This is the story of the first 2 years of Centrepiece Wedding Films.
In fact…. (immediate) correction. In 2018, Centrepiece Wedding Films didn’t exist.
In 2018 I was working for Equine Productions. A video production company specialising in creating films for the Equine world. I was primarily a video editor, but my skills were utilised as a camera operator, and this is also where I became a fully qualified drone operator.
It was a great place to work and I enjoyed being a vital cog in the wheel of the work they were producing. But I had this desire to create other work outside of the horsey world, and take my creativity in other interesting directions.
The idea of filming weddings came into my mind, and I was interested to explore this area further. The opportunity to film my first wedding presented itself to me back in May 2018, and I jumped at the chance. I met the couple and began planning how I would shoot different aspects of the day from the ceremony, to the first dance, and everything in between.
Now I guess many people may have kept things simple when filming their first wedding, perhaps using whatever equipment they had available to test the waters. But I had become accustomed to using some top quality cameras and audio gear whilst working for Equine Productions, and I wasn’t willing to compromise. I had already decided in my mind that filming wedding was an area I wanted to pursue. I was interested in the creative possibilities, and capturing the joy of a couples wedding day really appealed to me. Therefore I wanted to produce the best possible work I could that would not only provide lovely memories for the couple getting married, but would serve me well in gaining new wedding clients in the future. So….. I immediately went and bought myself a brand new drone, lightweight stabilised camera rig, as well as some mini microphones to capture quality audio throughout the ceremony and speeches. This was a big investment, but I did not regret the decision as this helped me capture some moments that I am still proud of to this day.
In those early days, anything earned was put straight back into purchasing new equipment, and that continued throughout much of 2019. A lot of equipment is required to produce the quality of films I wish to produce for my clients, and therefore the investment has been vital. I was also confident of the decisions I was making in those early days. Clients were happy with their wedding films – a pretty vital sign that things were going well!
In 2018, I shot 6 weddings. This was alongside full time employment. I was discovering ways to combine both worlds – a crucial component to building any business. Weekends were taken up with filming, and evenings were spent editing. Bookings were also coming in for 2019. Great news indeed, but when would be the right time to fully commit? Quit the day job….. take the plunge!?
Certainly not an easy decision to make with a mortgage to pay and 2 children at home. This is maybe not the most romantic side of starting a business but this was the tough decision I was faced with as the wedding season began in April 2019.
By the end of 2018, I was very happy with how my work had progressed and the showreel of work I had produced. It was time for the Centrepiece Wedding Films website to be made live, which featured the work I had produced during 2018. More bookings came thick and fast. During April and May I was filming every weekend. I felt that patience would be my best friend however. I wanted to build on the good work I had produced, and so during 2019 I intended to run Centrepiece Wedding Films alongside the security of a full time job. Standards could not slip. I worked late every evening to ensure I was dedicating enough time to each wedding film. I was also working on cultivating a strong mindset. I knew what I wanted to achieve, and I could only get there through the right perspective, as well as keeping myself fit and active in the process – something that I still believe strongly in today. I had to utilise every hour of the day!
I was becoming more efficient at producing quality results from the weddings I was shooting, and I was working alongside some excellent second shooters on wedding days, who were not only getting used to my own expectations, but were people I could rely on to produce the results I was after whilst also using their own creativity.
My thinking was to leave Equine Productions as the wedding season started in 2020. However I could not ignore the progress I was making as the bookings continued to come in, and towards the Autumn of 2019 I made the decision to leave the security of the day job and fully commit, investing in even more equipment in the process. I shot 22 weddings in 2019. Alongside a full time position working for a video production company, which in itself could be hard work and long hours, 2019 was the most intense year of my life. It was a requirement to sacrifice family time in order to get the business to where I intended. A very tough thing for me. I love my children more than anything in the world, but I knew if I stayed strong, the sacrifice in time back then would pay off in the long run.
As 2020 began, I had a number of bookings lined up, and I was very excited to kick start a new season which would involve shooting at some new venues, and a couple of trips abroad for destination weddings. As March rolled around, the world turned on its head with the coronavirus working its way across the world. My initial reaction was probably the same level of panic as everybody who is self employed, and with a family to support.
However, a level of acceptance has now washed over me. As I have used this time to reflect on where the last 2 years have led me, I feel extremely grateful for the opportunities that have come my way, and proud of the hard work that I have put in to get to this point.
This last week I have put together a showreel featuring snippets from the weddings I have filmed up to this point. It was amazing to take the time to stop, and pick out some of my favourite moments to include in the film. The last 2 years have been a whirlwind, and it has been a cathartic experience to sit and reflect on what has got me to where I am now. Hard work and dedication goes a long way. But I feel to continue growing and developing, I will take even more time to work on myself. As a videographer, as a father, as a husband, as a human.
The time to reflect has also taught me that we only live one life. I intend to fully experience and cherish every moment going forward. I can’t wait for the next chapter to begin, but in the meantime, I intend to grow, come back stronger, and live more than I have ever lived before.