On Event Videography & Filmmakers

Cinema Cake

I was introduced to my first event filmmaker in 1993. At the time David Stiles was operating out of a small apartment in Northeast Philadelphia under the name “Video Styles” (clever, huh?) that seconded as his editing studio. It just so happened that I was looking for a videographer to shoot some demo video for my fledgling DJ company, but what I found in Mr. Stiles was much more than a simple videographer… I found a filmmaker. The work that Dave was doing was so cutting edge (when the term fits, use it), that he literally blew away anything I’d ever seen before, and after some coercing, Dave agreed to do some “pro bono” work for Cutting Edge Entertainment.

Sadly for us, but good for Stiles, he was SO good that we lost him to N.F.L. Films about a decade later. David Stiles has moved on from the event business, and is now an accomplished editor and film producer (and Emmy Award Winner… Just Google him) for the good folks at N.F.L. The loss was bittersweet.

It took me almost a decade to find another videographer whom I considered to be the caliber of David Stiles… and coincidentally, his name was Dave as well.

Now before I continue, I should probably say that my little story of David and David doesn’t mean there aren’t other great videographers in the Philadelphia market that produce exceptional quality event videos, but few stand out in my mind as to call them filmmakers.

Truth be told, I’d never applied the term “filmmaker” to a video produced for a wedding, bar or bat mitzvah prior to meeting Dave Williams (my second Dave). Williams coined the phrase, and I adopted it… It fit. Having done some video work myself for some YouTube projects, I’m living proof that anyone can just pick up a camera, point, and shoot, but a camera does not a videographer make. Trust me, I’m no filmmaker. To turn a video of a wedding or a bat mitzvah into something so well crafted and carefully shot and edited into something wholly entertaining and, well, totally friggin cool takes serious skills. It’s a way of telling a story using imagery to evoke emotion and capture precious moments, weaving them all together to make something more akin to a major motion picture than a home movie.

So what inspired me to write a blog post all about videography and film making? Well, a few weeks ago Dave Williams sent me a link to a music video he had created to be debuted at his own daughter’s bat mitzvah. I was awed. Now keep in mind, I don’t get to see too many of these, and the last time I remember seeing one anything close to this was ten years ago, by that other Dave who now wins Emmy Awards. I’d almost forgotten how awesome a video could be.

Take a look and judge for yourself. (Dave is “Gus” the bus driver)

And the outtakes…

So umm, yeah. pretty cool huh? As you can probably guess, it’s not cheap to produce something like this, but really, really cool things rarely are.

No, Mr. Williams didn’t pay me to say any of this. If he were to ask Dave Stiles as to my motives, Stiles would probably tell him that I was one of his biggest fans, and that perhaps somewhere deep down, I wished I was selling videography instead of DJ services. He might even be right. But when something is this good, it kind of sells itself. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m looking to score a few more pro bono demo videos from another great film maker. 🙂

And if you aren’t impressed yet, feel free to check out some more amazing stuff at Dave Williams website (see below). You won’t be disappointed.

Craig Sumsky
Director and Wannabe Film Maker
Cutting Edge Entertainment

Dave Williams “CinemaCake” – www.cinemacake.com


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