This past weekend, my little sister got married and I was honored to be there to film her nuptials, providing her a record of her blessed day. My sister did a lot of outstanding work on the wedding details (including the decorations and the specific events), and thanks in part to her wedding and event planner, Selina Rose, who helped her organize and pull off the magic of the 1920s, I was able to capture some fantastic footage. (I would also like to thank the Fallbrook Film Factory for allowing me the use of their equipment to do just that.)
It all started out on the soft sands of the beach, where the bride and groom took their places to bind themselves as one under the eyes of God. Being that the ceremony started at four, I was hoping the sun wouldn’t be an issue as far as lighting, but when all was said and done, the sight was certainly one to behold. And since the railroad tracks played a pretty large part in the theme of the wedding, it was only fitting that there was a working railroad track right there at the edge of the cliffs.
During the ceremony, the bride and groom, instead of doing a familiar unity candle, chose to write letters to each other about why they fell in love. They placed those letters in a wine box (with an unopened bottle of wine, of course) and locked it tight, so that should they find themselves in troubled waters in five years time, they can open the box and remind each other why they fell in love in the first place.
The wedding then moved to the reception, where there were casino games (including blackjack and craps), dancing, a photo booth with 20s-style props, and all-out fun. There was also an open bar (at the adults-only reception!), but when my sister learned that the bar was only “open” for an hour, she didn’t panic; she just stayed with the theme of the night and gave everyone in the bridal party a flask, which they could then fill during the open bar and not have to pay for it later. Prohibition be d***ed!
But the best of all was the short silent film that played during dinner (okay… so I’m a little biased — sue me).
When my sister first asked if I could come up with a short silent film, I didn’t have to be asked twice. On top of my love of making movies, I was familiar with the type of style she was looking for after having worked on a Charlie Chaplin commercial for the Fallbrook Film Festival, Charlie’s Ticket. Her main reference was the silent film that introduces us to the Three Amigos, so after asking a few questions about where her and her (now) husband met, their first kiss, etc., I went to work on a script.
Though the script was fun and had all of the elements she was looking for, it was far too personal, diving too close to actual events. She didn’t want that; she wanted something original and completely fictional. So I went back to the drawing board. With only a few days to come up with something fresh (or else scrapping the entire film idea altogether, which would have been very disappointing), I went back and watched the Three Amigos short film a couple of times, viewed some old silent films on YouTube, and came up with a brand new, original script.
This time, I hit the nail on the head! She loved it. The next weekend, I traveled out to Arizona to film her, my older sister and their significant others in what would become, “The Adventures of Hero & Damsel.” We shot the last scene on Saturday afternoon and the rest over the course of about seven hours on Sunday. I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but we all had a lot of laughs during production and all of the participants — though not actors — were all game for not only everything I had written, but those things I (or one of them) suggested on the fly.
Editing was quite easy on this one, too — smooth and concise. It was finding and editing the music that took the longest. Luckily, most of the tracks that I found (and liked) fit near perfect in the spots I imagined them to be in. Others I had to adjust and fix to make work (and finding the right transitions was a bit troublesome at times), but in the end, everything came together beautifully. I was excited for my sister to see the end product. When she came out to California to finalize the venue, we tested the video there and she was extremely happy with it — mind blown!
I don’t know how well the video will go over with the general public (due to some very specific inside jokes), but the crowd at the wedding were in stitches throughout. Most were privy to the inside jokes and others probably just thought it was funny to watch people they knew goof around on screen. The bottom line is, everyone (at least those it was meant for) thought it was fabulous. If I had had more time, I might have done a couple of things differently, but I’m pleased with the results and was happy I could give this gift to my sister.
And now that the wedding is officially over, it’s on to editing the nine to ten hours of footage I recorded during the ceremony and the reception to provide the memories that will, like their love, last a lifetime.