In this episode of the Wedding Insider podcast, I speak with Andrew Sorlie from Honey and Dear an amazing wedding film company. In this interview we talk about wedding videos, how to find amazing wedding videographers, what should you call someone who shoots your wedding (is it videographer, cinematographer or something else), and other wedding video tips.
Andrew Sorlie is the owner (along with his wife Emily) of Honey and Dear. They shoot amazing wedding videos and now have a label where they do commercial called Stature Films.
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Start time: (00:01)
Justin – Hey my name is Justin Jocks and I am here on the wedding insider podcasts and today I’ve got my friend and you Andrew Sorely who is a videographer at “Honey and Dear”. So, hey Andrew what’s up?
Andrew – Hey man, how are you doing?
Justin – Good…So you started your film business back in 2009.
Andrew – Yeah.
Justin – And, what were you doing before that and like how did that come to be? Its sounds like you weren’t actually in film and you were doing this since school and way back in the day.
Andrew – Well I’ve got a funny little journey that got me to where I am now. So, I got marketing background. During high school I took a couple years off and I was playing in a band. I was just kind of being a teenager and I enjoyed being the promoter of the band and organizing things. A couple years after graduating high school I actually went back to college for advertising and marketing and I took a 2 years course during that and loved that and didn’t find a fit in the advertising world but I actually got a job doing marketing for a manufacture and did that for 2 years. I enjoyed that but it wasn’t my cup of tea exactly, day in and day out working for a big huge firm. I kind of wanted to be on my own and so in the mean time I just always kind of had a video camera just walking around. I would just make little videos of friends. I think it was about 2004 or 2005 when I decided to bring the video camera to a friend’s wedding and just literally gorilla style like I guess…just made a funny little video and edited it and gave it to them; and they didn’t have money at the time, they didn’t spend money on their wedding and it was like super church based and that kind of thing. But, they absolutely loved it and they showed it to all their friends and I thought “oh, that’s interesting” but I never really thought anything about it. And then, luckily a year later another friend got married. Same thing happened; I just made a fun little video because I was going to the wedding anyways as a friend. And, they loved it too and again it was just playing in the back of my head. In 2007, Emily and I got married and we hired a photographer but we had no idea about cinematography and we had no idea about videography. It just didn’t seem to be something obvious or amazing. And, we don’t have a record of our wedding basically. So that was 2007, October 2007 was when I got married and that was right about the time that I started to think that “okay- its time to get out of marketing and do something of my own. We had gotten asked to do some more videos and projects. Again, these were just for friends and then I started think that you know what …there might be a chance that something could work out here. So, we got in touch with our wedding photographer and said “hey, what do you think” and they encouraged us to give it a shot…and that’s kind of how it happened. So, mid-2008 we started to just mess around and try new things and in spring time of 2009 we did our first paid wedding. It was for $150 and we weren’t expecting to be paid we were expecting to do it as a gift and then the brides mom, I think like a month after sent us a card with a little cheque in it… because we are not professionals.
Justin – Yeah, actually a pretty similar story ; I did a friend’s for basically they rented the equipment for me. And, I think my first paid gig was $350 which is nowhere near what my rate is now.
Andrew – isn’t that funny to look back at that stuff now?
Justin – yeah, but I mean somebody with a good deal because I feel like, because I mean obviously the service was not as good but I cared as much as I do know so
Andrew – and the same for us. Like, we cared a lot and we have obviously learned ridiculously a lot of things since then. But, you know what I’m saying when I say that the care level is the same.
Justine – yes definitely, I mean that is as huge part of being a good wedding vendor. I think whether or not you care about your clients. So how many weddings have you guys don’t? Do you know?
Andrew – you know what, the numbers are well over 200.
