Blog, blog black sheep

The First Look: Yes you should!

So, I assume from the title that you can tell..I’m a fan! The first look is a great way to see your beloved, before the ceremony, and have a truly ahhhmazing moment. First looks are especially good on video. I love it when a bride walks up to her waiting groom, and she starts to almost run because she is so excited to see him. I’m not fond of the “tap on the shoulder” move…it just seems weird, did she sneak up on him, does he need to be reminded that she is there? I like a real first look, where they see each other, in a beautiful setting, in all their pre-nuptial glory and fall into each others’ arms. Oh, the romance…#lesigh

Kylie and Dirk’s first look from the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain is absolutely gorgeous! I adore these two and their passion for each other shines through. If you are on the fence about a first look, watch this and be swayed. Besides, it gives you more time on your wedding day for photos, and gets rid of those pre-wedding jitters. I’m a fan…how about you?

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The holidays are here! and/or Why I am thankful for wedding videos!


I hear it all the time “Getting a wedding video was the best decision we made.” Really…couples say that to me after they receive their wedding films. It may not be as enticing as a “Multi-tier wedding cake with chocolate ganache filling and Swarovski crystal embellished fondant icing” (but, is anything?) or¬† “Locally harvested, sustainably grown, organically sourced ‘Surf and Turf”‘ (sign me up!) or even “A silent disco hosted by international DJ…” (so cool, you’ll be the first of your friends to do this at your reception!), but honestly, your wedding video is one of the sexiest, most enduring and truly personal keepsakes from your big day. It is the only way to truly get back to those moments, in sight and sound. I know it’s kind of a delayed gratification, as you have to wait a bit for the finished product, but, good things come to those who wait!!

Black Sheep filmworks is blessed to have amazing clients who trust us to capture some of the most important moments in their lives. From weddings, to births, to corporate extravaganzas and everything in between, we are thankful and humbled that you have chosen to take a black sheep, or two, along with you. I leave you with one of my latest weddings, from Tanque Verde Ranch, here in Tucson. Frances and Carson go way back with the ranch, so for them to have their wedding there, was like a homecoming. I hope you can feel the joy, love, laughter and commitment from these two that I tried to share in the highlight. I get to do this a lot. I am so lucky and I love what I do.

Bravo, Frances and Carson! Cheers to many, many more. #thankful #weddingfilmsrock #getone



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What you think you know about wedding videos, and why you’re wrong.


Wedding videos…more often than not, the “low man on the totem pole” of wedding planning and budgeting. But why?! After spending a good chunk of my life working as a filmmaker, and a lot of those films being wedding related, it seems fitting that I explore (explain?) the dark underbelly of wedding lore that is “Myths of the Wedding Video”. Let’s dive right in…oh, and I am using the words “videographer” and “filmmaker” interchangeably ūüėČ

“Wedding videos are cheesy.”

Yes, they can be…especially those videos from the infancy of wedding video, let’s say 1990. But really, haven’t you been on the world wide web lately? Wedding videos, or wedding films as I like to call them are ahhhmazing! These films are story driven, time-shifted, chock full of beautifully recorded images (at 24 frames a second!) and crisp, clean audio. Yes, it’s like a movie, but it’s your movie of your best day ever. And, I bet, that those who had the fore site in 1990 to have their weddings videotaped, still LOVE their wedding video. I have 16mm footage of my mom playing with some puppies as a little girl, and it puts tears in my eyes…can you imagine if I had my parent’s wedding footage? I would cherish it because of it’s cheesiness, and because it’s MY PARENTS..on their wedding day, all dressed up, with their family members! So telling of a different era, so nostalgic… Anyway, go grab some popcorn, some kleenex, and watch a few current highlight films by some of the best in the business…I guarantee you will be laughing, crying and wanting to grab a drink with the newlyweds…and you don’t even know these people!

“You only watch your wedding video once.”

My brides and groom’s say they watch their videos on repeat, and find something new every time. I’ve received texts from clients, years later, that they are sitting in an airport, missing their better half, and watching their highlight film…and sharing it with a few lucky others at the gate;) ¬†I’ve read Facebook messages that Lily was watching Mommy and Daddy’s wedding film, and is obsessed with her parent’s first dance. The wedding film will become more important after many years. Friends move, loved ones pass away, and there is nothing more sentimental than seeing and hearing those that meant so much, enjoying your best day. So yes, if you hire a really good filmmaker, you will watch it many, many times.

