It’s hard to believe that it’s already been over a week since the Colts won the Super Bowl, but after countless hours of reading every article I could find and watching every morsel of Colts coverage I could fit on my TiVo, I think I’m finally ready to get on with being a productive member of society, albeit with an extra bounce in my step. I am completely caught up with all of our wedding edits, and once I settle on an ideal format for showcasing the video clips, I’ll look forward to sharing those highlights here. My main focus this week has been catching up on all the “little” projects that I have accumulated over the past several months and completing an update of our website. I’m doing much of this from my home for these couple of days, and the view out my window of the heavy snowfall actually makes a perfectly serene backdrop for working.

I had the pleasure of attending a brunch Sunday at the Omni Severin Hotel organized by the Association of Bridal Consultants. It was fun as always to chat with fellow vendors there, but the highlight of the event was a presentation by nationally reknowned bridal consultant Barbara Wallace. She had a lot of wonderful insights to share, primarily aimed at the consultants there but applicable to anyone in business, about how to get to the top of your field and stay there. While I did pick some good tips, most of what she said already mirrored what my approach has been, so I left with a sense of affirmation that I’m on the right track.

I’ve been in the IndyVisual kitchen the past week cooking up some cool new ways to display and share our work with our clients and website visitors, so I’ve been a little more under the radar than usual. Hopefully I’ll wrap that all up soon, as one of my three months of down time is already slipping away. The bookings have been incredible so far in January, even more than usual, so that makes this down time that much more precious. I’ve already taken my boys out for a couple of fun weekends away. We spent last weekend at the Holidome in Columbus, at Great Times on the south side, and looking at RVs and boats just because I never have before. It’s amazing how easily entertained the kids are when they get out of the house.

I’ve heard the question “What’s on your iPod” used in many interviews to provide insight into the interviewee, but my own answer would be that I don’t own one. But in what I consider to be a modern “golden age” of television, perhaps what’s on my TiVo could be just as revealing about me: Apprentice, Desperate Housewives, Battlestar Galactica, 24, Heroes, American Idol, Lost, 30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs, Grey’s Anatomy, Entourage, Ebert & Roeper, ESPN’s Sports Reporters and Sportscenter. Oh, and the Colts/Patriots game, which may take me awhile to delete. What’s on yours? (If you don’t have one, trust me – best…invention…ever!)

I will resist every urge to turn this into a sports blog, but for the past several days, I have been living and breathing COLTS! I was at the crazy game on Sunday with my buddies, with whom I have held season tickets since 1995, and the drama and ultimate euphoria was like nothing I have experienced since I was on campus for IU’s 1987 national championship. I have closely followed every Colts game since they arrived in 1984, and so I’ve endured all the hard times, which only makes this Super Bowl trip even sweeter. (And by hard times, I don’t mean a 12-4 season followed by a playoff loss. I mean several 1-15 or 3-13 seasons and one 0-13 start. THAT was tough!) Prior to and since Sunday, I have been scrounging around for every online article and every morsel of TV and radio coverage I can find, which my doctor says is a classic symptom of “blue fever,” also known as gocoltitis. If you have similar symptoms and need support from a fellow sufferer, feel free to call or e-mail me. If you’re a current client, I promise I’ll still get some work done. GO COLTS!!!

Much of last Saturday was spent at the Ale Emporium in Fishers with a couple of fellow IU and Colts fans to watch both teams play. IU’s win over Penn State was certainly nice, but the real excitement was over the Colts’ grind-it-out win over the Ravens, which I predicted. Then I became a huge Patriots fan on Sunday, as I knew that a Pats win would mean an AFC Championship game at home, and the Pats pulled that one off. So after missing the win over the Chiefs in order to cover a wedding (I’m also bummed that my friends only got face value for my ticket), I’m thrilled beyond words about being in the Dome this weekend to send the Colts off to the SUPER BOWL!

