The Adventures of Mr Norbert Waggles - Part 1

Mr Norbert Waggles Esquire came to us on a chilly day in March. This is an entry from his journal regarding his new life with the Perry Family

11 March 2017 - I am embroiled in a conflict of wills: My people have seen my cheerful demeanor and hearty energy and deemed it unacceptable. Whereas my personality and deep moral convictions took me far in Tennessee, these New England humans find me overbearing and even a poor guest in their home. They called me Jasper and I certainly feel as if their job description for Dog of the House falls within servitude. Am I not a person? Am I not deserving respect and attention? They see me as a mutt and not as an educated and cultured individual. However they came to their decision, I find myself on the move once again. I sit in the rear of their auto back to the shelter from whence I came and then onto fosterhood. Again. I would say I'm bitterly disappointed, but if these people don't have use for an intellect such as mine, then why shed tears? Someday I will find a permanent arrangement.

Cont'd - This is interesting! We returned to the holding facility, but I was ushered right into the back of a waiting auto. The driver, a lovely person, spoke highly of me and seemed to have an unlimited supply of affection. I waited to see where this person was taking me. Perhaps back to my stomping grounds in the South? It was in that moment that I remembered a quote from the immortal Dr. King: "Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed". In that spirit, I made sure that the lovely person driving knew my presence lest she decide to chain me in another facility someplace or bring me into another narrow-minded family unit. I am in the prime of my life and need to find a place in a home where I'm treated with respect. It would also be nice to have benefits and a retirement plan, but that could be negotiated later.

Cont'd - The lovely person pulled into a driveway after our ride, and gestured widely. This apartment belonged to her and it was where I would be staying until she could find another position in another family. The place was nice: Lots of windows, a little space to run around, warm. The person owned a small cat slave named Scout. She was deaf and not at all welcoming, but like all slaves, she demurred to the will of her master. Cats are foolish creatures who believe that defiance is equivalent to freedom and control, but it is they who are closely controlled and confined into little worlds. It was but a few minutes before a man came to the house. He was dressed in a black uniform and cold from the negative temperatures outside. He saw me and introduced himself with an outstretched hand. My background and experience with people has made me quite nervous and skeptical of newcomers, but I knew right away that he was a kind person and unassuming. It became obvious that he lived in the apartment with the other human woman, the lovely one. For now, this would be my people. How long has yet to be seen. 

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.