“We have a really good photographer, so we don’t need a videographer.”

Okay, I don’t get this logic…photographs are one moment, they are evocative, can be absolutely gorgeous, and still. Very still. They do not move. Would you watch the Superbowl in a book? Would your favorite Broadway musical be just as fab in paperback? NO! So why in the world this rationalization for ONLY hiring a photographer got started, IDK. First looks, cheers-ing with your bridal party, VOWS, TOASTS, FIRST DANCES–these are all intensely AUDIO/VISUAL moments. Yes, you need a good photographer and a good/great filmmaker for this once-in-a-lifetime event. I sometimes feel like a genie, capturing all this wedding goodness, all these moments that move, and bottling them up…and then I carefully open the bottle, and go through every piece, listen to every word and create a priceless memory in sight and sound…I have the best job!

“Video is really obtrusive.”

If you hire someone who is inexperienced and/or “only about the video”, yes, they really can be obtrusive. But, I have also seen DJs, photographers, catering staff and even Aunt Peggy with an iPad, being obtrusive at weddings. You need to hire a great team. Find people who work well together, have creative chemistry and are in it for you, and your day. The technology involved in making a wedding film has become significantly smaller, we are more often than not we are mistaken for photographers. I love having great, compact tools (and yes, we filmmakers have A LOT of gear!) and leaving a minimal footprint…wedding filmmaking ninjas is what we are. My favorite compliment? “I didn’t even know you were there, but you got everything!”.

“Your wedding video should cost less than your wedding photos.”

IDK where this idea came from either, but no, really, your wedding video should cost as much or more than your photographs. Why? Between fast lenses, great audio recorders and mics, dreamy off camera lighting, monopods, gimbals…oh my, we usually have more gear and that equals a lot more $$$. Along those lines, finding and training assistant videographers is a job within itself. Video is tough, with a very broad skill set, and most videographers find live events like weddings to be very challenging. It’s “run and gun” shooting, while remaining calm, cool, collected and smiling, and making sure you get beautiful footage. And get your audio. And stay out of the photographer’s shot, and jockey for yours, all while wearing a black tie appropriate outfit that you can crawl into the flora and remain presentable. Did I mention, it’s a very broad skill set? ūüėČ That being said, second shooters for video are usually paid more than seconds for photography. Reason #3:¬†Remember the “beautifully recorded images (at 24 frames per second!) and crisp, clean audio!” from Myth#1? Yes, 24 frames per second, and we edit each of those 24 frames. Our editing time is extraordinary, especially when we are telling a story, color -grading, audio-sweetening, using segue’s and time-shifting your wedding film. We are laser focused when we edit. I cannot binge watch the latest season of OITNB, or catch up on “This American Life” podcasts while I edit, unlike my photographer friends. #imnotjealousatall #whoneedstobecurrentonnetflixanyway? #lovemyphotogfriends

“The camera adds 10 lbs.”

Some people are camera shy, some people don’t like the way they look in photos or video, but there are many ways around this myth. First of all, the camera does not add 10 lbs. When you hire an experienced filmmaker, they know the best angles and they know lighting. I also know that when I am editing, I am VERY aware of the most flattering moments, I am there to make you look and sound great. I’m also really good at making people comfortable in front of the camera, even true camera-phobes. I think it’s really important to get to know your filmmaker before your wedding. At least FaceTime, Skype, or chat on the phone…if you are in town, let’s go have coffee or a cocktail. Get to know the people who are capturing your memories, and make sure you like them…do they make you smile? Do they want to know your story? Do they know/care that you or your betrothed might be camera shy? Tell us…we want to know! ¬† Back to those 10 lbs…my honest opinion is: YOU NEED TO BE IN THE PICTURE! What I mean is, please don’t let this most amazing day go undocumented because of your insecurities. The adage to brides is “This day is all about you!”, but honestly, it’s not. It’s about commitment, love, honest emotions, and families coming together to celebrate all of the above. On this one day, everyone assembles for you and your beloved, they dress up, they show up, and they toast, dance, mingle and have a great time…and when it’s over, all you have left are your photos and your video. Nothing will bring you back to your wedding day like a wedding film. So, get over the myth of the 10 lbs. and book your filmmaker.

“Your photos will suffer if you hire a videographer.”

