Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Requiem for a Videography Business

by Miriam B. Medina

Bob, the Best Man at the wedding I covered last weekend, looked into my camera and said, with tears in his eyes, “This is the most beautiful wedding I’ve ever seen. Such a sweet, sweet couple. I wish them the best and hope they stay together forever.” I would have believed him too, if he wasn’t wearing a cockeyed jock strap on his head. Or if he hadn’t taken a swing at the groom earlier in the reception, right after downing a half a fifth of Wild Turkey in one long gulp and then professing his eternal lust for his best friend’s new bride.

What a wedding. After 20 plus years of covering weddings, Bah Mitzvahs , and other such time slaughtering celebrations for my small video business, I must say, this wedding, what I now call the Smith-Davis fiasco of 2013, was the most interesting catastrophe I ever covered. I’ve seen people die during receptions, usually due to heart attacks, but I choose to believe from boredom. I’ve seen wives run away at the altar, bridegrooms run away at the altar, even, once, a Pastor run away at the altar (apparently a mob affiliated parishioner had showed up to collect some overdue gambling debts, knowing where and when he could find the good Father), but this wedding reception took the cake. And threw it across the room during a food fight that would have made Jerry Springer blush. To say that these people had no class would infer that no class was as low as you could go. After last weekend, I am here to tell you, there is a lower classification. The clans of Mr. Smith and nee Ms. Davis belong to a status I now refer to as the ‘Holy Crap, who rented those people formal wear’ class.

Reviewing the video, there’s no way I can make this look good. I think I might edit it in spoof fashion or in a style reminiscent of a bad horror film, as if Hitchcock filmed Attack of the Killer Tomatoes or Plan 9 From Outer Space instead of Psycho, perhaps. There’s just not much you can do with this footage.

How can you make a 90 year old grandmother smoking a cigarette with a hole in her neck, who says “My granddaughter looks fat in that dress, he must have already knocked her up…” through a talking box look romantic?

I personally like the footage of the little Smith kid, all of 6 years old maybe, dropping his cup of punch (spiked probably) on the floor over and over again so he could look up the dresses of every woman in the hall. Nothin’ spells luvin’ like a youthful peeping tom, trying to get a glimpse of his kin’s underwear. That kid has IRS agent as a profession written all over his future.

Here are a few gems from the edited footage I have assembled so far, and these are the high points:


The maids of (dis)honor sitting at their table, eating the catered food as though this was their first meal after being locked away in a year long Weight Watcher’s diet concentration camp. They would look pretty, too, in their beautiful matching calico (and neon) wedding attire, were it not for fleshy pieces of salmon and Jack Daniels spittle leaking from their jowls:

“This is some high class weddin’,” said Maid Number 1, ‘they even have cloth napkins on the table folded into cute little hats.”

“Hrmmphhglarg…” said Maid Number 2, as she gnawed, caveman style, on a whole rack of lamb.

“What is this orange stuff?” Maid Number 3 asked as she shoved a forkful of it into her mouth. “It tastes kind of funny.”

“They called it salmon.” Maid Number 1 replied, taking another long pull of her Jack and Coke.

“Whazzat?” Maid Number 3 asked again.

“Hrmmphhglarg… it’s fish, dumb ass.” Maid Number 2 managed between ravenous bites of meat.

Maid Number 3 then deposited all of the salmon, and everything else in her stomach, all over the table. “Ewwwwww….” she added, straightening her hair and wiping traces of her insides from her mouth, “I hate fish, no wonder it tastes funny.”


The Bride’s family, sitting quietly at their table:

Me: “Well, sir, what do you think of your daughter’s magical day so far?”

Father: “It’s frigging expensive, and getting more expensive by the bottle.”

The Bride’s father takes a puff of his cigarette and a long drink from his 32 OZ Budweiser tall boy. The Bride’s Mother hides her eyes in her hands and stares down at the table, moaning. The Bride’s teenaged Sister, clearly aggravated, punches her Father in the arm.

Sister: “Dad, hush now.”

Father: “Shut up girl, you won’t never fetch no man with them kind of manners. You ain’t pretty or easy like your sister there.”

Sister: “I swear, I HATE YOU.”

Father: “Be quiet and eat that expensive scrapple on your plate. I’m paying for it whether you eat it or not, might as well not waste it.”
Sister: “Oh gawdddd, it’s pate you drunk old hick.”


The Bride and Groom are taking their first dance as a newlywed couple to the loving sounds of “Your Mama Don’t Dance And Your Daddy Don’t Rock And Roll” By Loggins and Messina. The Best Man staggers up and takes a swing at the groom, knocking him down.

Best Man: “I love her more-n’ you ever will.”

The Bride hikes up her dress and kicks the Best Man squarely in the groin. The Best man folds up like a tri-fold menu from a cheap Chinese take-out restaurant and crumples to the floor. A 20 minute food fight ensues.


After the food fight, all is forgiven and the reception resumes. The camera CLOSES IN on the repaired cake. A sad, now lopsided three tiered marble affair with splotches of white icing with floor debris stuck to it. The cake is so tilted now, it could take posture advice from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The little Bridegroom and Bride figurines have been destroyed in the melee, but luckily, someone had some Star Wars toys in their car, so the figurines have been replaced by a little Darth Vader and a Princess Leia missing an arm. The new Husband cuts the cake with his hunting knife. The new Bride punches him in the arm because he has cut the cake without her, and then she shoves his face in the remains of the cake. Another lengthy food fight ensues.


Alas, I still have about another hour of footage to comb through, but I think I’m going to skip it. Aside from the fact that it will make me nauseous and that it will make me worry about the health of the human gene pool going forward, I don’t think I can use any of it. The lens was covered in cake and salmon mousse by then. I think my camera might be ruined. I think, going forward, I might have to do background checks before I take anymore video gigs.

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