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#303418 - 10/11/17 04:06 PM The Most Heinous Party Foul
Jeffery J. Haas Online   sick


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 12800
Loc: Whittier, California
I did an awful lot of weddings when I first started working. I don't have an exact count, maybe as many as five hundred or so.
You get an opportunity to observe a lot of human behavior patterns and experience a wide gamut of emotions when you're a wedding videographer.
You are presented with the entire tableau of family relationships and you're in the middle of a highly personal moment where hopes and dreams intersect with fantasy and yearning, and yet you're a stranger thrown into the center of laser focused expectations and supercharged determination that spans at least two generations or more.
Each and every professional serving that couple has a set of expectations and goals which must not only be met, but surpassed. The stage has no curtain, the set has no walls and the action, though scripted, has no written dialogue beyond that which centers around the officiant and the bride and groom as they recite their vows.
A wedding is the oldest and most matured and practiced version of a reality show.

Let's talk about the reality part for a moment, please.
Recent events put me in mind of the intersection between that special scripted reality which is permanently written into the hearts and minds of the wedding couple and the intersection of family dynamics. This is the spot where one is face to face with a sculptor's chisel, a surgeon's scalpel or a woodsman's axe.

You're bound to encounter a small handful of highly potent and toxic personality types at a wedding. The overbearing and domineering, the lush, the sloppy emotional drunk and the sexual predator all have their roles to play if given half a chance. If your luck runs cold, you're going to wind up with all of these and more on your digital movie negative at the end of the day, and you're faced with a decision as to how to handle their thoughts, words and deeds.

Never mind the wonderful people who carry their best deeds to the fore and put their best foot forward. They will carry the day to the best of their ability and you'll silently be thankful for them if they outnumber the former, and you'll thank them almost out loud when you're alone with your thoughts if they managed to step in and corral the ne'er do wells before they can wreak too much havoc.
If they're not around, or stuck in another role on the stage, or too shy and embarrassed, then you are the ultimate witness to the debacle and you cannot break character as the lone papparazzi, because you have neither the right nor invitation to play sheriff no matter how much you wish a vaudevillian stage manager would step in with the hook to yank these maniacs off the floor.

I made a promise to both my children years ago, that should I be lucky enough to be part of their weddings, that when it was THEIR turn to tie the knot, that when it came time for me to toast THEM, I would not air dirty laundry of any kind, talk about past boyfriends and girlfriends, mention ANYTHING about their courtship without clearing it with them in advance, or COMPLAIN in ANY WAY WHATSOEVER....ABOUT ANYTHING.
I promised them that while I was holding a glass of champagne and a microphone, I was going to do one thing and one thing ONLY:
Tell the world how PROUD I AM of them.
I didn't promise to not tell any funny stories, but even those will be cleared in advance. My job, and YOURS as a parent or relative, is to tell the world what wonderful children the bride and groom are, and to do nothing else but.

This is a pro tip to all of you who are about to attend a wedding of a close friend or relative. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, or wreck the wedding, and if you really aren't one of those toxic types, please try as best you can, to catch anyone in the wedding who is about to commit this most heinous of party fouls.

Write down your words in advance, or get someone to help you write them, stick with the script, and if a random stroke of genius hits you in the middle of your big toast to the happy couple....STOP...take a moment and think hard.
That mental gem in your mind that you think might sound brilliant, poignant or heavy, might not be gravitas, it might be a lead stinkbomb, it might be a horrid family secret, it might be a chip on your shoulder large enough to crush a limo.
It might be the the nasty comment that ruins the wedding night.
It might be the woodsman's axe that splits the family tree asunder.
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."

----Leon Russell - "Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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#303428 - 10/12/17 12:15 AM Re: The Most Heinous Party Foul [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7141
Loc: North San Diego County
I think as a professional wedding videographer, you had an obligation to make sure those sort of things end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. You had no obligation to record every bit of obnoxious behavior. Especially if you were getting paid, you want to deliver a product the happy couple could watch without cringing.

And yes, such stuff is pretty near universal. Even if it doesn't rise to the level of a drunken ex-flame rising to plead their case when the minister asks if there are any objections. At my wedding, somebody stole my wallet out of the dressing room! That was not in the videotapes.

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#303432 - 10/12/17 05:13 AM Re: The Most Heinous Party Foul [Re: pondering_it_all]
Jeffery J. Haas Online   sick


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 12800
Loc: Whittier, California
Originally Posted By: pondering_it_all
I think as a professional wedding videographer, you had an obligation to make sure those sort of things end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. You had no obligation to record every bit of obnoxious behavior. Especially if you were getting paid, you want to deliver a product the happy couple could watch without cringing.

And yes, such stuff is pretty near universal. Even if it doesn't rise to the level of a drunken ex-flame rising to plead their case when the minister asks if there are any objections. At my wedding, somebody stole my wallet out of the dressing room! That was not in the videotapes.