No, not if you hire a good one, and by that I mean a good videographer and a good photographer! ¬†I LOVE photography and I LOVE my photographer friends. We hang out, we have fun at weddings, enjoy creating beautiful things together…we are professional and respect each other’s art form. Get referrals from your videographer and your photographer, hire a team with great creative energy. If I have not filmed with a photographer, I will reach out a couple of weeks before the wedding so that we can discuss how we work. If they pose a lot of shots during photo session, I ask that I am given a spot in the timeline for a short video session. If they are more candid, and motion driven, we work right alongside and direct when needed, like “Hey you two, look at each other….You’re Married!” I love these moments in video, because it’s a new, honest emotion that I have captured; it resonates because it’s real. ¬†Please remember, this day is about the two of you, making the biggest promises of you life, not about photos, flowers, signature cocktails, or even wedding films. If you have the slightest inkling that any of the wedding pros that you are leaning towards do not work well with others, consider this a big red flag. We should all be there to capture this gorgeous day for you, not to build our portfolio, get that sick (and most likely, woefully unsafe) drone shot, or get on the preferred vendor’s list at your venue. We work with each other, protect each others shots and have your best interests at heart. ¬†And, if you love candid photos, you will love your wedding film…it’s full of genuine moments, in sight and sound.


“Video is so easy. Just hit ‘record’!”

I guess if you want your wedding to look like security footage, you could “just hit record”. A good wedding film is art. It takes a talented cinematographer to capture the video, to compose those 24 frames per second. You need a sound engineer to place the microphones discreetly, get a feed from the band, make sure the levels are correct, and have redundancy for them, just in case. You need a lighting designer to make sure everything is glowy and gorgeous, and that the details “pop”. A grip is necessary to carry the bags loaded with cameras, mics, cards, cables, filters, batteries, tripods, monopods, light stands, lights-you get it, this is some heavy stuff. Muscles required. An editor will take everything that has been captured so lovingly, and carefully piece it together, like the best puzzle of your best day. This will take them a long time, because they will agonize over choices-soundbites, music, order, best detail shots, pairing the groom’s reaction shot with the perfect crescendo in the song..which then changes the timing for another shot, so the editor begins again. All of these artists, come together as one person, in your wedding filmmaker. It is not easy. It can take years to learn and become and expert at the tech, the emotions, anticipating moments and nailing the shot. But it is so worth it.

“We aren’t the ‘wedding video’ type”

So, you don’t like beautifully captured moments, full of the people that you love the most, in a gorgeous setting? You don’t want to have this day, when you both had great hair and killer clothes, surrounded by your best friends, partying your a**es off, to relive? You don’t want a record of the time you dropped a chunk of change to say “I do” in the presence of your dearly beloved, and the great things they said about you while toasting the night away? You don’t want to hear your vows again? Yes, you do. Every wedding deserves a great wedding film. You are the type.

“Our biggest regret is not having a wedding film.”


Wondering what a wedding highlight film looks, sounds and and feels like? Here’s Alyssa and Dave’s, filmed at the Tubac Golf Resort and Spa. They can relive their “happily ever after” for a lifetime, and then some… Enjoy!

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Like “candids”? Then you should love your wedding video…

I often hear my couples discussing wedding photography, and the love of the “candid” photo. You know, the one where everyone is not mugging to the camera, but where they look fabulous, the foreground is clear of unnecessary clutter and the background has just enough bokeh and none of the wait staff clearing plates. Phew…that’s a lot of things to accomplish in one photo. ¬†The “candid” is where video excels. As a videographer, I film 24 frames per second, and I have no loud shutter or distracting flash. I am like the ninja of the candid.

When you see a good wedding video, you will feel connected to the couple, even though you don’t know them. The reason? Because it is real…a video is actual moments, not posed photo ops. ¬†A good wedding filmmaker knows how to anticipate those moments, during your vows, first dance, even during the photo session. Some of the¬†best real moments happen when posed photos are being taken…or just after. I will tell you to “just look at each other, hang out…hey, you’re married!” You smile at each other, look into the eyes of your beloved, maybe even get a little teary…real smiles, reveling in the moment.

