2016 has had many ups and downs for my business, but in this post I’m going to focus on the downs. Before you decide I’m being too depressing and move onto a Buzzfeed quiz...hear me out.
When I sat down to make this list, I was trying to think of the biggest things I’ve learned or benefited from this year. However, when I was done with the list, I realized they all came from negative experiences or frustration. I admit, I can be really pessimistic, but that’s not how I see any of these learning experiences. Actually, I see them all as positives...and here’s why:
1. Research Pays Off
One of my biggest frustrations this year was not having a big enough platform to share my work. The wedding industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with hundreds of blogs and advertising outlets. But, out of the hundreds of blogs, not ONE was focused on video. I love photography, but I am truly jealous of all the opportunities photographers have to be featured and recognized by the industry. At the beginning of the year, I would seriously google, “wedding video blogs” practically every day. I refused to believe that someone hadn’t started one, or was at least in the process of starting one. I even dreamed of starting one myself, because I knew whoever started it first would be falling into a gold mine (and is basically a genius...cough cough Rachel Jo Silver). FINALLY, after searching for a while, I found Love Stories TV! It only had around 500 followers when I found it, but I knew I needed to feed them all the support I could. And no surprise, less than a year later they have a huge following. Honestly, I probably would have moved on from wedding videos if it weren’t for them. So a HUGE thanks to you guys...#1 fan!
2. Build Up Strengths, Not Weaknesses
I follow a lot of extremely talented filmmakers, and many of them film weddings as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a wedding film so well made, that I instantly wanted to throw in the towel. There is a level of talent I know I will never be able to achieve, so what’s the point?! This is what the perfectionist in me tells me to believe. What I realized this year, is that there are both lies and truths to that statement. I will never own a $20,000 camera or be a drone goddess (they freak me out). I was comparing my work to people that produce movie quality cinematic videos, and I know that will never be me. What I did learn, though, is that my strength is connecting with with my viewers on emotional level. My focus in the past was on trying to make my videos look as cinematic as possible (something I would always come up short in), rather than taking what I was already good at to the next level. This realization definitely came full circle, when one of my videos was announced, “most viewed wedding video of 2016,” by Love Stories TV.
3. Speak Up
Circling back to wedding blogs. I’ve had several opportunities to work with so many talented vendors in putting together styled shoots. Styled shoots are great for connecting with vendors in the industry, and I would never turn one down for that reason. However, with a styled shoot one of the main goals is to submit that shoot and be featured on a blog as a team. It’s free advertising, and is great accreditation to potential clients. I was apart of a few different shoots the last year that were picked up by the top wedding blogs. However, three different times in a row I went to view the published posts, and my video was no where to be found. It was a hard blow to the stomach each time. I have the tendency to remain quiet, and move on when it comes to things like that. But, this was only creating hard feelings and leaving me wanting to give up. So, each time I awkwardly emailed the blogs to find out the issue. My fear was always that the video wasn’t good enough, so huge part of me would rather not know the reason. But, what I found each time, was that they just forgot (and then went back a few days after it was published and added it). Video isn’t a priority for them, and I’m really hoping this will change soon. I’m not going to call out any of the blogs, but HEY, get with the program...video is important too! :(
4. Mistakes Suck, But...
I can not tell you how many dreams (nightmares really) I’ve had where I’m filming a wedding, and suddenly my arms become paralyzed during the ceremony. I cannot move my legs, speak, and I lose all control over my arms. Everyone then is looking at me like, “why aren’t you filming the most important moment of their lives!!” And I’m just over here looking like one of those used car balloon men. Luckily, that’s never happened in real life. But, there have been moments when I’ve made mistakes, and every time I take it much harder than anyone else. Wether it's an audio issue, or someone's DVD or USB isn’t working after delivery. Each time, I’ve learned how to do it better for the next time, and that’s really the best way I learn, like it or not.
5. Turn Pressure Into Productivity
I am the type of person that can easily become paralyzed under pressure. Not the type of pressure where you have a deadline, and you’ve procrastinated too long. Rather, the type of pressure only you can put on yourself. The type of pressure that comes straight from your insecurities whispering, “you’ll never be successful” or “nobody takes you seriously.” I’ve had days where I give into the paralysis, and it ironically feels scarily like the dream I described above. But then, there are days like today, when I consciously fight against it - like writing this post about it. Even though small steps can seem pointless, I can guarantee you baby steps are better than being a paralyzed balloon man.