYONE on this forum is a male, and in fact, fairly older than myself, (I'm only 20)

no, in fact it will be to ur benefit, considering the amount of men who ar ein this industry the "female" trust factor will always be one of those markets that men will never be able to tap into, unless they have a female working for them))

The truth is my goal is to become a live performance videographer, and music video director (for local bands) I've been trying to find a band to do a free video for. No one seems to take my seriously. So finally I decided to throw this question your way and see what you guys think.

((When starting out doing video clips etc, at weddings we started filming the bands as we would normally film them for a clip
We then sent a snippet of that wedding (where that band performd) to the band itself, then offered the band a free shoot of a similar nature but "to be highly focused on the performance""
Thats opne way to get a yes
Anoher option is to go out to live gigs and approach the bands upon completion of the gig and advise them of who you are and what you propose. Also be sure to tell them that its free and you get a folio while they get a free demo so its a win win at no cost (save for ur time)


Is it that I'm to young.. that I am female..?
((youth can be a deterant (ie experience) but along with youth comes technical savvy so its a much like a heads/tails thing here.. ))

That I have little experience. I may have little experience, but I've got some talent, and I can't learn and grow without more experience.
((If thats teh case, i recomend you try to hook up with an established business and do a few jobs with them))

I want to get to the point where I am making money. Perhaps I seem very unprofessional because.. I'm a one-woman crew, and I don't have fancy equipment. I've got my camera and my computer.. thats about it..

((Gotta start somewhere))

so what are your thoughts on this[/QUOTE]
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Heather Darling View Post
No way is this just a man's business! I've never lost a wedding because they'd rather have a man. In fact, I've had bride's tell me that they love the fact that a woman is filming her wedding. I believe it helps me more than it has ever hindered me.
I agree here. Coming from a familliar market to you... I can tell you that it has not hindered at all being a female in the Wedding Video business. It has helped in several cases, where brides think they are getting the "woman's touch". At a bridal show, a bride said to me "women know what women want", and really in some ways she's right (and that is not meant to be negative to all my male mentors on this board).

Artistically, we all differ... men and women, old and young, but coming from a young female in a near by area... I'm telling you if you want it, you'll get it!!Hang in there. Start small and build from there. This is my first "big" year (I started 1 1/2 years ago) and I booked over 25 weddings this year, without much effort. Word of mouth is your best bet. Stay positive and good luck!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 10:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
.. I'm a one-woman crew, and I don't have fancy equipment. I've got my camera and my computer.. thats about it..
Thats how I started (twas a one man crew tho). And I agree it was tough, the main thing to realize is that you will need to be doing I say a few jobs for free or next to free (a few hundred bucks). I shot my absolute first wedding video only 10 months ago fresh out of film skool & owned basically a dual core computer and a little Sony HC1.

With half a dozen or so solid highlight reels later (well ~solid considering my limited time in teh business) this summer my schedule is fully booked with weddings and altho I'm not making a killing I am averaging decent money/wedding and am also signing large corporate events, concerts, fashions shows etc etc.

You're dead right about the hardest thing for you will be to get experience. You will need to start off being able to secure worthy events to do, and do them for cheap or next to cheap and absolutely do a KICKA$$ job on them, blow away clientelle and the jobs will ideally run in. When I say KICKA$$, i mean everything from shooting style, cutting, lighting, framing, colour correction, understadning film language, understanding what NOT to do, and making ur product look like its worth much more then it is; yes all this and u'll have to do it for basically free; it sux yes but that was my approach & im not saying itll pay off for eveyrone but it did for me (i hope!) *gulp*.

For u being 20 years old your biggest obstacle re: wedding industry may be the fact that you may not have that many freinds getting married right now and hence may not have the oppurtunity to do free weddings, it will be hard pressed to find a complete stranger who will allow you to shoot their wedding even for next to free.

I did a few weddings for dirt cheap for a 3 closest friends who had trusted and seen my work in film school (a sad excuse for a semi-portfolio), im in my late 20s but look early 20s and luckily weddings are a dime a dozen amongst my close friends. Even with incomplete work, LOL i was able to cut quick trailers and sell and get jobs from some really really stellar raw footage (lol yes raw footage, i'd show the clients like the best shots), and the real jobs were done decently well, I offered *fair* prices (considering my level of experience) and more work came in.

Do not worry about lack of fancy equipment, I started off with an HC1, and provided you shoot well, fully xploit the strengths and weaknesses of whatever cam you own, are good in post, you can make ur productions look like costed 2-3 times as much.

I like you; easily could tell ppls had serious doubt in my video ability from the way I looked, age being the most important factor, but once I secured any job I milked it for everything it was worth in terms of what I learned, tryign to make it as good & as 'pro' as I could.