I walk a fine line between emotions and technology. In order to capture those moments, you can’t have giant cameras, blinding lights or fussy camera gear (drones, gimbals, jibs and sliders, OH MY!). Now, I love¬†really good tools and new technology…if a cool time lapse¬†is really going to tell your story better, let’s do it! But time is finite on a¬†wedding day, and I truly feel that creating real memories, taking time to have a first look with your Dad, dancing with your favorite Aunt, taking 10 seconds to look around at your friends and family during your ceremony, those are so much more important than having a drone fly over your wedding party during the recessional. I don’t want to create a false reality, I want to capture the essence of you and yours.

When you look at a wedding video, you should see and hear emotion, and feel the vibe from that day.¬†Nothing will bring you back to this “best day” better than sight, sound and 24 frames per second. I love¬†beauty shots of the two of you, but if you look at one of my films, you will only see those used when there is connection. If I see any “pose-y” moments, they don’t make the cut. I want your film to capture that day, your story, that only happens in this small window of time. ¬†Candid photos transport you because they feel honest and precious…like you could have missed that moment, when a shutter snapped, but there, by the grace of God, you have it. It is the same for the wedding film, but x10. All those moments, toasts, glances, vows, dance moves…there, in a beautiful film. Watch, listen and feel Lindsay and Chris’ ahhmazing wedding held at the Valley Ho in Scottsdale. It will make¬†you laugh, cry and feel;¬†it resonates because it’s real ūüôā

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Black Sheep Filmworks as featured on Style Me Pretty!

Captured by Black Sheep Filmworks, this Tucson, Arizona wedding celebrated a couple who went to high school and college together – but didn’t actually meet and fall in love until years later
They attended the same high school and college, but never met until post graduation, when both were in Chicago. With the groom’s brother playing matchmaker, it all came together and before they knew it, they were saying “I do” back where it all could have started, in Tucson, Arizona. And back at their hometown, they celebrated in a BIG way – with Black Sheep Filmworks capturing the chic style, the sweet kisses and even the fireworks! See it all right this way!

¬†From Black Sheep FilmworksOh, Annie and Sean…so swoon-worthy! From that incredible Monique Lhuillier wedding gown, to those red-soled Christian Louboutin’s for BOTH bride and groom, to suspended floral rings to FIREWORKS, Annie and Sean had one of the most chock full of “eye candy” weddings ever.

Annie and Sean both grew up in Tucson, attended Sabino High School, and the University of Arizona… and NEVER met each other! They both moved to Chicago after graduating from the U of A and it was Sean’s brother that introduced them. Sean stated that he was “Going to marry that girl” after their first date, so obviously, fate finally stepped in and these two gorgeous Tucson lovebirds finally found each other!Love letters that Annie and Sean had written to each other were opened on the day, and read aloud, privately. This was incorporated into their highlight film, as per Annie’s request, and it really connects you to their love story. Not only are they beautiful, with great style, but they are “Oh-SO” in love. Their family and friends (close to 250 of them!) came from all across the globe to take part in this soir√©e.

Special touches filled Annie and Sean’s wedding. From red soled Christian Louboutin’s for both¬†bride and groom, to the placement of a Mexican lasso during the ceremony, to a wishing tree instead of a guest book, no detail was overlooked. Sean even surprised Annie with fireworks during the reception. This was truly a gorgeous, spicy, “beaming smile” wedding… Bravo, Annie and Sean!!!


Hair + Makeup
I Do Hair & Makeup Artistry
Willo Art Photography
Event Design
Frostings Event Design & Rental
Floral Design
In Full Bloom Floral Studio
Wedding Dress
Monique Lhuillier
Christian Louboutin
Frostings Event Design & Rental
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Tucson:Say”Yes”to the Destination Wedding!

Okay, so maybe I’m a little biased. I was born and raised in Tucson. I grew up swimming in our backyard pool from March through November. Flip flops, shorts and a sweatshirt (which I normally ditched by noon) were my cold weather outfit. Hiking to Seven Falls with a backpack full of my Humanities homework¬†was my¬†weekend hangout as I attended Salpointe Catholic High School(GO LANCERS!) Many days were spent in the glorious sunshine on the U of A mall,¬†writing scripts and honing my camera skills…and possibly checking out the Rugby team (BEAR DOWN ARIZONA!). Tucson is a very special place to me…it’s my hometown.

