Sam from White Villa Films explains how fear can be your greatest asset, in life and business, while answering our version of the Proustian Questionnaire. He also shared some of White Villas amazing wedding videos. Their mad editing skills makes it easy to see the benefits of having a videographer for your big day.

What is your idea of the perfect wedding?

The perfect wedding for us as videographers really revolves around having that energy and genuine happiness present. With this everything else just falls into place and it will be a great day. Force it too much and have too high expectations and you can tell. Weddings should be about honest promises, the celebration and having a big party.

What is your greatest fear when you are working on a wedding?

Some 500 weddings in to this job and it still happens, every single wedding – in the morning, the night before, sometimes the week before – that awful dread and fear of missing the ceremony! Coupled with a more general fear of missing any element of the day! It all comes from knowing that this only happens once, each moment is unique and cannot be replicated so the thought of missing any part of that is simply terrifying.

What is your best trait that helps you be so great at your job?

Probably the above! That fear means we care and keeps us on our toes. I think without that you have lost respect for what you do.

Which living person do you most admire?

Ooh difficult one. I’ve thought long about this one and I think it’s actually my parents – yep soppy answer guilty as charged – they have done so much for us kids and giving us everything we need to get ahead in life. They are always giving and always caring without condition. I know I have to chose one so I’m going to say mum only because she puts up with dad so she wins.

What is your greatest extravagance that helps you get through the day?

On a wedding day when you are running around from location to location with several cameras, tripods, gimbals, microphones and whatever else is required there is nothing that can beat a tall pint of ice cold full fat cola. Especially in the summer heat after working non-stop for 6 hours or so without a break; the luxury of sitting down to reenergize with a sugary cold refreshment is a life saver!

What is your current state of mind?

Anxious and it rarely deviates from this!

What do you think is the most overrated thing that couples try to squeeze into their wedding day?

Controversial but…. the family photos! I’m not suggesting that you do away with them altogether as I think that there should be a couple but I do think that a couple is enough. All too often couples try to squeeze in dozens of variations of photos with every conceivable family arrangement. I know that part of it is family politics and not upsetting anyone but it really is another formal element that the day could do without. It’s forced and unnatural and disrupts the drink reception and pulls people away from each other. And at the end of it, I wonder how many times those photographs get skipped over or rejected from the final album anyway.

On what occasion is lying at work a good idea?

Do you mean having a nap or telling porkies? Its not really ever a good idea to take a nap at work although I have often found myself lying on the floor with my camera to get that creative shot! As for being truthful, well, I would only say if it’s one of those white lies where the alternative is someone gets hurt and on a wedding day I think that’s below the belt!

What is the most outrageous (fabulous or terrifying) outfit you have ever seen at a wedding?

There was a wedding we did many many years ago where the groom was in top hat and tails with a walking cane. But it was ALL in white. It was quite different!

What is the best theme you have seen at a wedding?

I think that it’s really hard to bring a theme into a wedding and carry across the whole day and all the aspects of it. But I think one that really comes to mind is a Game of Thrones themed wedding we did about 3 years ago now I think. It was set at a castle and all the groomsmen had broaches relating to the different ‘houses’ or ‘clans’ in the tv show. They used the music from the show throughout the day in the background and for walking down the aisle. The tables were all named after the houses/clans with lovely hand-crafted decorations and favours styled around the show. And the bride’s dress was of the sort of style I would imagine appears in the show too with a lovely decorative headpiece to go with it.

What is the hardest thing a couple has ever asked you to do for their day?

This is an easy one. Somewhere in Cornwall, I think it was where that Doc Martin tv show is/was set. The couple asked me to film a special sequence in their bedroom which would later be set to a very specific Bon Jovi song called Bed of Roses. There’s more to this story but I will have to stop myself there 😊

What quality in a groom do you like the most?

Endless compliments and adoration for his wife especially verbalized during the speeches

What quality in a bride do you like most?

Relentless joy

What is the most overused word at a wedding – or in a wedding speech?

In the speeches, there are A LOT of thankyous! Too many! We get it, you are grateful, just thank everyone otherwise you are going to forget someone and then they will be annoyed at you. Politics again.

When was the last time you laughed out loud at a wedding? What happened?

During the speeches at a wedding in June, the best man was just great at delivery of his stories and had a lot of genuinely funny true stories from the past to tell. There was a truly great anecdote about this one time that he and the groom went to watch darts and for some reason the groom decided to pretend to be a successful fictitious darts player which somehow he convincingly pulled off and which resulted in a very long queue of middle aged women waiting to get his signature!

What makes an ideal wedding?

Sunshine, bit selfish but really helps us with our job! But also good people who just want to have a bloody good time together.

What is the most unusual entertainment you have ever seen at a wedding?

Another easy one! A very recent wedding we had a visit from Her Royal Majesty the Queen! She arrived on the lawn during the drinks reception and walked to a podium while God Save Our Queen was playing and then proceeded to make a very funny speech to the Groom and Groom. It was just brilliant! Most of the afternoon was then spent taking selfies with this incredible Queen lookalike!!

If you could change one thing about a wedding, what would it be?

I would make dancing compulsory!

If you were to die and come back as person or thing, what would it be?

I’d come back as a Hollywood film director and make some beautiful films about family values

Where is your favourite setting for a wedding?

It has to be the Matara Centre right?! Wink wink!

What is the one thing you can’t live without in your job?

I could not live without a lot of things in my job, perhaps one of the annoying things about this job is the amount of kit required ☹ Putting that all aside though, I wouldn’t be able to manage without my car, my beloved VW that transports all that kit, keeps it safe and gets me to all the wonderful locations I get to visit without getting me lost. Keeping me warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A bike just wouldn’t cut it, let’s be honest.

What is the most embarrassing thing you have seen at a wedding?

I can’t recall many of these, probably because I try and erase them from my mind as soon as possible! But at quite a recent wedding we saw the Best Man recall previous girlfriends by name that I don’t think that the bride even knew about and it was just awkward. Don’t do that please, ever.

What is your favourite occupation, apart from your own?

Pilot.

What question do you wish every couple would ask you when you are meeting with them for the first time?

Do you like weddings abroad

Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

Other wedding videographers first and foremost. From across the UK but also America, I think the Americans have a really extravagant and healthy wedding culture and their approach to wedding films has always been a step ahead of ours. Particularly Rob Adams and Jim Garner are two people I have learnt a lot from.

What mistake do you see couples make over and over again on their day?

Endlessly worrying about the day and the weather – there’s only so much you can affect.

What is your biggest regret at a wedding you have worked on?

There have been a few weddings, this year even where we have only filmed a small part of the day and just regretted not being able to carry on to capture more of it because it has been so brilliant and the couple have been so lovely and there has clearly been a great story to tell that we were only able to scratch the surface of.

What is your motto?

‘Always be prepared’? No that’s the scouts, sorry but it’s a good one. How about ‘Be prepared’, ah no that’s Aston Villa FCs motto, all the good ones are taken dammit! Seriously though, it’s be ready at all times. At a wedding, as a photographer or videographer, there is no relaxing because something can happen at any moment and you need to be there when it does.

What would people be surprised to learn about you and/or your work?

That I won a scholarship from an incredibly talented Director of Photography – Douglas Slocombe who shot all of the Indiana Jones films. He helped me progress my love of cinema and work behind the camera.

Is there something you would like to add?

I don’t know, maybe just that wedding films are so often overlooked and they should be given more thought. Not only have they come a very long way since the days of VHS and shaky footage with crazy graphics but that they capture the day in a totally different light to anything else.

 

Visit the White Villa Film website to view more of their work or to talk to them about filming your big day.

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