Stephen F. Nathans
if you’re a baseball fan, one of most exciting—and certainly the most is voting for the All-Star team. participatory—part of any seasonYear in and year out, it’s the fans’ one opportunity to select the best of the best, not as the sportswriters see it, or as the league executives see it, but entirely from their perspective as fans. In event videography, we have several ways to recognize superior achievement in the field. We have awards programs like WEVA’s Creative Excellence Awards (CEA) and the 4EVER Group’s Artistic Achievement Awards (AAA), which reward excellent individual work. WEVA also has a star-studded Hall of Fame and its Walter Bennett Service and Bob LeBar Vision Awards, all of which offer “lifetime achievement” recognition to deserving videographers. What the event video industry has been missing to date is a mechanism for recognizing the videographers and studios who are exerting the strongest influence in the field right now, with contributions that encompass more than award-winning videos, and may have nothing to do with those videographers’ lifelong reputations or how influential they may have been in years past. So who are the “hot” videographers working in the field right now? To answer that question, we came up with the EVENTDV 25, a carefully constructed list of the 25 hottest videographers or videography outfits working today. Assembled using a combination of objective and subjective selection criteria, the list was determined by a hybrid selection body, encompassing the input of our entire readership (or at least those who chose to vote for their choices online) and a five-member executive committee comprised of longtime luminaries in the field. Working with hundreds of nominations from EventDV readers and drawing on their own knowledge and impressions of the field, our executive committee deliberated and debated for several weeks. Our executive committee (drumroll please) consisted of these five industry leaders:
I served as a non-voting moderator.
One thing that became immediately clear is that an event videographer’s fame or stature in the field is neither as easily quantified, nor as fleeting, as a baseball player’s. Stats alone don’t begin to tell the story, and by and large, our skills don’t peak when we’re 27 or 28 and decline gradually (or precipitously) until we’re washed up and put out to pasture at 40. By the same token, being a great videographer doesn’t often make you famous. It also doesn’t make you influential or “hot” if other videographers haven’t seen your work and felt enriched or competitively compelled by it.
Awards can do wonders to both measure and enhance a videographer’s stature and influence, but not all are widely screened. In many cases, a videographer’s influence in the industry is bolstered dramatically by speaking engagements at regional or national events or conventions. Videographers who speak at conferences, create speaking opportunities for others, train their colleagues in using postproduction tools, or produce and sell instructional videos on shooting or editing techniques or business strategies can extend their reach mightily.
Similarly, video producers who moderate or participate actively in online forums like Video University or write for magazines like EventDV make essential contributions as well. Videographers who join, lead, and submit video for discussion in local associations can also play important and influential roles within the industry. In the wedding space, videographers who work assiduously to heighten the profession’s profile with brides and other vendors through associations, bridal magazines, and other media outlets like television shows are tremendous assets to the field.
One of the interesting threads in the executive committee discussions concerned “innovators vs. copycats”; that is, differentiating between videographers who have achieved success without contributing much to the field in terms of original style, and those who have approached event video in unseen ways. As one executive committee member said during the deliberation process, “To me, what separates the absolute Top 25 from everyone else is that . . . I can look at someone and know that they purposely choose not to be like everyone else.”
Another topic of debate concerned the influence of individual videographers vs. teams, and instances in which the impact of a given videography outfit can’t be attributed to a specific member of the team, even though that member might be the most visible of the bunch.
Another was the issue of whether organizations were eligible, or whether the list should consist of studios only. EventDV was declared ineligible at the outset, since we could hardly present ourselves with our own award. No one nominated WEVA or the 4EVER Group online, although several readers nominated the 4EVER Group’s Tim Ryan and Steve Wernick individually or as a pair. (No one nominated local or regional associations as entities either, even though several association presidents had strong support.) Apparently, the readers’ notion of “hot” or influential videographers either did not include associations, or they regarded WEVA’s success as the product of too many people’s hard work to boil it down to one or two individuals. That said, WEVA’s imprint is all over the EVENTDV 25, even if the organization itself doesn’t quite fit the definition of “hot/influential videographer.” It’s here in the inclusion of its dedicated committee chairs (Kris Malandruccolo, Kathy Ritondo, and Maureen Bacon) and the many influential videographers whose fame and influence in the field began at WEVA events.
With the individuals/teams/associations issues more or less resolved, one member of the committee came up with a working definition of “hot/influential,” broken down into several categories, and the committee evaluated all potential choices against each of these qualifications. It’s about as close as we came to a working set of criteria for inclusion. Here’s the 11-item EVENTDV 25 Heat Index used in committee deliberations:
Naturally, almost no one met all the criteria. One major factor not included on this list was the success of a particular candidate in the online voting, for which all EventDV readers were eligible.
We informed all the honorees in November 2005, and set about confirming dates and other stats that had elevated them into the EVENTDV 25 ranks. We also sought their opinions on two questions related to the future of the event video industry, the nature of influence in that industry, and ways that videographers can influence and advance the field. The questions were as follows:
The best of their responses are gathered here. Comments from EventDV Executive Committee members are abbreviated “EDV 25 EC.”
Without further ado, I present to you our own 2005 All-Star team (in alphabetical order), complete with trading cards and stats: the inaugural edition of the EVENTDV 25.
Nathans (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor-inchief of EventDV. Comments? Email us at email@example.com, or check the masthead for other ways to contact us.
January 2006 / EventDV
January 2006 / EventDV
January 2006 / EventDV www.eventdv.net