After graduation, I left Tucson. I couldn’t wait to leave. Bright lights, big city…LA, San Francisco, cable tv shows, studio services, feature films…it was fun. But it was hard. Feast or famine. So I came back. I couldn’t wait to get back. The mountains, the monsoons, the Mexican food, oh, and my family that I missed terribly. I met my hunky English hubby, started¬†Black Sheep Filmworks, rescued an Australian Shepherd, a brown tabby cat and an Australian Cattle Dog. I also gave birth to two of the finest human beings you will ever meet, Alexa and Aidan. Okay, so maybe I’m a little biased. ¬†Tucson is the place that chose me from the get-go. And the place I chose to call home when I had a choice.

YOU have a choice as well, where to hold your wedding. That most ahhhmazing day with your dearly beloved(s)….why choose Tucson for a Destination wedding? ¬†Here¬†are¬†my top five reasons:

1. The Scenery. Search¬† “Tucson, Arizona” ¬†in google images and you get choices: Mountains, Skyline, Sunset, Downtown and University of Arizona, all of which are spectacular,¬†especially the mountains and the sunsets. All sunsets with high wispy clouds are pretty, but when you have a sunset with gorgeous color AND a huge saguaro in the background, that’s ICONIC.

2. The Venues. From¬†The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain¬†to ¬†Skyline Country Club¬†to¬†Hacienda del Sol¬†to Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, Tucson is full of ¬†world class resorts, spas and inns that want to pamper you and your guests with loads of Tucson hospitality. The views, the food, the pools, the golf…just basking¬†in the warm Tucson sun, it’s AHHHmazing!

3. Margaritas. From prickly pear to mango haba√Īero, you won’t find a better specialty cocktail. Enough said.

4. The Wedding Professionals. Or the Wedding Vendors, or “Friendors” as my friend Brie Dumais of¬†Brie Dumais Designs¬†likes to call us;) Hands down, some of the most talented, creative, fun, hard working, kick a** individuals you will ever have the pleasure of being around. From florists to photographers, event planners to filmmakers (!) Tucson’s talent is extraordinary. And we all like each other.¬†We will scramble up a hill loaded with cacti and maybe a gopher snake or two (don’t worry, they’re¬†non-venomous ;)) to get that dream shot of you and your beloved. We are used to this 100+ degree “dry” heat. We don’t over direct and under produce. Golf carts, Quarter horses and dirt bikes were probably our first mode of transportation, or our most recent, so we’ve got you covered. We know Tucson, we love it, and we want to share it with you and your besties.

5. The Feel. No place in the world feels like Tucson. It’s a sprawling city (over 227 square miles!)¬†in the middle of four mountain ranges under a huge sunny¬†sky 350 days a year, but it still feels like a small town. When I meet a new client, somewhere in my portfolio, you will know someone. 6 degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon? It’s about 2 to 3 degrees of separation in Tucson. From¬†The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum to the Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson is full of natural beauty, wildlife, and history. And really nice people. Come to Tucson for your Big day, home of the best¬†sunsets, warm sunshine, spas, saguaros…oh, I could go on and on. Okay, maybe I’m a little biased…

Want to see a destination:Tucson styled shoot¬†in all its glory? The incomparable Rackel Gehlsen of Rackel Gehlsen Weddings and Events, otherwise known as the planner with the mostest, brought together a dream team of¬†incredible wedding “friendors” at the Tanque Verde Ranch for a desert ranch glam inspired wedding shoot.

While we all channeled our inner Ralph Lauren and sipped some fabulous prickly pear margaritas, some true Tucson wedding magic occurred…check out this behind the scenes video to see this styled shoot in all it’s glory!
Cheers to this dream team, and to Destination: Tucson weddings¬†…and ENJOY!!!

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Wedding Toasts: with a little help from your cool, new bffs.

People Are Paying These Women To Write Their Wedding Toasts

I am asked A LOT about wedding toasts…How long should they be?(Under five minutes) Should my toast¬†be funny? (Sure, but no inside jokes) May¬†I walk around while I toast? (Please don’t…”Walkers” get cut from the film). A Black Sheep Filmworks‘¬†wedding film relies heavily on audio, especially speeches, vows and even pre-wedding interviews. So it’s very important that your toasts are top notch, as you will be listening to them for years to come.¬†Speech Tank¬†to the rescue!!! Read on to see how to make your best man and bridesmaid speeches “drop the mic” worthy. And no, you should not begin with “For those of you who don’t know me…” ūüėČ Many thanks to Rent the Runway’s blog The Shift for the following post!


