This is the first post in our new series featuring local vendors! My goal is to help you discover new and unknown options for your wedding. There are so many new businesses starting up all the time and it’s hard to keep track of them! Knowing all your options is important, especially in a small centre like Swift Current. The Vendor Feature series is here to help!
First up in this series is a video production company! Videography is quickly becoming a must have service at every wedding and since it’s so new, local options are limited. Introducing Different Alphabet Productions, owned and operated by Kevin Kirkpatrick. Kevin operates out of Calgary, however, he regularly travels across the prairies and BC and is excited to grow his wedding service here in his hometown. Here’s the highlights from my interview with him. Make sure you read all the way to the end, his last answer had me laughing all day!
Vendor Feature: Different Alphabet Productions
Walk me through what got you to where you are today. What made you want to be a videographer?
I was always interested in making videos, even in high school I was making dumb little videos. I just really like visual storytelling, I don’t feel like I’m the best person at using words. I’m an emotional creature and it’s the only way I know how to express myself. I use video to be a bit of a chameleon; I like to tell other people’s stories, not just my own. And I like meeting new people; when I was dating I liked going to first dates. It’s an opportunity to meet someone new and I think that’s really cool.
I went to SAIT film school, worked for a news agency and a couple of ad agencies. I got tired of ‘working for the man’ you know, and making other people money. So, I left my job. I’d always been working on the side with a lot of musicians and artists and small businesses, so I decided to make that my full-time gig.
I know you’re fairly new to the wedding industry, what types of projects do you usually shoot?
I’ve done weddings a bunch of times as favours to friends. It’s something I’d really like to get into more as a professional. I work with a lot of local and up and coming bands and artists, small businesses and non-profits. I do a lot of music videos and live acoustic videos. I also do a lot of live events like keynote speeches or conferences. I did the Calgary Comic Expo earlier this summer. I’ve also started applying for grants to get some short films off the ground, I’d like to do some more storytelling that way.
Why is capturing something on video different than photography?
Photos are pretty restrained in that they’re only presented one way. There’s no context to photos, they just kind of exist by themselves. With video it’s not just video, there’s a lot of audio elements as well. There’s a heightened feeling and a much more personal connection. Nothing exists standing still. You can see the way that people moved and the way people lived. When I make a wedding video I always think of people watching it in 50 years, or their grandkids watching it, you know. So, I really try to connect to their grandkids and not just the couple.
I think video is way better as an archival method. It’s way easier to make that connection in 50 years with a video than with photos. It keys in to the emotions you’re feeling that day; it’s like a greatest hits album from that day. To me it’s important to make a connection and transport you back in time.
Tell me about your unique style. What makes you different than other videographers?
I like to work with people as much as I can. I try to be as open and communicative as possible. I like to think of myself as a tradesperson, if you need something fixed I can fix it for you. I don’t want people to feel like I’m wringing them for all they’re worth. I think I’m a really good communicator and a good sympathizer. I give people lots of options of what I can do and break it down really well. So, people can really know what they’re getting and we can find something to work in their budget. I try to take as much stress off of them as possible. I’m here to make them not worry about it.
Walk me through the process you use to find each client’s unique style. How do you tailor a video to them?
First off, I have to go for coffee or a beer with them. I have to meet them and it has to be face to face. Then I ask them basic stuff, like how did you meet. Then I try to assess are they looking for something home grown, how much are they wanting to be involved in the video process, and stuff like that. I tell them if there’s anything they like, to send it to me or put it on a Pinterest board. They’re always sending me videos to watch and I find a way to make it happen for them.
Some couples like to manage every detail and others prefer to give you free rein, which do you prefer?
Complete hands off would be great! It just shows trust and faith that I know what I’m doing. I’ve done this before, and I know it’s their first wedding video, but it’s not my first one. Any potential hurdles that could come up, I’ve either already thought of it or I’ve done it before. If I know they’re going to be pretty hands on, then it’s going to be harder for me to give them a good deal because that’s a lot more of my time that I’ll be spending answering all their emails and super specific requests. Less hands on allows more artistic expression and integrity in my work.
Are there any wedding trends that you particularly love or hate?
I HATE destination weddings so much! It’s expensive and I straight up think it’s inconsiderate to have a destination wedding.
And then I’m just too easygoing of a guy to have many things I don’t like. Two things I don’t like to see are a ‘lame-duck’ wedding where they take no risks and don’t do anything to make it personal. When there’s no personality that comes through. And I hate seeing them stressed on their big day, you shouldn’t be stressed out at your wedding!
I just love weddings as they are though. I love the lovey-dovey stuff, literally every wedding I’ve ever gone to, I cry when they kiss. I love the little stories people tell. That’s the one day you’re allowed to shout it from the rooftops.
If a couple walked up to you and asked your best advice and you only had a couple minutes to give them, what would you say?
Make sure the videographer knows what he’s doing. Work with someone who knows what they’re doing and not figuring it out. Then you can just be hands off and let them do what they do. You should hire them based on if you like what they do and not their price point. You get your money’s worth in that you can enjoy your day that much more. Also, don’t try to reinvent the wheel. There’s a pretty good formula.
And finally, what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever been asked to film?
The craziest thing I’ve ever had to film…it was so weird. The marketing company I was working for had a client who ran a hotel and he was gonna rent out the whole hotel for a charity weekend and donate the money to women’s shelter. But the theme he wanted was a weekend of debauchery, almost a 50 Shades of Grey type thing. So first of all, that’s incredibly inappropriate; the charity is for a women’s shelter. He wanted to make a little video to send out as an invite and the video he wanted to do was him, in just a bathrobe, laying on the bed in a hotel room.
So, it was just me and him and his middle aged female assistant, he’s laying on the bed, I’ve got lights set up, and I’m on my knees so I’m at his eye level with the camera. Then some guy gets sent to bring up a bucket water to the room…and we’re in this scenario. Suddenly the door opens up next to us and this like 20-year-old kid walks in and says ‘Oh no…someone just asked me to bring this!’ That was so embarrassing! It was a funny little shoot, but the guy walking in with no context, I just don’t know what assumptions he could leap to that were appropriate. The resulting video I made from that is so cringeworthy.
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