I also popped in on the bridal show at the Ritz Charles to say hi to some fellow vendors. I was impressed with how many repeat vendors were there, the sign of a successful show, so I will certainly consider trying to get a booth there next year. Then I took my boys to stay overnight at the Hyatt downtown ($45 on Priceline!) so Mommy could have a couple of days away from the rascals. We had fun roaming around the hotel, the SkyWalk system, and Circle Center, then swimming and playing video games in the room.

I’ve spent the rest of the past week doing a lot of odds and ends as well as editing Sara & Alex’s wedding from a couple of weekends ago. Although I usually expect an uptick in phone calls from brides in January due to the busy bridal show season, I’ve been more swamped than ever with inquiries these past couple of weeks. It seems that a lot of people out there, clients and vendors alike, have been telling brides about us, so I am especially filled with gratitude and humility for that. Thanks also to Ryan McKeever of Magic Hour Productions for treating me to a wonderful lunch on Wednesday!

I have a couple of video clips and thank you notes to share, but I will hold off on posting anything new until I complete a website update in the next week that will change how our video clips are seen and shared.

Sara & Alex – 1/6/06

The majority of last week was spent getting ready for the two-day Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and the past few days were spent basically recovering from the show. In the middle of all that showmanship, I was also scheduled to videotape a wedding on Saturday evening, which certainly made for one hectic but fun weekend.

Sara & Alex’s wedding and reception took place at the luxurious Conrad Hotel downtown, which was already abuzz from the Colts playoff game that was happening at the same time. (Needless to say, I had to scalp my ticket.) Rebecca Raymond of Event Fantastic, who referred the couple to me (thanks, Rebecca!), was given what every consultant dreams of – the green light to do whatever she wanted. The result was a fantastic winter wonderland theme involving white petals, street lamps, bare trees, and her signature self-serve (white) candy station. Kevin and Alicia Monahan of Kevin Monahan Photography took the couple to the neighboring Artsgarden after the ceremony for some fun shots, one of which I’ll post below, and they were a joy to work beside the entire night. The reception was turned into a nonstop R&B and disco rave-up courtesy of the band Zannadoo, who have quickly become one of my favorite bands. This was actually the first time that I saw Zanna fronting the band, and boy could she belt!

I’ve never been a big fan of doing bridal shows, largely because of the cost and the pain of transporting my plasma screen to and from the shows. But the new two-day format of this particular show was a stroke of genius on the part of the PWG folks, as it allowed us to mingle with almost twice as many brides as usual, and it divided all the moving hassles over two days. (It was nice to just walk leisurely into the Scottish Rite on Sunday morning and have everything already set up from Saturday.) I had a fun time at the show meeting with current clients who came by to say “hi,” answering questions for prospective clients, and networking with my friends in the vendor community, several of whom were displaying our work at their own booths. This was the first time that I was honestly happy with the presentation of my own booth, as I finally updated my flyers to work together visually and found a layout for our materials and equipment that was appealing yet practical. This was also the first time that I played our video clips off of a PC instead of a DVD, which was great because it allowed me to show off some of our high-definition footage, and it allowed me to easily stop the presentation in order to show certain brides clips from specific venues. My only regret was that I didn’t have more down time to walk around and chat with other vendors there, but I guess that’s the sign of a successful bridal show.

New Year’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. It’s a more “quiet” holiday than Christmas with much less hype (at least after midnight), and I’m a sucker for all of the great football games on TV and dorky year-end lists in the entertainment world. Best of all, it represents for me a time to contemplate the excitement and possibilities of the year ahead. There is much that I am becoming excited about in what is shaping up to be another record year for IndyVisual… The introduction of HD wedding videography to the Indy market. Another major upgrade to our website. A destination Caribbean wedding in St. Kitts. And many other beautiful weddings with wonderful clients and vendors in the area’s best venues. If you are a fellow wedding vendor, then I am looking forward to working with you and comparing notes about your goals, hopes and dreams for the new year. And of course, if you are a newlywed-to-be, then few of us are going to have quite as much to look forward to in 2007 as you are, and I look forward to being a part of your big day. As I often tell people, it’s so much fun to be in the “happiness” business, so here’s wishing a Happy New Year to all of you!