Justin – wow! Nice
Andrew – we haven’t actually called to in a while and in fact this is pretty funny, we do our own website designs and updates and every once in a while someone will call to attention a page that like I haven’t updated in a while. I think our “about us” page said in 2011 we are still looking. It said we had done over 100 weddings and I was like wow… We better update that. We have averaged between 25 and 30 weddings per year and it just seems like we have eclipsed. We have done over 200 and we have had a great time. We have had some pretty awesome opportunities given to us and we’ve been flown to Australia and Singapore and Dominican Republic and Bahamas and even in Canada. We have gone over the Colonna which is absolutely beautiful. Majority of our work is in Ontario obviously in the ( ) market and also up north and kind of ( ). That is kind of what we’re up to
Justin – okay cool! With that said, do you have like a strategy for how couples can find a good videographer if you guys are already booked I guess.
Andrew – yeah I guess, we’re just honored in the first place when someone calls us or emails us because I think that’s like the highest compliment right? If someone has poked around on your website and liked it enough to give you a call we think that’s the nicest thing. So, if we are booked, we always try our absolute best to connect the couple with friends of ours who also in this business would do a great job and who we know would treat them the way that they should be treated. Justin- yeah, yeah, I will do the same thing
Andrew – so we actually have a small network, specifically in Toronto. I have about eight or so other film makers and that I’ll say are similar in their approach to what we are doing. It is a nice little group of friends that we can bounce things off of but we also share his back and forth in the attempt off not only sharing business with our friends but also taking care of the couples when they take the time to write in. It can be daunting…
Justin – for sure- yeah. I get a lot of people that just seem very frazzled on their first call or their first email.
Andrew – and the thing that we forget like you’d probably agree with me like because we are mercenaries and we had been in this for so many years, we just think ” Ahh… another wedding, no big deal”. We don’t actually think that the way. What we have to remind ourselves is that the, the couples are planning one wedding. It is the first time that ever done it unless they are like a professional wedding planner. And, the Internet is a huge place right?
Justin – for sure…
Andrew – it can be pretty easy to actually find the wrong fit and even as much homework that you can possibly do… Reading on blogs, websites and stuff… You have to get out and meet the person that you are going to work with; this is really important for us.
Justin – okay cool… So you suggested basically that they try and find someone online first and then that’s kind of would be outside off obviously Toronto. If they are in Toronto it’s a email Andrew.
Andrew – there you go. We do travel for weddings but online they are just…
Justin – maybe if they are in the middle of Australia or well I guess you’ve traveled there. (laughter)
Andrew – online is definitely the way that most people find us initially and I would probably say a half of the people who find us is either through Google search or style me pretty ( the website that we partner with). But quite frankly we have built our business up through referrals. We have a few different brides who connected us with about 6 or 7 other couples and we just absolutely love that. It’s kind of like when someone hires you to do a job with like that kind of feels good but when someone refers you that is like the greatest thing. You have earned trust right? And for us we just love that …it just feels great.
Justin – okay so, you are kind of like alluded to couples that make the wrong decision and end up hiring someone that you don’t work with. Like how… What mistakes would that person have made usually to in the process of hiring someone do you think?
Andrew – I think it is important for couples to have really clear expectations and really clear understanding of what they want at the end of the day. It’s the super easy to just look at the price tag of something and think “oh my goodness I would never be able to afford that”. So that is a no. A lot of people do that it- it’s human nature. But, the wedding is such an interesting thing because it is an amazing part of you but it is also a once-in-a-lifetime thing for most people. And, you can do it over and so there are some people in every industry…not just the wedding industry who act with less integrity design others and that happens everywhere. That is not just in the wedding industry. And, there are people who perhaps don’t put the time and the effort and the care into taking care of the couple as others companies would. Right?
Justin – yep!
Andrew – and, you know this concept of like the fact that it could be like a me factor you’re just like “oh.. Get as many couples in as you can… chew them up and spit them out and take their money and run right? That is not the approach that either you and I have and you just have to be careful because at the end of the day you don’t want to be upset.
