Expert Interview with Monique Flanigan of Dreamtree Films

by | Cinematography Wisdom, Wisdom


Ms Floral

Wedding films are treasured forever, so it’s super important to find an experienced videographer who knows their stuff and can deliver the video of your dreams. Just like Monique Flanigan of Dreamtree Films! Monique has been a videographer for over 15 years and collaborates with her clients to capture their special day in a candid and beautiful video. Today we chat to her about her approach to wedding cinematography, the packages Dreamtree Films offers and how she gets her couples to relax in front of the camera!

Where are you based?
I’m based on the Central Coast and I also have an office in the Sydney CBD. I’m always happy to travel for my work too.

How long have you been a videographer?
I’ve been a videographer for around 15 years. Before starting up my business, I worked as a freelancer in film and TV in both camera and production roles, so that gave me a vast amount of experience to draw from.

Has your style and techniques changed over the years?
My style has always been very cinematic since I trained as a cinematographer and thats what I studied at university. Techniques do change a bit with technology, for example I now often use my Ronin steady rig to help me get really smooth moving shots. I love being able to play with slow motion as well.

In a creative sense, what do you love about making films?
One of the best things for me is capturing that special moment in time through my lens in a unique way that can never be repeated. I also really love getting into the edit suite and crafting the story and seeing it all come together. Also, the reactions of my happy clients when they view the video or see their photos for the first time, that brings a huge grin to my face.

Do you have a style of film making that defines you?
For weddings my style is quite modern and generally quite fresh, light and bright because it’s such a happy time, so I want the images to reflect that.

How do you ‘know’ what makes a great film shot? Is it instinctual?
What makes a great shot is when emotion is conveyed, so that the viewer can feel it too. For instance, if people are dancing and laughing, I want to get in there as much as possible so the viewer gets a real sense of that fun.

How do you approach wedding cinematography?
I like to be very light on my feet so I’m ready to capture any wonderful moment that may happen because you can’t make it happen twice. It’s the look on the groom’s face when he sees his bride arrive, or the bride’s father trying to hide his tears, those beautiful moments make a magic video.

How do you get your couples to relax in front of the camera?
I find that I’m quite instinctual with people and some are definitely more nervous than others on camera. Humour can be the best way to relax them and get genuine smiles. For others, some peace and quiet to themselves helps, and I encourage couples to look each other in the eye and think about the thing you love most about them. I want to see the truth in that moment, where they focus on each other, not me.

How do you work around the photographer taking shots at the wedding? Is it a collaborative effort?
It’s such a collaborative effort. I usually stand back to allow the photographer to get a few shots and then they will allow me a moment to get mine. I have a couple of amazing ladies who I work with and we have a very good understanding.

What do your wedding packages start at – and include?
My packages start at $1,150 and the options include half or full day, photography or just video. All packages include editing and delivery. I’m quite flexible with my packages and like to discuss what couples want.

In what ways do you regularly challenge yourself creatively with your film work?
I’m always looking at new technology and I’m interested to see what other filmmakers are doing. I’ll never stop learning and I love to try new techniques. Ultimately it’s fun to try new tools, but it always comes back to telling a story.

What inspires you?
I’m a real nature girl. Always have been. So I love to get out in the world. I also get inspired by artists of all different disciplines – writers, painters, designers.

Favourite wedding you’ve been a part of?
I think my favourite would have to be a friend’s recently where I was invited as a guest and photographer. They called it their “Festival of Love”. It was such a special and fun weekend. They hired a big field (with toilet facilities) where everyone camped out around the perimeter in gorgeous glamping tents. They had a large fire pit in the centre and there was a drumming circle, food truck, DJ, band, and lots of colourful decorations. It was a relaxed vibe, and a bit hippy/boho, in the best possible way.

Wedding trend you adore?
I’m loving the trend lately to “do it your way”. There really are no rules anymore. I think in the past many couples would do what they thought was expected or what they were “supposed to do” but now there’s more of a desire to be true to yourself and weddings are reflecting that. Which is so refreshing and interesting!

What about a trend you think should never make a comeback?
Hope I won’t offend anyone, but I’m not a fan of the horse and carriage, diamantes in roses, or dodgy wedding videos filmed on Aunty’s handycam!

Describe your job in three words?
Calm. Collaborative. Creative.

When you’re not working, where would we find you?
Almost always with my hubby, kids and dog at my local beach.

Thanks Monique for sharing your story with us today! Your beautifully crafted films speak for themselves. To find out more about Dreamtree Films, head to their website or check them out on the Polka Dot Directory.


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