First there was DIY. Then, came DIQ (Do It Quick). Last year, Abby Larsen, founder of StyleMePretty, a popular bridal inspiration site, pronounced DIQ as the new DIY (much to the relief of stressed out brides everywhere!)  What’s next? We’re predicting 2017 will be the year of DWYW (Do What You Want) wedding planning.

With an explosion of affordable services and experts just a click or swipe away, you have the freedom to DIY all the fun stuff and leave the rest to the pros. Now, you can even outsource wedding speeches(!)

Enter Speech Tank, a Brooklyn-based speechwriting company founded by Marisa Polansky and Kristine Keller. The duo writes speeches for all occasions, but got their start helping anxious friends with maid-of-honor and best-man toasts.

By day, Marisa is a book editor at a major publishing house and Kristine is a writer and partnerships manager at a fashion non-profit. At night, they conduct interviews with clients turning¬†their memories into mic-drop-worthy speeches. ‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt hang up the phone until we feel we‚Äôve got enough to work from,‚ÄĚ says Kristine.

While some may find it controversial to outsource something so personal, any business that makes wedding prep smarter (and less stressful) has our attention.¬†We caught up with Kristine and Marisa¬†who revealed the ‚Äúkiss of death‚ÄĚ for wedding toasts, shared some of their speech-writing secrets, and told us about the ups and downs of side-hustle life. Read on.


How did you get the idea for Speechtank?


Marisa: Our friends came to us with so much anxiety about speeches they had to give, primarily at weddings. They are so capable and yet, they couldn’t come up with the idea. Working with us, they’d end up with this really personal speech. And after doing many, many, many of these for our friends we decided there’s a real market for this.


What kind of speeches do you guys write?


Marisa: Maid of honor or best man speeches… also [for] birthday parties, commencements and we’ve started doing eulogies, too.

Kristine: We’re not ruling anything out at this point.


It must be so interesting speaking to people at pivotal moments in their life. Is that what drew you to this business?


Kristine: Absolutely. That‚Äôs one of our favorite parts: listening to people‚Äôs stories. We love hearing about how people met or why someone is meaningful to them. We love to be that person to our friends, too ‚Äď emphatetic, great listeners. We want to help you and make you feel confident.


Kristine, you worked as a trained field worker ‚Äúmastering a method of questioning that helps people reveal their stories.‚ÄĚ Can you share a secret for getting people to open up?


Kristine:  Avoid generalizations. We try to get specific stories from people. Those are going to resonate way more. Also, never ask a yes or no question because it ends there.


Marisa, by day, you’re a book editor. How is editing a book similar or different than editing a speech?


Marisa: Authors are used to being edited, whereas someone who comes to us to write a speech isn’t. Every word is really important to them. Sometimes they feel like they want to say everything and include every inside joke they’ve ever had with their friend.


So, what makes a good maid of honor speech or best man speech?


Kristine: Stick to a theme.

Marisa: I think of giving a wedding speech like telling a story. It should have a beginning, middle and end. It should all tie together. Keep it short. Everyone knows this as a guest at a wedding…but not always when it gets to be your turn to give a speech.


What makes a not-so-good speech?


Marisa: Inside jokes are the kiss of death. They’re not really funny to anyone else. You have to tell the whole story and it doesn’t really ever land but weirdly it’s the thing people gravitate towards. Don’t just think about the person you’re giving the speech to. It’s really for everyone in the room.

Kristine: Avoid inside jokes at all cost. We always say ‚Äėit‚Äôs not a card.‚Äô If you want to say all those things‚Äďwrite a card.


What would you say to someone who might balk at the idea of outsourcing something so personal?


Kristine: The goal is to alleviate any anxiety from writing or delivering a speech. We really want to give you that superstar moment. We joke that we want you drop the mic at the end. We want you to feel like Beyonce.

Marisa: It’s been so successful so far because it really feels like someone’s words parroted back at them. We figure out what their best story is and the best way to tell it. They truly are so personalized and intimate.


What do you charge for a maid of honor or best man speech?


Kristine: On the first phone call we decide together on the package. The price depends on the scope of work and there’s a rush fee if it’s under a week. Some people will say they already have a draft and just want us to make it better. Some people say they have absolutely no idea where to start.

Marisa: We really want it to be affordable especially with all the expenses that go into weddings.


What’s the best and worst part of having a side gig?


Kristine: The best part is it‚Äôs a creative outlet‚Äď[you get to] do something else you‚Äôre deeply passionate about.