Justin – yeah, and I think the one issue too is that it doesn’t even necessarily, it is not even just price .The price sometimes does determines it. Generally the lower prices vendors are more of that meat factor thing. But you can also, I have seen other vendors that are more expensive too and it’s the similar process.
Andrew – I mean the dollar amount is not going to, the dollar amount is not going to be the only factor. But, what you can kind of feel on is… If there is a company that will say has the confidence to charge a higher price, you can at least go in with anticipation that there is going to be some quality there. It doesn’t always mean that one leads to the other but you have a little bit better of a chance because if someone believes in themselves and they believe in the quality that t they are offering, they are going to charge for it. Justin- yeah, I definitely agree that’s generally more priced things there is a good (laughter). We also just said that you know, we started out as (laughter)
Andrew – That’s right, everybody has got to start somewhere and that’s something that is a repeating trend. There is always going to be people charging less and they’re always going to be people charging more and that is something that I have learned. In our six years of business, no matter where you are there is always going to be someone that is more expensive and someone it is less expensive. So, the dollar amount is completely relative to your budget.
Justin – yeah, for sure. So, I mean you kind a talk about your own story about how your waiting video and how you don’t have that to remember your wedding by. If there is somebody that is out there that is thinking that…I ‘m not really sure, I kind of want one, I don’t want that cheesy wedding video that I know I personally see a lot of the time. I think, I would want those memories. What’s the difference between what you offer and what’s just like that archived files and not very interesting wedding video and not very well shot weddings video versus what you guys have to offer. What is that and why is that important?
Andrew – sure, I don’t want to suggest what other companies do, I would talk about what we do. Just for the simple reason that everyone has their own way of doing things and we hope that people like the way that we do things but we’re not for everyone as well. We, there are a few key things that I think that we do a little bit different than the other companies. Number one thing is we do not have a team of junior people. We have just one team which is enmity and myself and our tutor which his name is Reese. So, we do not take on multiple weddings per week and other companies do and they do a great job at. That business model is perfectly awesome for lots of people. But, we just always felt that in keeping a small team works for us. And, we do our best to get to know our couple before the wedding. We try and connect with them at least for coffees if not for some sort of dinner to create that bond and create that relationship so that on the wedding day we are not just some vendors that’s showing up about we are and Andrew and Emily and we are friends. That is our goal. So, a part of that has to do with the couples that we ultimately end up choosing to film their weddings because we are in a position now where a lot of people enquire and we get to be a little bit more selective with whom we decide to team up with and it is a partnership because our film are dependent on the personalities of the couples who we work with. So, that is kind of part of our process in finding out okay … If you work with us and if we work with you, are you going to be comfortable just being yourself. I think one of the compliments that we get a lot is a lot of people say “we didn’t even notice that they were there”. And, the second thing that we hear is like Andrew it is just one of the guys or Emily is just one of the girls, they just fits right in. This is nothing annoying thing… It’s not like” I have got to put a fake smile on because my videographer is here” it is nothing like that.
Justin – I think that is a really a key thing for people to look for when they are looking for any… Especially for videographer or photographer and even,. I know a lot of people wouldn’t care so much but this is important to you and that this kind of the way I feel to as a…
Andrew – yeah, because we have seen you play and you have like an amazing interaction with the crowd and you know it’s not like some anonymous club that you don’t even know who is performing with you. And, we see your dialogue with the crowd and it is part of your skill right?
Justin – yeah…totally!
Andrew – I think you have a hard time if you didn’t have that amazing interaction with the guests that and with your couple right? Like you get to know them and it’s the same thing with us.
Justin – I think if you want to have a really fun wedding and you really want to enjoy your day, I think it is really important that you have that relationship with some of your key vendors.
