Making a film is not just a ‘pick up a camera, point and shoot’ affair – well, it could be if you don’t value quality! But your wedding day is different – the people behind the camera need the skills and finesse of experience. Max and Jesse of Marry Me Movies bring a wealth of experience in television and working on documentaries, so you know you’re in good hands. Their work has a cinematic quality – taking in the surrounds as well as the wedding details, painting a complete picture of the day. What was the weather like, what did that day’s sunset look like, what did we feel when we walked to that majestic headland – all making up a never to be repeated picture of the wedding day. When you can watch something and it still brings up all the emotions even years later, then you know you’ve had the magic of the day captured forever. Here, Jesse and Max share their story.
How long have you been a film maker?
We’ve actually been working in the film industry since we were 18. We’ve really just acted as a sponge since then and absorbed every bit of knowledge and trick of the trade around us since then.
The background we’ve had has meant we’ve approached weddings really differently. We’ve blended a documentary style of observation with high end cinematography…I’ve already lost you there haven’t I? We try to blend our documentary style, which is candid and really natural with beautiful video footage and photos. We want people to have fun on their wedding day and not force them to fake laugh or have them feel awkward. We want people to have fun, because that’s what creates beautiful images and keeps us enjoying what we do every day.
How/why did you start filming weddings?
We started filming wedding on request from our family and friends. They would see what we creating with our careers in TV and film and want that for their own weddings. Eventually it grew to a level where it was for a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend and we were out of Australia filming destination weddings every few weekends. We knew at that moment we wanted to go full time. Now, almost 6 years later we’re really fortunately to still love what we do.
How would you describe your profession?
We get to hang out with people on one of the best days of their lives. You get to know someone really well in the space of a few hours and we feel really lucky to be in that position for what we do as a career.
What does being a ‘boutique business’ mean to you in terms of service?
Being a boutique business is really important to us. We had the choice to grow our business into a 500 weddings a year behemoth and we chose not to go down that path. We want to get to know each one of our couples and offer a level of care that you just can’t offer with 500 weddings a year. It also lets us learn more about our couples and reflect that level of understanding in our photos and videos.
Although we know you as a cinematographer do you also do wedding photography?
We offer full photography and videography options. Meaning you can book both photography and videography with us or choose any of the great photographers that we highly recommend.
How would you describe your filming style?
Candid and natural. We choose to capture real personalities and don’t ask people to pose. If it doesn’t feel fun or right, we’re not going to ask you to do it just to get the shot. We want you to enjoy the day and not really be aware that there’s any cameras around.
What is it about your film style that is popular amongst bridal couples?
I think couples are really spoilt for choice these days. There’s three big things that we specifically hear from our couples. They love that we shoot on film cameras that are the same used to film Hollywood productions. If your husband is a tech type he can Google: “Blackmagic Ursa Mini 4.6K’s”. The second is that unless we’re already booked, you get us on the day. We’ve shot hundreds of weddings and we love it. You can’t really replicate personality or experience. Not to mention getting to hang out with someone who really loves what they do. The last one is the candid and natural style that we shoot in. It’s really important.
What is it about the power of film – what perspective does it give to the wedding day?
I think it’s best described by what I hear in emails from couples after they receive their highlight films or photos. I’ve heard of couples watching their highlight film 10 times in a day and even something like 50 times a month. We bumped into one of our couples at a wedding in Orange, NSW last year and he said that he had informally made a rule saying how many times his wife was allowed to watch their film. He would discover her with tears in her eyes after watching it over and over again. We love to hear stories like this 🙂
What changes have you seen over the years in the wedding day itself?
We’ve seen couples really understanding that the wedding day is their day. If they don’t want to do a bouquet toss or the garter throw, then they don’t have to. The traditional wedding day is really just a structure that they can add or remove from until it suits them best. There really are no rules when it comes to weddings.
How different are bridal couples’ expectations of their photographers/cinematographers today?
We’ve seen people asking better questions than when we first started. There’s so much good information out there, like the Polka Dot Bride website, that it’s helped shape and clarify everyone’s questions and answers and that’s a really good thing.
Are there some parts of the day that you always include in your films?
Every wedding we film is different and understanding our couples really intimately lets us include the moments that are most important to them. We’re so familiar with weddings from all different types of cultures that we love hearing about what’s most important to our couple and if need be, what’s not really that important. We’ll create a film that they’ll love no matter what, but it’s really those little details that comes from us asking questions, that makes a film that someone wants to watch 10 times in a day.
How important are the details of the surroundings (whether a sunset through grasses, a mountain top or a family home) to your films? What does that add to the finished film?
If you watch a film on the big screen, the film maker will use shots of the surrounding area to create a feeling that you’re really there. We use our establishing/scenic shots to make you feel like you’re reliving the day. It’s those little moments where we capture the Autumn leaves falling off a tree or the first sunset you had as husband and wife that kind of by passes your brain and lets you relive the emotions you had at that moment. As a film maker and photographer, we think that’s pretty neat.
What other techniques do you use to add a cinematic quality to your films?
We use drone, timelapse and a range of film making techniques that really help us create a cinematic memory of a wedding day, but it all pales in comparison to really sharing a wedding day with someone. And at the end of the day, we’re just people who are really grateful to be doing what we’re doing. The fact that we’ve won awards for doing it is really just icing on the cake.
If wanting to book your services, how far out from the wedding should we contact you?
We book out up to 3 years in advance, so if you’re excited it’s best to get in contact with us at www.marrymemovies.com.au and we’ll do our best to get your date locked in.
Do you travel all over Australia (or the world!) to shoot weddings?
We’re often out of Australia to shoot weddings in New Zealand, The Cook Islands, Vanuatu or even just Hamilton island, but if your wedding is out of Australia, just talk to us and we can help you with the planning process.
Would you tell us about the charities Sight Savers and World Wildlife Fund – and how you became involved with them and why you passionate about these causes?
Every wedding we film helps go towards donations to Sight Savers and the World Wildlife Fund. We’ve always wanted to help out in some way and with Sight Savers the weddings we shoot help fund donations for Cataract operations for Children in developing countries. Cataracts are this weird clouding of the eye that kind of just happens. It means healthy kids slowly get cloudy vision that eventually just takes over and makes them blind. The crazy thing is that for something like $70, you can completely fix it.
If they don’t get it fixed they sometimes have to beg, or be the equivalent of fortune tellers…and the worst part is it drags the whole family down because one person in the family isn’t able to work.
The charity work is something we really want to focus in on and hopefully inspire lots of other people to give or help out in some way.
After all the travel and filming how do you wind down – and rejuvenate for the coming weeks?
We’re really big nature buffs, so we love exploring on the free weekends/days we have. It’s really a reset for us…that and we’re also big nerds and love to play video games 🙂
Thank you Jesse and Maxim for sharing your story. Film and photography both give you a different view of your wedding day – yet both are so essential to maintaining the memories of the day. To find out more about Marry Me Movies visit the website.
Headshot by Alpine Image Company