Marisa: The worst is it often feels like they’re aren’t enough hours of the day.

Kristine: And drinking more espressos.


What are your tips for other women starting a business or passion project?


Kristine: Use the 3 a.m. benchmark. If this is something you wouldn’t mind working on or thinking about at three in the morning that could be a very real possibility. It goes against Speechtank’s best practices to use cliches but in this case it’s appropriate: you have to love what you’re doing.


Main image credit: Tory Rust (photography)

Social image credit: It’s Julien


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Your wedding is not “too cool” for a wedding video

After filming and editing weddings for just under 25 years, I have to say something. I’ve stayed quiet, kept my head down, created fab films for ahhmazing couples, but I must call you out. Yes, you. The newly engaged, or the engaged-about-to-walk-down-the-aisle, who are “not having video.” I hear it often, when I ask ¬†the engaged “Who is your videographer?”, they look slightly annoyed, and even puzzled by the question. “Oh, we aren’t having video…but we have a great photographer!”, as if the photographer is going to fill this motion picture void with their¬†wonderful photos. FYI: they won’t, because they can’t. Photos cannot tell the same story as a visual medium that walks and talks,¬†and the biggest regret of newlyweds, according to a recent poll, is the lack of a professional wedding video. Video is no longer cheesy, and it’s no longer a luxury. It’s like a documentary film, but better, because it features you and your family and friends. In your best clothes. You won’t realize the power of it until the day after your “big day”. That’s when you will thank your lucky stars that you found your¬†creative filmmaking genius, paid them a chunk of change and now have more memories, in sight and sound, than you realized was possible.

Here are a few misconceptions about wedding videos, and my thoughts.

Video is obtrusive.                          

It used to be, with big lights and even bigger cameras. But thanks to the DSLR revolution, video cameras are the same size or smaller than a standard still camera, and sometimes they are the same camera. Their ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†low light capabilities and beautiful imagery make them the perfect choice for stealthy filmmaking. So many times I hear “I didn’t even notice you guys and you got everything.” Modern wedding filmmakers are¬†like ninjas, with cameras.

Video is cheesy.

It used to be, with heart wipes, selective color and slow motion (oh, wait, slow-mo is back in, but I digress). The wedding video is now the wedding film, and it truly is like a movie. Most wedding videographers¬†are really documentarians, who want to show the events of your day as they happened, but in the most emotional, timeless and entertaining way possible. I have a very detailed questionnaire that I send to my clients before their wedding, and it really shows me what is important to them. Who the key family members and friends are, the fonts used on invitations and signage, what music you love and¬†hate, anything special to you two, and your wedding day. The knowledge of your personal stories and the details of ¬†this “best day” make it easier for us to get involved and pull the most honest, emotional moments from hours of footage. I also love to meet before the wedding, over coffee or a cocktail, and¬†get to know you…if not, a chat via skype or facetime can make us all friends.

Video is a luxury we can’t afford.

When all is said and done, all you will have left from this most ahhmazing day is your wedding video and photos. Make room in the budget! Forgo the wedding favors, over-the-top decor, have one less dinner course and get a REALLY GREAT WEDDING FILM. ¬†Find a filmmaker in your area (I’m happy to help as I know the most incredibly talented people all over the world), look at their work, read their reviews, and email or call them. Get comfortable, see if they make you smile, and if their work makes you laugh, cry and feel connected to these people that you don’t even know. If it does, hire them. You will be so happy that you did.

I’m/My beloved is camera shy.

Most people are, but the good news is, it isn’t all about you, or your beloved. Well, it kind of is, as the betrothed, but it’s really about how people react to you. It’s how everyone gets misty during your vows and cheers during your pronouncement and recessional. It’s about your favorite great Aunt in a dance-off with your best man. It’s about the toasts. It really is about the toasts, because without a professional videographer, with really good audio knowledge and equipment, those toasts are going out into the ether, never to be heard again. This is one of the many reasons you cannot leave the wedding filmmaking to your cousin and his iphone (bless them). The video may be passable to good, but the sound¬†will not be, and the audio¬†is at least one half of what makes a great wedding film. So, don’t worry about being camera shy. SO many of my clients say the same thing, and are put totally at ease on the wedding day. We are fun, we want you to have fun, and we want to record the fun. No stress, only good times.