Andrew – so, that is something that we take as a priority and the other thing that we really do is that we invest in our education. We are always… Always! Trying to push ourselves forward. Some of my mentors in the this business has said once you think you have got to the level where you are quote and quote” good enough”, then that is where you are flat lining and that is when you haven’t given up. You are always going to strive to be better and improve yourself. So, one of the things that Emily and I is at least once a year or if not twice a year, we go to a major conference or an major educational event. We will fly to it or we will drive to it. Usually in the states and we are always looking for even just like a small thing that we can do better the next time. So, that is a couple of things that I think set us apart, I mean… There are logistical things, there is… If someone came to me and said “hey, how do you compare this company to your company” I would take a little more time to think about it but I just know that they are things that we do really well.
Justin – well one thing that I noticed about what you do.. And a lot of the wedding videos that I like that I have seen outside from you guys is that you guys really try to tell a story for the day versus just like… It’s not just like a recording. I think you offer to give that… Am I right? As kind of like background you get all the videos that we have you try to put together a story for what today is like. Is that true?
Andrew – yeah, yeah.. I think that part of what we do is what we would say kind of come with the package. We don’t just to be honest- we don’t sit and write a script or anything like that, it’s nothing like that. But, what we are doing is; we’re learning early on in the early stages before the wedding, kind of what makes each couple tick and how they fell in love up with each other and how they had gotten to where they are now which is their wedding day. And, when they show up for the wedding we are prepared because we already know a bit about their personalities and then we give people the comfortable to be themselves. If people are goofy in the morning, if they are all laughs and no stress and just having a good time… Then that is a story that we tell. If someone is like secret butterflies like nervous and can’t wait to see their bride or groom, then we are turning it into a story. Then it becomes more of an anticipation it is more of like “I can’t wait” …. Excitement you know. And, quite frankly some people are stressed and worried and anxious and then we just use music and don’t use their feelings. (laughter)But.. No, I mean storytelling is on overused word, cinematography is an overused word. It is all starting to become “bland” said terminology but what we are doing is we are making a film about your wedding day and it can take different shapes it can take different… We can take very different approaches but that the end of the day, that’s kind of how we do what we do.
Justin -cool! So it sounds like a couple of things that I was thinking about asking earlier where just about – like how a couple could locate or make sure that they get the best videos from their videographer’s
Justin – is videographer the term I should be using?
Andrew – well, so videographer is a funny old term and I won’t bore you with that history lessons but, typically speaking in videographer is a news cameraman and we typically don’t like that term in our industry or at least in our small.
Justin – yeah yeah – so what should I be using?
Andrew – I’m getting to that. So we sort of adapt to the… There is a comedy called “stone motion” and you might have heard of that, they were kind of the first to start using this term like cinematographer. And, the idea behind cinematographer was… You’re not just holding a camera, you are looking at the light, you are looking at movement, you are looking at everything that goes together to form the picture. And, on a film set- on a Hollywood film set, cinematographer doesn’t even really touch a camera which is really kind of funny. They’re generally speaking and they are setting up lighting and they are gluing everything together. But, It is more than just pointing a camera at something… It is the thoughts and the process. The other problem with their though is that cinematographer became a buzzword so quickly and the kind of entry-level videographers were seeing that term and “oh! That looks cool” and they were using the term but were not doing what modern film makers were doing. And so, it started to become an oxymoron to use that term anyways. So, we kind of just quickly— as they started using the term cinematographer, we actually kind of stopped using it and decided to call ourselves wedding filmmakers for for a little while. But, even more recently we have just said “if you like the views that we make, just call us Andrew and Emily”. (laughter) That’s where we are going with this right now.
Justin – so yeah, they have hired a film maker for their wedding. It sounds like the best way for them to kind of get the best videos that they can is to try and make sure that they’re filmmaker gets to know them a little bit.
