According to Wedding Wire’s 2017 Newlywed Report, the “average” national wedding costs $28,000. When you break that down after paying for all the little costs that go into having a wedding, that doesn’t really leave much left over, does it? Yet somehow, someway, many couples find the funds to hire the age old “wedding videographer”, and THAT is where we come in.
Over the past four years, I myself have attended and filmed over one 100 weddings under my brand name Elvira Mary Videographers. I am but a small fish in the large pond of amazingly talented Philadelphia cinematographers, and I would not have grown past a tadpole if it were not for my community of practice.
I first began to attend The Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association upon graduating college. What I found was a collaboration of intellects who wanted to continuously pursue better and more efficient ways to produce films, specifically wedding films. These members were a family throughout the Philadelphia area, who built businesses on referrals from one another and had been in operation for over twenty years, constantly raising the standards. They welcomed me immediately, urging me to participate not only within their in person community but their online forums as well, which I post in almost weekly to this day for guidance and feedback on a variety of different business related questions.
When I began to read our text on “communities of practice” it clicked for me that not only have I been participating in one regularly for many years, but also that this particular community of practice transcends many of the different community concepts.
Association: The Greater Philadelphia Videographers Association is first and foremost just that, an association, that focuses on monthly meetings to bring members together to discuss one curated topic in an open forum, where discussing experiences and feedback are the main event of the evening.
Organization: We are all (for the most part) business owners, who are utilizing the organizational concept by learning from one another each time we meet, and on a daily basis in the forums we post in. Really, nothing is off limits, and I have seen fellow filmmakers ask questions ranging from “Is this okay to say to your client.” to “I have lost my clients footage- has this ever happened to anyone?!?”.
The Web: Even though we meet monthly throughout the Philadelphia area, there are often times when you’re in the throws of wedding season and just need a professional’s opinion without leaving your studio. This is where the inter webs come in handy, allowing us to hop onto either our own private group (GVPA) or the many sub groups on Facebook where “creatives” (Videographers and Photographers alike) are able to learn from one another and grow in their business from one year to the next.
International development: Destination weddings! Due to the web, it has become increasingly easy for creatives to converse across country lines. It has actually lead to many US based videographers filming overseas, following their couples to awesome places like Italy and Spain in order to capture their memories. This new capability of US based creatives has created a sub section of our community that have become obsessed with providing this service throughout the world, and due to this, many international filmmakers are now weighing in on the conversations as well!
So that leads me to wonder, if this community of practice was occurring all along within my daily routine, what other communities are out there, and how are they making the world a better place?