Photographers and Videographers don’t get along.

Not true. I love my photographer friends, and they refer me A LOT. We work well together, have innovative energy, and make sure everything is documented in all its glory. We are artists, and enjoy the creative process.

So you, you the “oh, we aren’t having video” types, I beg you to reconsider. Check out a few of the highlight films here, from couples just like you, who didn’t want video at first. Thankfully, a smart wedding planner, a lovingly controlling Mother-in-law-to-be, a Dad who likes to record every moment, someone who knows the power of the wedding video, intervened. You, and your most wonderful day are not “too cool” for video, in fact, it’s just the opposite. Your wedding will be so heartfelt, beautiful and timeless, it will make an ahhmazing film. ¬†Call or email your best local wedding filmmaker. You will be so happy you did.



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Skyline Country Club: WOW for this Wedding Video!

Shimmery, sparkly, and golden….with liberal dashes of laughs, epic dance moves and FIREWORKS made Christy and Clark’s gorgeous wedding¬†f√™te at Skyline Country Club AHHHMAZING! Oh, that dress, those flowers, the way Clark looked at Christy when she first ascended the staircase…WOW! We even had a little rain (see if you can spot the lightening in those awesome storm clouds ūüėČ but the weather held and gave us gorgeous light. This entire day was perfect, and I don’t often say that. Many thanks to Christy and Clark, to their family and friends…you were charming, welcoming and not shy on the dance floor. Great night, great light, great love…the black sheep thanks you for sharing this beautiful day…BRAVO!!!

Many thanks to the following dream team of wedding rockstars…xoxo to all!
Venue: Skyline Country Club-Michelle Schuyler
Officiant: Jack Garbo (Clark’s godfather)
Event Coordinator: Victoria with Meagan Crain Events
Photographer: Amanda Rockafellow
Make-up/Hair Stylist: Raemi with I DO Hair and Makeup Artistry
Wedding gown: Pronovias/Gigi Bridal
Florist: Urban Stems
Guitarist and Band: Dr. Eduardo Costa and TreJa Vu Band
Photo booth: Amanda Rockafellow

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“I DO” at Tanque Verde Ranch:Let the Wedding Adventure begin!!

What I really love about Tanque Verde Ranch, besides the horses, mountain views and towering cottonwood trees with juvenile great horned owls nesting in them (yes, watch the video, second shot) is that you can make it your own. You can have a rustic, western themed wedding, or you can have an sleek, stylish affair with tons of glam. Or, you can aim for the middle of the two, and in true Annie Oakley style–Bull’s-eye!! This is exactly what Erica and Carson achieved this May at the ranch.

“Let the Adventure begin” proclaimed the card banner draped over the great fireplace in the Saguaro room, and that motto worked well for the whole weekend. This was a destination wedding, and family and friends were treated to horseback rides, hiking, golf outings and a few mandatory massages after all of the fabulous outdoor fun. The wedding day was sunny, then cloudy, and then…rainy! Which is really odd for mid May. Erica looked at the rain on the window, and became teary. I thought she was upset that their outdoor ceremony could be rained-out. Not the case. Erica’s Mom had passed away last year, and she LOVED the rain. Erica was sure that her Mom was there, in spirit and in rain drop form. We had a very sweet first look, a romantic, drizzly photo session and then a gorgeous outdoor ceremony at the Cactus View. The travel theme continued, as Carson and Erica had a sign post at the end of the aisle with exotic locales from Tongariro Park, New Zealand to Lake Como, Italy. My favorite part? THE VOWS…holy crow, these two went all out writing their own vows and their was not a dry eye in the house! My other favorite part? The fans that became paper airplanes that were flown above Erica and Carson as they recessed down the aisle–they even made sure the tips of the planes were blunt, so that no one lost an eye. #safetyfirst

The cocktail hour was full of signature cocktails, a giant postcard to take selfies in, and lots of yummy appetizers. The reception began with the introduction of the happy couple, lots of toasting, and then it was time for the first dance. It began slow and romantic, and then went into a salsa number with twirls and a great lift…everyone oohhhed and aaahhhed. The dance floor was packed, as was the cigar and bourbon bar out on the back patio. This #carsica #lovesnotcomplincated wedding at Tanque Verde ranch had this black sheep never wanting to leave this old homestead. No worries, we will be back. #fallweddings #styledshoots #tanqueverderanch #weloveithere

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