Exactly one year ago, I sat on a stage surrounded by my peers with a sick feeling in my stomach. Being in front of a crowd has always made me uncomfortable and self conscious. My heart thudded as my name was called and I did my best not to trip on my way to receive my diploma. Well, long story short, I didn't fall and I managed an awkward smile toward my family in the crowd before returning to my seat.
But stage fright wasn't the only reason my stomach churned with nerves. This was the moment I had been waiting for, the moment that I would receive my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and have all of the answers to the "what are you going to do with your life" questions. But to be honest, I still didn't have the answer to that question. All I knew was that I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to create videos and photos. How? I wasn't sure.
My undergrad work was all about self-reflection and included a healthy dose of the existential crisis I didn't even know I was having. A large majority of my photography and video art were self portraits that dealt with confusion, instability and using masks (sometimes literally) to change my form and identity. Even then, Alex was my right hand man, always patiently assisting me so I could get my shot just right. But for the most part, I unintentionally embodied that lonely solo artist. I wasn't lonely, but my work sure was.
That night, exactly one year ago, I went to bed feeling like I had no clear path in front of me. In school, I perfected my craft. I could edit video in Adobe Premiere in my sleep, and I knew my way around a camera better than my cell phone. But never once during my schooling were we offered any other suggestion to answer the "what are you going to do for a living" question other than showing at galleries. That was how success as a fine artist was measured: the number of galleries your work was shown in. But I quickly discovered that showing in galleries wasn't for me, it made me want to rip my work off the wall and run as far away as possible.
So if I didn't want to show at galleries, what was I supposed to do? I decided to go out on a limb. I loved watching wedding films. I often sat at my computer bawling over a five minute highlight film. I wanted to give it a try myself. I took a job at a successful Colorado studio and dove headfirst into the business. I listened to everything I was told and did my best to go above and beyond. Soon, the studio was trusting me with multiple shoots and edits every week.
I was shocked. Only a few months earlier, I was making art that was all about my own life and identity. But now, I was working for other people. And by other people, I don't just mean the studio, I mean the couple and their family. I quickly realized how much more fulfilling it is to create a work of art for someone else. I was honored to be there on one of the happiest days of their lives and be trusted to document those moments.
After the 2014 wedding season ended, I knew that I wanted to do this on my own. I had a list of things that I wanted my company to be about and I wanted to run my business on my terms:
1. I wanted to build real relationships with couples. I wanted to be more than just some girl who showed up to their wedding. I wanted the couple to feel comfortable in front of my cameras because they trust me.
2. I wanted to put my full energy into the film editing. Editing on another studio's clock was a constant struggle for me because I was given a time limit for each edit. Working for myself would allow me to perfect a film and not worry about the clock counting down. I could provide much higher quality films this way.
3. I wanted to work with another videographer whose style meshed with mine. I quickly learned that Alex was the perfect person to work with. The many times we collaborated previously proved to me that we could effectively and efficiently work together on a wedding.
So that's what we did. We built our own business around our desire to provide couples with beautiful, high quality films as well as build a strong relationship with them.
A year ago, I never would have expected to be where I am today. But I am thrilled and thankful knowing that I found my passion and I finally know what I want to do with my life. And that is make wedding films.