Andrew – Yeah! so that personal relationship both with photography and video that’s huge, the capturing of the person on their wedding day. If you are looking for quality work the people whom you choose to hire, they will know the things that are called bare bones in term of making you look your best, there is a few things and lighting is one of them, right now as an example above my head is an indoor incandeskcate light, like ten feet to my left is window light, in our world we call that mix and that’s actually not very flattering, I have the lights on because the sun is about to go down and didn’t want to have you in the dark but from a film maker or videographer point of view you want to avoid mix lighting especially if I can just be specific on females a yellow light mix with window light can cause skin to turn a bit green, and she’ll look a little bit sea sick.
Justin – That’s not good
Andrew – Yes but there are things some little tricks that a professional would just know in the back of their head to get certain angles often time in the morning we’ll come into a hotel room the groom , with bride and brides maids and we would shut off the lights, people look around, what are you doing? But there’s a window and the window is adding enough light, sun light, that get us enough for the image we need for a couple of minutes, it makes people skin looks beautiful, and that’s one example of what you can do to look your best.
Justin – Ok cool,
Andrew – I can go way more depth into that.
Justin – I think that a good starting point, I don’t this interview to go what three hours.
Andrew – Sure
Justin – Three hour tutorial on lighting
Andrew – Sure
Justin – Body positioning
Andrew – Well the big thing is especially for brides, if they going to get their makeup done in the morning in their hotel room just set yourself up beside the window , don’t set yourself up in the bathroom where there’s hash yellow light, go right to the sunshine light, cause that’s where the beautiful light there is.
Justin – Right, that’s great. We are both from Toronto, just to mention you have now moved into Toronto, you want to show everyone your new office, its sound like its being built in the background
Andrew – Sure, it’s a bit noisy but here I’ll give you a little spin around here mw have just move into a new office in Liberty Village which is pretty exciting for us. We started the business which ran remotely in Berry which is an hour and a bit North on the 400, we did that for about 6 years and so this a new move for us we have been here about 3 weeks now things are still in boxes but we are getting ready to officially open.
Justin – It’s amazing
Andrew – Yeah, we have got some paint on the wall and we are waiting for some furniture to arrive, we are really excited about this move, Liberty Village is a pretty awesome area right now
Justin – Yeah
Andrew – And there’s all sorts of really great businesses in this area and there also young people our age around which we love , it’s a really great neighborhood.
Justin – Yeah! With that in intrano, what are the rest of your favourite venues , give me like one or two or three just from the perspective of like shooting video or just because you like them I guess.
Andrew – Well one of our favourites is *(steam whistle) 29:09, which is right down town in the round hills there, if you have been to *(steam whistle)29: 15, you’ve got to check it out it a very cool building the staff are incredible to work with very accommodating and it beautiful because it a blank canvas, they already have lighting installed, they do have an in house AV system that you have to use and you bring in your own catering but we have always find that the environment at sea muscle to be really great and you can do an outdoor ceremony on the property and have to skyline in the back ground or you can have it in doors and you can decorate it any way you want we have seen all kinds of different styles and it always looks great and the cool thing is your wedding guest gets to have free tours of the brewery while you are doing your photos so that’s pretty cool.
Justin – I think we actually work there once, that one of the places we have worked together
Andrew: there are hundreds of places in Toronto, a lot of them are great you want to be looking for things, this is what I tell our couples all the time like it one thing to kinds of pick your venues because of how it looks on a blog photo that one thing but you have to think of some things that might not think about, thing like bathrooms, things like how much space there is for your caterer if someone has caterer, parking and just asking what’s included in the base rate and how many extra are there. There is some venue out there that has a low price, like oh great but if you want to have toilet paper in the bathrooms it’s an extra charge, if you want to have the lights turn on, that’s an extra charge. Like for us if you want to see film we edit and want to turn on the projector screen it’s $1000.00 little things like that do add up, so make sure you are asking those type of questions
Justin – From my perspective to you, the one thing I don’t like about 31:18 at the bar its 31:20 on the side of the main room so when our party it’s the one thing that somebody don’t think about is that the bar is a magnet for their guest , if you don’t really care and you want your guest to have fun that’s fine, but if you want a crazy dance party then it’s important for the bar to be in the same area.