Yes of course, thank you Captain Obvious.
The devil however, is in the details.
A couple of weeks or a month later when you deliver the edited finished product, the speech is absent from the video but not everyone understands why.
Yes, of course you saved the couple from reliving the nightmare, however if they were already too lit to have a keen memory, they may ask you why Uncle Sid's speech isn't there.
Therein lies the problem. Aunt Glenda isn't happy and neither is Louise, Glenda's sister, mother of the bride and perhaps one of the people putting out the money for the video.
Aunt Glenda thinks her husband Sid can do no wrong, and meant no harm.

Yes OF COURSE YOU EDIT OUT the objectionable stuff.
And yes, if you're lucky, few people remember why.
If you're luckier, lots of people remember why and thank you for leaving it out. If you're unlucky, lots of people remember the embarassing moment but don't think it was that bad and will try to convince the newlyweds that you did a bad job editing.

Spend 20 or thirty days in Small Claims Court over piddling crap like this and you start to get a fairly good idea of how deep this rabbit hole goes.
I've wound up with videos that wound up being ten minutes long because almost the entire wedding was one disaster after another, one long continuous party foul. On one such occasion I edited together all the outtakes and let the bride and groom see them AFTER seeing the ten minute finished product. I offered to put back anything they wished to have included. They picked ONE outtake...their drunken mother flirting with the caterer. They thought it was cute. Mom disagreed. Mom wasn't happy.
I sided with Mom but acceded to their wishes. If they want Mom grabbing the catering guy's ass and pressing his face into her ample bosom, so be it.
Mom's speech got cut because Mom called her daughter a whore.

But what I was getting at is, just DON'T COMMIT the party foul in the first place, and don't let the drunk uncle get near the mic for more than 30 seconds if you sense he's about to commit a faux pas.
Be mindful of this, not for the sake of me, the video guy.
I WILL leave you on the editing room floor.
Be mindful of it so that I don't have to do that.
Be mindful of it so that the wedding couple DOES get to see you wish them well.

Yeah, this has also happened to me on a personal level.
At my own wedding, Karen's brother took his turn at the toastmaster's mic to recite a litany of things that he believed to be my past shortcomings.
We all held it together as best we could.
My ninety year old mother managed to find relief in the fact that her short term memory round filed what he said fifteen minutes later, but for the full five minutes he was up there, everyone was frozen in their seats, twenty minutes later Karen was in tears and I fought back the urge to deck him, with HER FULL APPROVAL.
I've moved on but Karen still hasn't forgiven him.
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."

----Leon Russell - "Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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#303440 - 10/13/17 06:42 AM Re: The Most Heinous Party Foul [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
pondering_it_all Offline
veteran

Registered: 02/27/06
Posts: 7141
Loc: North San Diego County
I guess you could make a nice version and an uncut version and give the happy couple both. If they have any sense they will throw out the uncut version.

What are you going to do though? Some people are aholes and given an open bar and a captive audience they will prove it.

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#303444 - 10/13/17 07:09 PM Re: The Most Heinous Party Foul [Re: Jeffery J. Haas]
Jeffery J. Haas Online   sick


Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/03/04
Posts: 12800
Loc: Whittier, California
No no....I normally just, as you already said, DO my JOB as an editor.
But I'm afraid you might have missed the main point.
I wasn't complaining about having my CAMERA witness these ghastly occurences so much as I was urging people to just not BE that way.
An editor can't fix the damage done to families, they can only correct the flaws in the pretty images on the video.
My main point was, having done the wedding thing for a few years early on, I learned a good bit about family dynamics, and when it was my turn to be married a second time, I watched in horror, not as a camera op, but as the groom, as my new brother-in-law smeared me in front of everyone.
Remember, I'm an old hippie, a recovered drug addict, I was a musician, I've been arrested a few times, and he's a straight laced, uptight, overbearing square who thinks no one is ever good enough for his sister, who already had one disastrous marriage to bookend my own first foray. Simply put, he never liked me, he doesn't like me and he doesn't bother to look at OUR marriage, which is a success.

He basically pulled a Donald Trump act, now that I think about it.
It was yet another in long series of similar gaffes that I have witnessed over the years when I was a wedding shooter. I never thought my own brother-in-law would destroy etiquette at my own wedding the way others boorish fops had done in front of my camera.

So, I guess I was just mindful of it because I again recently witnessed another pathetic display at another relative's wedding, where the father of the bride (MY own brother!) made sure to embarrass his daughter and her new husband during the toast. He thought he was being cute and funny but it came out bitter, sarcastic, nasty and just plain mean.

People need to understand that folks like me will wind up with a Hobson's Choice, a permanent record of everything they said, and yeah...most likely it will end up on the cutting room floor and the wedding video will NOT feature the father toasting the couple because Dad decided to unleash his inner tantrum instead of being classy.

Thankfully I only did the camera work on my niece's wedding. She is having a friend do the editing, so I am off the hook. My camera work looked good but HE will have to make all those Hobson's Choices, not me.
I feel bad for him, but I feel worse for my niece.
My brother is also something of a bully, and yeah...he and Karen's brother get along just great. They are almost a matched set.

Did I mention that Karen still hasn't forgiven her brother for what he said and did?
The guy did a remarkable job of destroying a family!
_________________________
"The Left ones think I'm Right, the Right ones think I'm wrong."

----Leon Russell - "Magic Mirror"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-H1iQ5Y6Eg

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