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  • Writer's pictureDawson Propst

Never Stop Learning

Have you ever looked back on your past work, whether it be from a job, school, or a personal project, and immediately cringe? Or, perhaps, point out its flaws and everything you wish you would have done differently? The artist tends to be their worst critic, and I believe this is a good thing. Noticing imperfections in my past work is proof that I have since grown in skill, knowledge and experience. However, I also realize that my products of critique were at one time the best I had to offer, so I learned that it is okay to simultaneously be proud of them too.

The first wedding I filmed was in September 2020, and my client reached out to me in January of the same year. I was initially blindsided by the request because it came from my former high school English teacher, and she based her confidence in me entirely from a video project I made for her class a year or two prior. I thought she was crazy for trusting an inexperienced junior in high school to capture the most important day of her life. Nevertheless, I was grateful for the opportunity and willing to invest in the equipment necessary in order to do the best job I could. My parents, on the other hand, seemed terrified yet cautiously optimistic.

My former teacher-turned-client had no expectations whatsoever for her wedding video; she gave me full creative control and said she would be happy with anything that I produced. I learned later that this blind confidence was rare, but it was such a great thing to have for my first business opportunity because it helped ease the stress I was feeling. I was able to start learning about the logistics of wedding filmmaking such as music licensing, intellectual property, copyright release and legality just to name a few. This was just scratching the surface; there were many more pieces to the puzzle than I originally anticipated, but I felt I was up to the challenge.

One notable mistake I made filming my first wedding was bringing every single tripod, battery charger, camera stabilizer, studio light, adapter, and cable that I owned—literally everything but the kitchen sink. I wanted to be prepared for anything in case something went wrong. In retrospect, being compact by bringing the essentials would have been much more practical, because packing every cable I owned did not save me when I found out I didn’t even have the correct one to connect to the DJ’s sound system. I managed to find a temporary solution, but this was still a valuable lesson to get in touch with other vendors ahead of time. Adapting to unforeseen situations is also an important skill to possess, but avoiding unnecessary dilemmas by communicating in advance is even better.

At the time of writing this post, even though I have filmed eight weddings, I still learn something new after every single one. Being open to constructive criticism and giving yourself grace when viewing past projects are honorable traits to practice. I can look back with a smile on my face knowing that I have matured tremendously as a videographer, and also look forward to the adventures that lie ahead and will hopefully expand my abilities even further.

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