Evan T. Perry

The Big 30 and What it Means

Baby Evan
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At about noon this past Thursday the 4th of February, I officially lived outside the womb for three decades. Yep, I'm now elderly, but interestingly, as every birthday that came before, the day came and went without too much fanfare. I certainly don't feel any different. I have been blessed with my mother's genes: A thin build, energy, elasticity . . . Compared to some of my friends who struggle with a few pounds or climbing a steep staircase, I am doing really well and besides playing hockey several times a week, being an event videographer, and walking in the New England elements, I haven't really 'earned' my body. Mentally, I feel as sharp as ever, although the further from college I get, the more useless trivia and high-end math skills I no longer need slip away. That's normal, right?

Despite feeling pretty good and looking fabulous, much has happened over the past 30 years. When I was born, the Internet was not around and personal computers were a luxury item. The Digital Age was just beginning, but I feel like everyone expounds on how much and how fast life has changed technologically since the 80's. So how about what has changed when it comes to turning 30 years old?

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Since I was born, life expectancy has gone up almost 4 years in America. At the same time, through fitness and surgeries, it seems like all our 'role model' celebrities don't really age or even get younger. Have you seen JLo? We have a social media presence that allows us to connect with people like never before. The average college debt is over $30,000 and it's hard to find a paying job in a field after college. All these factors form the archetypal millennial, who goes to college, accrues crushing debt, takes years to find a job in their field, and lives at their parents house longer than previous generations because they can't afford to move out. This person has all the ingredients to mature slower than previous generations. I mean, if you leave home at 18 to get married, buy a house, and start a family, there are certain skills you need to exist independent of your parents, but those skills don't need to be acquired as fast for kids who will definitely stay at home until at least the end of college. A millennial mind is well educated, but might not have the 'common sense' skills they need to survive on their own right away. Thus, true maturity comes a little later in life for these recent generations and, like me, people might not have the sense of purpose or know what they want out of life until thirty or even a little after.

There is also a sort of melding of generations where definitive boundaries once existed. A common theme from the 60's on up to the 90's in music, TV, and movies: Parents just don't understand! And there still is a gap between Parents and kids, but it seems to shrink every year. It makes sense, as parents are in their children's lives, directly, longer and longer and media is so easy to access and consume. I know my mom is far more updated on the pop music scene than I am and she also uses Instagram, Facebook, and other social media once reserved for young whippersnappers. Parents are easier to talk to, less hard nosed, more understanding (in general). I mean gender, race, and other barriers seem to fall everyday or at least inch closer to total equality. There are so many people willing to question authority or take a rationalist point of view (Most times to their detriment), that parents and grand parents are able to comprehend issues with greater tact and understanding than ever before. And so, in today's world, when generations are growing similar, age becomes of less importance.

When I crossed into a new decade earlier this week, it was by no means the end of my youthfulness by my own standards, but also by the standards of society. I'm 30. So what? Life is harder than ever, so it takes longer for some of us to truly find ourselves.

Time will tell if I am treated differently for being 30 or the same. For instance, as an online dating user, will potential matches think twice about me now that I'm not in my twenties? Does age matter and if so, when? Are there certain expectations that come with being a certain age? I look forward to finding out. Until I am truly old 'though, I will continue to eat Fruit Loops for breakfast, laugh at fart jokes, and send frequent snapchats secure in the fact that while I might be 30 years old in official terms, I'm definitely still mostly a child at heart.  

The Wedding Videographer Stigma

Bride Groom Golfcart

Greetings users!

Over the years, I have made at least some of my living off of the shooting and editing of weddings. Sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly, but especially now. Wedding videos are where I cut my teeth as an editor and grew to be a not-too-shabby videographer. I learned the hard lessons about the line between artistry and formula, working for an audience, and pushing the envelope of quality and execution. That sounds fantastic, right? Unfortunately, as a video professional, there are a few lines of work that will give you a bit of a bad rep: Porn is definitely a big one, then making photo slide shows, and finally wedding videography. As I navigate the professional film and video world, I always pause slightly before divulging my involvement in weddings, but thankfully the scene is changing and someday all of my peers will realize just how valuable the right wedding experience can be. Until then, here are three types of people I run into in the professional world and their thoughts on the wedding industry.

Move Along Junior!

The first person I meet usually is somebody who joined the industry in 80's or before. He (or she) has a plum job as a producer of Bank of America ads or is a major player in state or national production organizations. Basically, they rose to 'the top' where they make bank. When I introduce myself to them, I will always mention my comprehensive internship at Redtree Productions, a well established production firm in Boston, before anything else. After that, I have to explain what I'm doing now and what I'm doing now is making the majority of my money off of shooting and editing wedding films. A slight smile forms before me. "Good for you, Evan! Let me know when you want to be serious" they say in certain terms as they turn quickly to the next person in the room.