Adrianne & Elliott – 12/29/06

After returning from a wonderful week Wisconsin, our kids were bursting at the seams to open the gifts that “Santa” had left under the Christmas tree while we were gone. I could certainly relate, as I was quite anxious to get back to business. Among the many things to do over the next few days are my month-end website update, year-end accounting wrap-up, and preparations for next weekend’s Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

But the first priority upon my return was to get back in a wedding videography state of mind to cover Adrianne & Elliott’s wedding at the Indiana State House. We all squeezed onto a shuttle bus for some pre-ceremony photos on Monument Circle with photographer Erin Hession and her crew. Erin, who referred the couple to me, and whose own wedding we had covered a few years ago, was a total sweetheart to work with throughout the day, and her fun visual style was a joy to watch. The ceremony was most memorable for the couple’s exit through a sword arch provided by Elliott’s military friends, punctuated by “Welcome to the Navy, Mrs. Hultgren” and a friendly sword tap to the bride’s, uh, “stern.” The reception was my first in over ten years at the Garrison in Ft. Benjamin Harrison. (Interesting note: My wife lived at Ft. Ben briefly as a toddler before her family settled down in Wisconsin.) I enjoyed a delightful chat with my assistant and buddy Rich Johnson over dinner and then did my best to keep up with the evening’s lively pace as DJ Kent Clem of WSL Mobile DJs kept the festivities rolling along. It just happened to be my birthday (which Kent couldn’t resist announcing to the crowd), and so it was truly a gift to be able to share a special day in common with and work for such a nice couple and their families.

Update (1/2/07): Here’s a fun image that Erin Hession passed along to me from Adrianne & Elliott’s wedding. Thanks, Erin!

I’ve been in Milwaukee for the holidays, which has made internet access a little trickier than usual. But sometimes that’s a good thing, as we are enjoying plenty of quality time with each other as well as Chris’ family. I’ll be back in Indy later this week just in time to videotape a wedding on the 29th. Until then, I thought I’d sneak in some long overdue updates.

This is the highlight segment from Lynn & Josh’s wedding at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, followed by a reception at the Riverwalk Banquet Center and Lodge:

Lynn & Josh’s Wedding Highlights – 10/21/06

Sandy and John’s huge wedding ceremony at Second Presbyterian Church was followed by a beautiful reception held at the Broadmoor Country Club:

Sandy & John’s Wedding Highlights – 11/4/06

Here’s a nice note I got from Emily McGrew regarding her wedding video from 9/30/06:
“Hi Bob, Just wanted to write and say that John and I LOVE LOVE our video! You do such an amazing job, so thank you so very much! Our video is beautiful! 🙂 Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!


And finally, this wonderful letter came from Maureen DeBone after viewing her wedding video from 10/14/06:

“Bob – I just don’t know where to start. I’m certain that every bride and groom love their wedding video because it brings back so many memories, and captures moments that they couldn’t, because they were the bride and groom, experience first hand. I am no different, but I am being very objective when I say the videos you created for us were better than we could have imagined. Thank you for capturing the ceremony as you did. It was understandably the most special part of our celebration. You edited the footage and captured everything we would have wanted; it was like you knew where our focus was during the entire mass. Your work is truly magical to us, and we are most grateful. Besides your talent behind the camera and editing software I must express how easy and pleasant it was to work with you. As a bride, I had to work with many vendors and many personalities. From start to finish you were responsive and professional; two qualities that make wedding planning bearable! In addition, you seemed kind and gentle our entire wedding day. You were non-intrusive – I think we only spoke once or twice – but I felt confident you had our day in mind and you worked hard the entire time. It showed. God bless you and your family. Have a Merry, Merry Christmas. Thank you again for a DVD that will be watched for many years to come.”

