I feel incredibly blessed for so many reasons and 2009 was a phenomenal year. I've had a lifelong dream of working for myself full time and that dream came true last April. After 12 or so years in retail I was lucky enough to get the corporate ax from Toys R Us when my management position was "eliminated." Truth be told I wasn't very passionate about that type of work anymore, although I really enjoyed the nine years I worked in the home theatre industry. Now at this point I had been shooting weddings on the side for quite some time and my goal was to take the business full time in 2010, but the opportunity was staring me straight in the face and about two hours after I got the ax I was completely over it and knew exactly what I was going to do.
I already had a small number of weddings booked throughout the year... actually I got laid off the day after we shot Kerry + Andy's wedding... but I was able to pickup quite a few more and shot at 14 weddings throughout 2009 and quite a bit of commercial work. I'm very excited that our calendar is quite full already for 2010 and I have no doubt we'll book to capacity. We have plenty of same day edits and save the dates coming up, which are two of my favorite offerings. We also have a couple of weddings booked in Texas which will get me out of the cold New England weather.
I absolutely love to travel and I had the opportunity to shoot corporate projects in Miami and San Francisco last year as well as a week at an amazing hotel in Portsmouth, NH. I made several trips to Texas and most recently shot Domineca + Santiago's save the date in Kemah which was so much fun! I also attended a workshop in Long Island and most recently an incredible three-day workshop - "the evolution experience" with StillMotion in Toronto, which has really molded me into a much better filmmaker and was just an absolutely amazing experience. In a couple of weeks I'll be in Austin for IN[FOCUS] which is a three-day featuring an amazing list of the most talented wedding cinematographers on the planet. Even better then the experience of these events was the opportunity to make new friends and meet so many people.
I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am right now if it wasn't for some of the people in the wedding industry I have met over the past year and what they have done to help me out as well as the referrals they've sent my way. Its been great to connect with other vendors who are also passionate about what they do and do amazing work. Most notably I teamed up with a 15-year wedding industry veteran - Anthony D'Elia - and I became part of the Revelation Productions team, taking care of the video side of the business while working together on many of our marketing initiatives and the wedding expos.
Outside of my business life my personal life has been great too in 2009. My beautiful niece Rachel was born last January and we all took a family vacation to Disney World in November... something we did quite regularly when I was growing up. I turned the big 3-0 this year which really isn't as scary as I thought it would be, although I often think about how fast the time has gone by and I'm sure 40 will come before I know it... but I'm in no rush for that! The highlight of the year though was re-meeting Amanda during Holly and Joe's wedding in May - she was a bridesmaid along with my sister Nicole and they had been friends back in middle school, although I hadn't seen Amanda since '98 or so. I can still remember how much I admired her back then and I'm so happy to say we have been dating since Memorial Day when we hiked up Mt. Wachusett with her lovely dog/child Winston. We are currently planning a trip to Iceland which is someplace I have wanted to visit for quite some time.
So given the excitement of the past year I'm not sure how 2010 can top it, but I am incredibly excited and optimistic about what the next year will bring. We will kick off our wedding season on January 30th in Boston with Kate + Chris. My goal for 2010 is simply to make people happy... most notably the brides and grooms I am so lucky to work with. I strive to get better at what I do each time I shoot or sit down to edit, and looking back at my work I can certainly see a steady improvement over the years. The technology has evolved in a way that gives a whole new level of possibilities to the work we do and the production value that can be achieved while filming a wedding. Although we are equipped with some of the best gear available today the tools don't make a great film - the vision, creativity and the know-how that my team and I brings to each wedding is what makes our work as good as it is and I know it will only get better from here.
The wedding video industry is plagued with bad stereotypes and awful work, but our refusal to accept mediocrity and willingness to always try something new is what makes our work stand out... but above everything else it comes down to passion. Are you passionate about what you do? I certainly am and I can't wait for what the future brings!
Happy New Year + all the best for 2010!!!