Wedding Film Academy arrives: Life in Lockdown

by | May 12, 2020

“It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine….”

I’ve never really been into R.E.M but this afternoon, I found myself tapping my feet along to their tune being played, rather ironically but most probably unintentionally, on Swiss Radio.

I had so many things planned for 2020. We all did, didn’t we? I was told it was going to be a big year for weddings (brides like a rounded number, apparently) and for me it was going to be a big summer of filming, not just with weddings but corporate commissions for various travel and tourism businesses in Switzerland.

I had a lovely holiday planned with my family and the best intentions to get out more and explore my surroundings and the beautiful place that I live.

Then Covid-19 happened.

I hadn’t even finished the ski season when on 15 March everything simply shut down with about four hours notice.  Every ski lift, the ’tourism’ train services, the restaurants, the bars and then, as the tourists went home, the hotels closed too.

Wengen became a ‘ghost’ town and due to the fact that my youngest son got ill with a fever, our family went into quarantine for 14 days. When we emerged the weather here was just beautiful for spring and the snow had melted prematurely (looks like mother nature had already given up on 2020 too) so the world, or at least Wengen, was my oyster!

We have been so lucky with lockdown here in this small mountain village with nature on our doorstep and  easy access to walks all around us without worrying about social distancing.  So I have to say that, unlike I expect for many of my UK fellow videographers, life has not  been so bad!

What I’ve learnt over the past 12 weeks:

  • Alcohol is seen as ‘essential’, while many other items in the shops are not
  • Social Distancing became the ’new normal’
  • Teachers are heroes
  • The sky is more beautiful without planes in it
  • There is enough toilet roll
  • Being enclosed in a house with your family and dog for 14 days is TOUGH
  • 30 seconds of burpees with Joe Wicks is not as easy as it looks
  • After the rain comes a rainbow!

MY Rainbow

As my wedding clients started to postpone their day, one by one the bookings fell away. I did start feeling guilty about NOT working.  I was busy with home schooling my two boys and that has been a major stress, and I know I am not alone in that.

But I soon got over the initial shock and I started to realise I could seize this opportunity – a rather rare occurrence of a gaping hole in my diary – to pursue my passion of sharing my knowledge of 10 years in the wedding film industry with those willing to learn.

And, that was then I decided, inspired by the success of my Evolve Videography Retreats and Workshops, to bring my trainings online into the offices, studios and homes of other videographers, wherever they are.

That’s when my flagship course (because I’ve already decided there will be others), The Wedding Film Academy for Female Filmmakers was born.

How it works

For me it has been a bit like fulfilling a dream of writing a book (that’s also on my bucket list and next in the queue).

I’ve wanted to bring Evolve online for so long but never had the time to do it.  Now I had the time but I was still acutely aware there could be other barriers I would allow to get in the way.  Because, there’s always tomorrow….

So. I did the most sensible thing I could and bought an online course about building online courses, to hold my hand throughout the process but more importantly to be accountable.

After working for the BBC’s College Of Journalism and hosting my retreats, I know I can deliver effective videography training sessions offline but wanted to know more about transferring this to the online world. Especially, given the international travel constraints we are all facing for the foreseeable future.

I was not only accountable for the financial investment I made in buying that course but I also joined the Facebook group accompanying the course in order to unite with a community of other like-minded ‘course-makers’ in achieving my goal.

I remember with clarity in the first week posting that I just wished the process was over and that my course was finished and another member in the group reminded me to ‘enjoy the ride!’ What great words of wisdom – to immerse myself in the process of writing and recording my course, everything I would learn along the way and enjoy my time doing it.

Every step along the way had its challenges because although I knew what I wanted in my course, and how to teach that I had no idea how to put it into an engaging and compelling online course without losing the personality of my retreats. Every module I completed I felt a real sense of achievement and felt energised about taking the following steps. On completing the whole course I was empowered, motivated and ready to put into practice everything I learnt. I was so excited.

Yes, I have faced lots of barriers and when I did, I either called on members of the Facebook group or asked questions in the twice-monthly webinars my course offered – so useful.

For me, these were an essential lifeline and one of the reasons why I decided to also incorporate both these elements in my online course.

I thought about how I would feel if I were tackling the course on my own and how easy it would be to take half-measures on tasks and perhaps even give up.

But with a Facebook group and a community of like-minded female videographers it’ll be so much easier – I’ve also learnt that from the group I already run called the ‘Female Film Creatives’, It’s full of amazing women inspiring and empowering one and other with a shared passion of filmmaking.

And, whenever I have faced difficult and specific questions I have been able to email the instructor on the course and have these specific questions answered in the group webinar sessions.

As well as these important elements it was crucial for my online trainings to share the same ethos as my retreats in that they are hands-on and immersive.

What I mean by that is that just like in my workshops and retreats, it’s not about me sitting there and lecturing people about what I do and why I am so good at it. But it’s a sharing of knowledge that’s so valuable in a way that allows others to take their own path and become better at what they do, not what I do.

All the attendees of my workshops have loved the practical parts where we work together on solutions, like the practical set-up of the ceremony and speeches in real-life setting.  I cannot of course offer this on my online course but there are lots of demonstrations within the course and I use real weddings to illustrate each teaching area.

Not only that but after each module you advance to the next by taking part in the exercises and tasks to prove you’ve mastered what I’ve shared with you.

This is something different from many other online courses I have seen and one of the reasons why this one is such good value for money.

So, now it is over to you. If you’ve wanted to make the most of weddings being postponed to enhance your skills so that when the industry opens its doors once again, you’re raring to go with a new passion – the time is NOW!

Find out more and sign up to my WEDDING FILM ACADEMY FOR FEMALE FILMMAKERS online training course.