Andrew – It’s set up different each time, we have worked multiple times there and the bar is set up in the main room, I think it depends on your guest list if you have like over a certain number and the tables are just filling up poorly then they pull the bar back but we have definitely seen the bar in the main room. It might have been you time there that you saw it that way
Justin – yeah maybe I am even forgot that , I may have seen it maybe once or twice I been there a bunch of times and I keep forgetting to mention it to you, I am trying to always suggest that one point, also important but that’s one additional cost some venues are really good about it and some are like, and some just charge you for everything, it’s frustrating when you hear that story from .
Andrew – Everyone has to make their money, their livelihood and they got to pay their rent so, I am not about to say that one particular venue is waved things go wrong , do I like it maybe not, that jut my opinion.
Justin – I think I’s something that a bride and groom to be aware of like if you know that it going to happen and you still want the venue , not a problem at all , at least you are aware of that it’s possible , then it not a problem.
Andrew – Three are loads of great venue, if you want to have big party,33:06 on highway 407 and 400 I think it might be Jane 33:39
Justin – I know where you are talking about but I have never been there
Andrew – It’s a pretty cool building again it’s like a big shell you can do whatever you want to it, we did a wedding there its over 600 guest it was a big party we had a great time there again the staff at hazel was really great to work with, there’s loads of venues, there venues that we don’t really love, we won’t say them now, but a couple ask us about them we’ll give our opinion about it
Justin – Lastly do you have any specific vendors that you think might want to talk to me, that you would first recommend and name and talk about wedding stuff for an hour.
Andrew – Yes, there an army of talented people in Toronto
Justin – My problem is that I am hoping that you can help me, I have a whole bunch of friend , I don’t know that many people who do video and why I was able to get you , I didn’t feel bad saying I know 34:32 Andrew and I am going to do an awesome job, great spot to start , however, if you could give me a few and I will contact them, that would be great
Andrew – are we still on video?
Justin – We can chat about it after that’s fine.
Andrew – We have a list of people on our website and we have to update hat and it , not an insult I promise, we suck at updating our website. There are a lot of talented people in Toronto, lot of them are passionate about their craft whether it’s in cake design or whether it in MC, DJ, certainly we absolutely love working with you Justin, when Justin plays he has an approach that very few DJ’s have we really think he takes time to learn about what you like as a couple, and it kind of funny cause we don’t always see who the DJ is until like the night of and we walk into a room and we go, Oh hi Justin!!..And you know it’s going to be a good night.
Justin – Thanks man, we forgot you have that page so that’s a good starting point for persons who want suggestion
Andrew – Its incomplete, so we are always adding to it so we’ll keep on growing it .
Justin – Speaking of that… when can people find you and or just to say thank you or if they are interested in hiring you for their wedding. I hear you are also doing commercial work as well
Andrew – yeah so Honey and dear.com, so recently we have been getting a lot of request from people whose wedding we have filmed , hey you guys do anything else like 36:42 wedding for a long time we did things that are called Honey and Dear, we have decided to start a new brand website that is called stature films the fun things about wedding we get to go ,go, go on the wedding day the adrenaline we don’t sit down, we don’t take breaks its hardcore and it’s exhilarating and then we take some days off obviously . but with commercial work which is kind of fun is that these things are done usually like a week day so it’s fun to be able to do the odd project in a week and take that same approach finding out about the business and featuring what their needs are learning the story about the business and something we have had a lot of fun with lately we are really excited about doing it some more. Staturefilm.com
Justin – Cool, let’s wrap up and I am going make some notes about today’s interview and post it on my website. Intheweddingdj.com/honey, so check out the notes there and thank you so much Andrew we really appreciate the time and hopefully everyone got some of value from you.
Andrew – Thank you for initiating this and I love working with you and had a great time today thanks
Justin – Thanks man
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