I’m one of those people who can say “I’ve had a camera in my hand all my life.” The big difference is most of the times my camera was a video camera or an old 8mm film camera. I fell in love with movies and television very early in life. My parents got me my own television when I was 11 years old. Now, you have to think, that was back in 1975 when most homes had only one TV in the entire hours. To be 11 years old and a TV in my room, well I was the king of the hill with my friends.
My high school had a video production program in house and I was like a kid in a candy store with it. I wanted to learn everything I could, every detail, every aspect of video production from running camera to editing and everything in between. I was always carrying a camera around with me. I was always looking at things not just for the beauty of it, but how can I translate what I see to video so that my viewer can see what I see and feel what I feel.
Flash forward to 1999. I’m married and have a beautiful little girl. My wife’s cousin was getting married and we were sitting around trying to figure out what to get her for a wedding gift. My wife suggested that I video her wedding. “WHAT!?!? Who in the world would want to have a video of their wedding!” was my response. I couldn’t picture why someone would want to have that when you have someone taking pictures all day long. But, my wife at the time was a very prescient person and before the day was over, I was set to make a wedding video for her cousin.
I worked really hard to capture the day, trying to get everything I could. I mean this was a wedding and in my mind there were no do overs or re-shoots. Now, granted, I didn’t have the best of equipment to work with, just some old camcorders and no microphone system to speak of so it was pretty much one shot, very little sound and very shaky. I strung three VCR’s (ask your parents if you don’t know what a VCR is. It’s a lot like a DVR only you had to have a tape cassette for it to work.) together to edit it all together. No computer editing to speak of. At the end, for what I had to work with, it wasn’t too bad. In fact, I had fun doing it. I kinda of enjoyed what I was doing and I learned a lot along the way.
Two years later, I get a phone call out of the blue from a young lady saying she had seen the video I shot for my cousin in law and she really liked it. I didn’t know this person but I thanked her. She then asked if I could do something like that for her wedding. I told her it was just for my cousin and not something I did on a regular basis. She then said “I’ll pay you for your time if that’s ok. Would $500 be ok?”. My next statement to her was “When is your wedding?”.
I found out that I could do something I really liked and have fun along the way, plus I get paid to do it. HOW COOL!!!! In fact, the next day at work (I was working at Jewelry Television at the time) a co worker and I were joking around about doing wedding videos for a business. When I got home that night, I talked to my wife about it and we started brainstorming the idea. I did some research on the area, asked a lot of questions of former brides about what they liked and disliked about their weddings, if they had a video, or if they didn’t, why they chose not to have one. I took weeks of time to research every aspect of this business. Everything right down to the type of tapes to use and what shoes I should wear. I’m a very detailed person.
So, in May of 2001 I started a small video business. If you want to call it a business at that point. It was just me and a web site, a very crude web site, but one non the less. I did a wedding show that August and started booking weddings.
My first full year of working weddings I did 3 weddings. Last year I shot over 37 weddings and it continues to grow. I have much better equipment, I have learned and strengthen my skills as a cinematographer and have found that I love weddings. I love working with people, sharing their special day with them and watching them grow not only as people but as families. This May will begin my 17th year as a wedding cinematographer in the Knoxville area. I truly love what I do and I say this a lot. I have the best job in the world and can’t see myself doing anything else.
Now you know a little bit of the backstory about Midnight Magic Studios, but the one question I get all the time is where did the name come from? That is for another blog.