Learn AS MUCH as you can from the forums the most important from everyone elses mistakes on the forums, do not take the brute force approach and have to learn all the hard lessons urself. I think as a female you have a killer advantage compared to guys when it comes down to capturing the emotional impact of a wedding, as my gf always gives me invaluable insight from a females point of few when helpign assess my work.

If not weddings, look around and pay close attention to your close freinds & family, perhaps there is some sorta niche video they need that you can start upon, do a killer job and build a portfolio from there. Or perhaps build a portfolio doing candid work, you will need to be creative when coming up with those first few painstaiking jobs worthy of your 'professional' portfolio.

If you have the talent/open mind wiling to work hard as hell I believe it's possible to succeed, it's all about portfolio! Who knows perhaps one year from now you will be complaining how you are up to your neck in video work and are unable to keep up!

Best of luck!!!
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Old May 7th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #10
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Stay focused and commited and you will get the work, especially if your love of the work shows through. My wife and I work together filming weddings and I have to say that many brides have a certain level of comfort knowing she is there. Just be persistent and those that put you off might someday wish they hadn't.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #11
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I would definitely say females have an advantage in the wedding business. Girls just know that other girls get what weddings are about. And being young is an advantage too. Most of the people getting married are probably near your age group, which will allow them to relate to you better.

Embrace being female as an advantage . . trust me.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 05:25 AM   #12
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Know girlz alloud! Git owt!

I think if you do good work, people will take you seriously.

As a beginner, once you start making money and get a bit of a budget I highly recommend that you spend every penny you can on:

1. A good professional camera (~$3,500) that isn't so small it looks like a consumer cam. Get a total of at least three batteries and two should be big.

2. A very good wireless lavalier system. $2000 is not too much to spend on the peace of mind for a good wireless.

3. A decent tripod.

4. A monopod.

Do exactly that as soon as the budget allows THEN STOP SPENDING MONEY until you start making serious money. It is easy to get into an upgrade frenzy and you can waste a lot of money. As soon as I got one really good camera, the equipment started to pay for itself and didn't need another upgrade for over 5 years. I may NEVER need to buy a new wireless lav system. Sure, corrosion may take it's toll, but my Lectrosonics is practically bulletproof. It paid for itself years ago in peace of mind alone.

The only detriment to being a female in this business is that it may be hard to see over tall people in the crowd. That's what monopods and flip-out LCD screen are for.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 08:01 AM   #13
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Jenna,

Since you're in PA, might I recommend you try visiting a GPVA meeting. We're the largest local videographer's association in the country and our next meeting is a week from today. Next meeting is our annual "Battle of the Editors" where 12 contestants each compete with a clip from the same footage. It's really a great time and I highly recommend you try and make a meeting.

Drop me an email if you're interested, daubert@eventdvp.com

Also, here's the GPVA site - www.gpva.com
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Old May 8th, 2007, 09:40 AM   #14
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Interesting question. Here's something else to keep in mind Jenna.

I find most brides to be highly-traditionalistic and conservative and feel odd dealing with women in this business. They may give you a harder time and may treat you as if you don't know what you are doing. With males, totally different story. Because I've worked both video and photo, I get to see the difference. I've worked with many male photographers and videographers who have no style, are sloppy, do the same things over and over again, suck at relationships with their customers, and will still get higher praise just because they are guys. They are referred over and over again and have a steady line of work, even though they suck.

On the other hand, customers who are not traditionalistic at all tend to value you highly and will make you feel appreciated as a woman. In fact, I've had brides who hired all-female wedding vendors, because they themselves work in fields dominated by men. But truth be told, these customers are far and few between.

If I had to make a rough guestimate, I would say, 75% are more like the first set. Find ways to make it work. You can. I don't think this will change until more people see women in this business, as a norm, rather than the odd exception. So if you like it, continue to do it, and do it well.
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Old May 8th, 2007, 10:00 AM   #15
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Hi Jenna,
We are a husband and wife team who film weddings mostly, I find that most people like the fact that my wife works with me and we are known as the husband and wife team more often than our business name. When we put a shoot together i find that most of the shots the bride likes are taken by my wife. It is really nice to have a women's point of view because they know what a women wants, otherwise my videos would be too quick and over the top with effects. As far as equipment goes, we all started out with hust the basics and went up from there. Don't let anyone get you down and focus on the customer and you'll be just fine. It does take a while before the ball gets rolling though. We did 4 weddings our first year, 10 our second year, and we are at 12 this year, so it is a slow rise which gets me down because I want results quickly but you have to be patient.
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