Last-minute bookings are always nice to get, and thanks to Valerie Crider at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, I had the opportunity to cover Cassie & Chris’ wedding and reception there last night. The ceremony was by far the shortest I have ever witnessed, as the couple was already exchanging vows as I was placing my camera on its tripod immediately after the bride’s entrance. After the candle-lighting and presentation of the newlywed couple, it was over in less than five minutes! The setting for both the ceremony and reception was very elegant, as you can feel the sense history and tradition around every corner at the Scottish Rite. After a couple of hours of dancing in the beautiful ballroom, the couple had a relatively early getaway in a horse carriage ride in beautiful fall-like weather.

Catching up for the holidays
Wow, has it really been three weeks since my last post? Once the Thanksgiving holiday passed, I saw an opportunity to finish editing the remainder of this year’s weddings ahead of schedule and got a little carried away. I normally try to finish one wedding per week, which would have had me completing our last wedding during the first week of January. Instead, I will be wrapping up the last of our edits today! I can’t remember the last time I was all done before Christmas, let alone with this much time to spare. It’s always nice to surprise clients on the positive side by getting their videos done weeks earlier than projected, and it’ll be even nicer to enjoy the holidays instead of scrambling to complete projects. I might have to do something crazy like sending out cards and shopping this year!

I haven’t really talked much about it, but after all these years, this is the first year where I feel like I’ve really “figured it out” in terms of managing my time as well as the studio’s workflow. So in spite of a record year, I’ve actually been able to get home by dinner every night and even take Mondays off. Unlike many of my peers who are working literally day and night, as was I only a year ago, I have my work schedule down to a manageable 45 hours a week. What I never expected was that this additional time off has actually made me much more productive and focused during my time “on.” I can’t mention all this without acknowledging assistant editor Cathy Gerlach, who has been such a huge blessing this year. I still painfully remember the days when I might have had to wait for days or even weeks for my editor to show up! (I wasn’t a very assertive boss.) But Cathy preps these weddings for me faster than I can edit them, which is critical. I also have to thank my long-suffering wife Chris for bearing with me all these years and lighting a fire under me earlier this year to prioritize my life and balance my schedule better.

Now, let’s catch up with some highlight segments from the weddings I’ve completed over the past couple of weeks. I’m going to post these as links to the .wmv clips on our server just as I did prior to posting the last few clips as Flash video clips from Google Video. The downside of the Google clips is that they have to be posted as their own blog entries, so I can’t combine them with each other or add them to existing posts yet. It is pretty cool to watch a streaming video clip embedded within the blog though, so I’ll keep working on the ideal formatting and hopefully have it all figured out for 2007.

First up is a wedding that Laurie shot for Angela & Marty at the State House, which included a surprise gospel choir performance of a Beatles song. The reception was held at the Westin, complete with burgers and fries for dinner, followed by cookies and milk for dessert. Nice touch!

Angela & Marty’s Wedding Highlights – 10/14/06

On that same day, I covered Maureen & Don’s wedding at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church and reception at the Ritz Charles. The couple and I ended up staying in neighboring resorts in Kauai two weeks later. I should have shown up at their hotel with my camcorder and said, “You did book our honeymoon coverage, right?”

Maureen & Don’s Wedding Highlights – 10/14/06

The following weekend, Laurie videotaped Jody & Jason’s wedding and reception at the Bridgewater Club. Jason’s reaction to the officiant’s request during the ceremony for a “token” of their marriage was priceless. Laurie was a trouper that weekend, as we generally try to limit her to one wedding per month due to her busy schedule at WISH-TV. Not only did she work two straight weekends for me, but she also coordinated a wedding on 10/7/06!

Jody & Jason’s Wedding Highlights – 10/21/06

I have two additional highlight segments completed, but I’ll give the couples a little more time to enjoy their videos before posting those. In the mean time, I’m preparing to be in the first annual Holiday Bridal Show at Allisonville Nursery right up the street, which will be a good warmup for the Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in January. I generally don’t do bridal shows, but it’s nice for the business once in a while to get out there and be seen by brides and other vendors. I hope to see you all at the Holiday Bridal Show this weekend!