HOW I ENDED UP SHOOTING BILLIONAIRE WEDDINGS – An interview with Jeff Wood
Having progressed to a globally recognized event cinematographer in a relatively short space of time, Jeff Wood is becoming less and less shocked by the fact that he often has to keep the weddings he is shooting Top Secret. Classified locations, famous couples, Royals and NDA’s are a plenty in the world of the billionaire wedding videographer.
I decided I wanted to know how this happened to Jeff, albeit a great guy, a top laugh and a fellow wine quaffer…but surely these are not distinctions that one looks for as a Hollywood Superstar booking their wedding videographer? Or are they?
So, as we have now been friends for 3 years you HAVE to tell us all of your secrets Jeff…no, really.
1. You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?
Rent it out for Asian weddings.
2. You have become known on a Global scale, shooting weddings as far afield as India, Tahiti, Russia and Jordan 😉 Where was your first international gig and how does shooting a wedding differ on international turf?
My first overseas one was actually Corfu, seven years ago, I nearly passed out in the heat! Apart form the obvious beautiful surroundings that are especially chosen for destination weddings, I can get to know the clients more during a trip of 2 to 3 days and make more of a feature of the journey as a whole for them.
3. Without disclosing whom your latest James Bond type video mission was for, can you tell us a little about the difference between a billionaires wedding and a Regular Joes big day? I believe I heard a rumor about a real live Unicorn somewhere along the grapevine?
I’ve had a lot of very famous, wealthy and private clients but I don’t shoot those types of weddings week in week out. I know people who do and they seem to be under a lot of pressure to capture the very expensive production that is put on. Particularly because it is usually booked through a coordinator. I prefer to work directly with my clients and I love the types of clients that I get. When a movie star or aristocrat contacts me directly then we can build a rapport and establish exactly how I will work, giving me the same creative freedoms as any other wedding. And no, not a Unicorn, a winged horse! Looked very realistic from where I was standing!
4. How DID you end up being chosen by this high flying society to capture their momentous occasions? Is the pressure ramped up knowing that your work could be featured on huge networks like Hello Magazine or MTV?
It is all word of mouth, work leads to work. You can imagine how many guests watch what you produce, especially if it is produced quickly, like within the week or as a ‘same day edit’ shown at the reception. I got a couple of lucky breaks in my early years which lead to other higher society jobs which then lead to more and so on. I strongly believe that you should concentrate on producing a good portfolio and everything else will fall into place. ‘Build it and they will come.’ 🙂 As for the work getting featured – it never happens! If Hello! are there, they will send their own guys. Or arrange to get the media straight off you on the day. My clients tend to get more and more private the higher up society they are.
I did get one quote that I can share from an actress who starred in the biggest grossing film of all time (after ‘Gone with the Wind’) –
“Jeff, it is us who are grateful and absolutely humbled by your talent, discretion and professionalism. We have loved every video we have seen”
5. In light of your up and coming event film makers workshop in collaboration with Sony, what is your number 1 tip for other videographers who want to get better at what they do?
Wait for ‘the click’. If there’s not been some kind of magical click while you’ve been wrestling with all those visuals, dialogue, sequencing, nat sound and underscore, it’s not ready yet.
6. Out of all the people in all the world, who’s wedding would you LOVE to film? (If you haven’t filmed it already)
Yours, when you finally tie the knot for real!
Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. We promise to pay in wine next time we get to hang.
Thanks, I think you already have 🙂
So, there you have it!
Jeff Wood, such a sweet, sweet glutton for punishment wanting to shoot another one of our weddings and keeping it real with the A-list clientele!
Learn more from Jeff on his Event Film makers Workshop // Retreat in Hungary this November. Amongst other things he will help you ditch the backlog that kills creativity, find inspiration in the strangest places and has even got us signing an NDA of his own regarding the ‘secret activity’ he has in store.
It will be a workshop like no other (mainly as we planned the party), you will not only advance your skills, your knowledge and expand your professional network, Jeff will also be focusing his efforts on reminding you to ‘Love what you do’ and what that means for your productivity, your creative mind and your business.
Find out more here. Love What you Do!
Carousel Image by John Alexander Photography