For most folks in that age bracket, they remember the weddings they attended in the 80's and 90's. There was a sniveling toad of a person lugging around a fat VHS camcorder, standing in the corner of the church, and usually mouth breathing as the toad's nose was clogged with an allergy to any real knowledge of composition, sound recording, or storytelling. This person usually spent Monday through Friday at a desk job and dreaming of making great movies like Star Wars, but settling on a consumer camera and a library book about mise-en-scène . . .

When I admit to being a wedding videographer, for some folks I become the inexperienced toad that stands in a corner, scratching my ass, and creating a in-camera edit that I will copy, but not really look at or review. That's profiling! That's not fair! . . . but that's the way the wedding video industry was then. It was mostly beneath a skilled professional to film a wedding for many years. It's just a stupid home movie after all. It's not something marketable to a larger audience. Wrong.

Why You Slumming It?

The next person I encounter may or may not be a little more contemporary. They also have a great job on the crew of an on-going TV show or have critical acclaim for some documentary they made as a young twenty-something. They claim to be artists in their field. When I tell them about being a wedding videographer, their eyes blink a couple times as the words settle in, they lay a hand on my shoulder, and say something like this: "Well at least you have your feet on the ground, Evan. That's the important thing. I'm sure something better will come up soon."

For these highly-touted individuals, they see wedding videos on the web and they know how complex and awesome the industry has become, but they always feel the gig to be far beneath them. After all, there are awards for wedding videography, but they are largely ceremonial or based on client reviews. A great documentary on the other hand . . . They also feel as though they could (Should they feel the need to stoop to such a worm's eye view) outdo any wedding videographer with their acclaimed filmmaking skills. For them, weddings are a gig you take out of desperation or if you just aren't good enough for a 'real' industry job. Now, there is some truth to that sentiment in some cases, but one thing is for sure: The skill set required to do a high-end wedding video today is NOT something you can just jump into and camera experience in the documentary, television, or narrative world doesn't translate to the running around and stress of a wedding videographer's day. Maybe they should do an award-winning doc on my typical wedding day and the edit after. Then they might understand.

I'm Hungry!

That leads me to the third person I meet: The do all, know all. This person actually embraces my choice of concentration in word if not thought and may even have filmed a couple weddings (or so they say). They are grips, set designers, production assistants and other below-the-line folks. They will hurriedly spout off everything they know about wedding videos. It goes something like this: "Sweet man! I shot a couple weddings back in the day too. You shooting on DSLRs? I hear that is the way to go. You know, I've used DSLRs and I'll shoot the wedding with you tomorrow if you want. I can also edit it too."

This person is a dangerous person. They do many things. They're usually good at some of them. They want to fill their schedule. Yes, they might have shot a wedding before and might even have the skills, but they haven't shot a wedding with me. Before I hire anybody to shoot with me, I not only have to vet their talent, but make sure that they shoot for the kind of edit I want and completely match my style. They may seem to value the work, but they are hitting the record button for the 8-hour day and handing in the footage at the end like a timecard. If someone doesn't understand these things, then they don't value the wedding gig the way I do.

So the problem I'll face in the foreseeable future with being a wedding videographer is this idea of value. Of course, I have to sell the value of my work to brides and grooms all the time, but I also have to sell myself to my peers as well. The way I strive to shoot and edit a wedding takes a pant load of commitment, time, energy, caring . . . And I will make money, and I will build a good reputation, and someday I'll look an Oscar winner in the eye and they might understand that my goal and line of work is a choice that may not be widely praised, but for at least 2 people, newly-wed, it will be the highlight of their entire lives. For me, that's all the reward I need.

Happy New Year!

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Hello Internet,

Let me introduce myself! I am the insufferable Evan T. Perry. What's the 'T' stand for? Not important. What IS important is that this is the first blog post on my new website. I plan to use this blog as a public place to talk about stuff that I think is cool and important and, of course, you are invited to come along for the ride if you like. You won't be sorry!

Anyway, I am a creative guy (as you shall soon discover) and I have taken to the film and video industry as a freelancer in the Boston area. I've done a great many things which I'll be likely to write about on this blog. You know cool stuff. My job is way cooler than your job, but I'm always poor. Comes with the territory! I also write and draw and play hockey and do all sorts of stuff like that and I fully plan to write about all of my endeavors and adventures both personal and professional.

My opinions are varied and my personality a bit volatile. In other words, I'm a nice guy, but will voice my opinion loudly. I always make sure to look at things from every angle before making a decision and love a great debate. That said, I'm usually almost always with certainty in the right all the time. So suck it.

When you read this blog, remember that this site may have my name on it but it is public for a reason and that is to have you see inside my head a little and comment and critique my thoughts. I'm always curious if I'm full of bull or not, so let me know if I am.

So stay tuned! I promise you'll be glad you stayed!

- Evan