Welcome to Bella Films' Blog
As the owner and lead event filmmaker at Bella Films, I'm honored to have been involved in the event and wedding industry for 18 years now. Whew, I can hardly believe it and never a dull moment either! I enjoy experiencing the emotional connection that each unique event provides while surrounded by loving families, laughter, and tears of joy. We are a lucky crew of talented and seasoned event filmmakers that get to be with people on the best day of their lives. Our approach has always been a blend of organic and classy which quite simply, sums up to beautiful... bella! It's the natural moments that we find most important to help tell your story as a beautiful one.
Please feel free to stop by often and enjoy the newest films we produce and other muses. Want to get to know us more? Follow us on Twitter and be sure to add yourself to our facebook fan page.
WIPA is a non-profit organization for wedding professionals (WIPA= wedding industry professionals association) that aims to advance the wedding profession, enhance the professional growth of its members, uphold high ethics and provide education in both Southern and Northern California, Atlanta, GA and Phoenix, AZ.
I was asked to film WIPA’s latest meeting hosted by The Intercontinental Hotel in Century City held in March. Peter Shallard, known as “The Shrink for Entrepreneurs” was the guest speaker. Both my love for meetings and for filming combined, made this a great day for me personally! Not only did I get to network with familiar faces, I loved meeting new people within the wedding industry, I also learned some interesting tips from Peter Shallard!
I’ve been a member of other wedding industry associations in the past but I’m especially excited about being a new member of WIPA here in Southern California because it’s non-profit and always very well organized by my peers.
If you would like to see the full presentation of Peter Shallard and past meetings with other special speakers, it’s all accessible to new members and current members alike. Please visit: www.wipausa.org for more information.
This was a special project that pulled on my heartstrings and will pull on yours too.
Bella Films was asked to create a short music film that would soon memorialize Boris’ life. He was a loving, gentle, happy, well-behaved Bernese Mountain dog that lived the purrrfect life on the beach of Malibu with his human companion Seth.
It’s difficult to say much else. When I watch this film, it makes me both sad and happy. I’m a huge animal lover and it’s hard not to fall in love with Boris the minute you meet him. While we were editing this, I knew the impending news would come soon. Boris passed away about a month after this was filmed during the editing process.
It’s a humbling reminder that documenting anyone’s life, creating cherished visual memories of our beloved humans and pets, is truly a blend of both honor and tender responsibility.
I’m so grateful to do what I do for a living.
This summer included an especially fun and inspiring project when my friend/associate, Austin Stinson of Blueberry Fusion, Wilmington, NC contacted me to collaborate on their “Blueberry Fusion Inspiration Tour 2012″ to Los Angeles. I was tickled several shades of blue, I mean pink, I mean…!
Both Austin and Adam Gilbert own a unique studio where they offer both photography and videography to their clients – often FUSED together as one service! And this was exactly what they wanted to do on the Inspiration Tour 2012. Their goal is to tour around North America featuring different cities that included the best of the best: bridal shops, florists, make-up artists, models, hair designers and other wedding industry peeps -while also showcasing their crazy own talents!
Los Angeles is my stomping grounds and with #1) my years of organizational skills #2) my connections to so many amazing professionals in LA, I knew that even with only a few weeks to plan it all, it would be fairly easy to do… I happily went to work and contacted successful and artistic wedding industry companies I know. Several times, I scouted out some very unique and secretive Hollywood and Beverly Hills locations. From the locations to the dress to the florals, I made sure the Old Hollywood Vintage-look would be the pervading theme we all envisioned.
Merrill Melideo, shop manager at Lovely Bride was so accommodating. Located in West Hollywood, this new cozy bridal shop offers unique vintage and romantic gowns. We started at the shop in the morning with hair and make-up by the sweet and talented Mariah Nicole. Our model bride, Whitney Hoy was an eye-dropping classic timeless beauty! She knew how to play to the camera and the boys and I were drinking every shot in. My assistant Andy Ryan brought on his own talents and gear and provided some Behind the Scenes footage with me. My dear associate, Debbie Fields of Floral Fields created not one but two beautiful bouquets to use for the day. I picked up the bouquets personally and saw her charming new shop in Burbank!
Working with Austin and Adam’s vision from the East Coast brings a refreshing perspective. Their young approach includes jumping around into strange/risky places to get the shot (including a cliff in the hills near the Hollywood sign) and they’ll lay on the floor often to get the shots. They appreciate our Hollywood!! They embrace our weather with enthusiasm, and they truly dig our vibe… and, I’m a good tour guide so I was happy to host them!
Here is their blog that includes stunning photographs of our beautiful model in our City of Angels: Blueberry Fusion Inspiration Tour 2012 Los Angeles blogroll
To continue following the other cities they include, follow them on twitter at: #inspirationtour2012
I am pleased to showcase our first “Coming Soon” wedding trailer!
Dani and Nick experienced an amazing wedding day that combined both Greek and Jewish traditions. Wait until you see all of the dancing at their reception! Their love and devotion to each other was so easily evident throughout the entire day. Nick was so fun and especially attentive to Dani’s every need, he was such a gentleman. And Dani was so playful and funny all day long, I knew she was ultra-cool when I saw her giving her bridesmaids high fives and slapping their behinds. I just loved their energy and fun-spirits!
Can’t wait to showcase their Wedding Film… stay tuned!
Photographers: Miki & Sonja
Coordinators: Details Details
Venue: Four Seasons Westlake Village, CA
Anyone that has ever given a wedding toast knows how nerve-wracking it can be even for many months leading up to the big rhetorical day! Here is a new youtube channel show called PODIUM -The Wedding Toast episode has just gone live and we had the honor of providing the funny footage of the FOB (Father of Bride) letting down the scroll of paper at :10 seconds in. Of course, it’s played out like a joke, yet oftentimes, a toast does feel like it’s exactly that long! That’s why it’s so important to prepare your toast ahead of time while trying to keep it short yet compelling enough to bring everyone in the room together.
After seeing upward of about 6000 toasts in my shooting career, I think I’ve seen them all. Ranging from long boring toasts, hysterical toasts, entertaining-rapping toasts, tear-jerking toasts and downright embarrassing toasts. It’s never a dull moment… or wait, yes, sometimes it can be – big time! Eeek.
PODIUM did a very good job giving sound advise on the art of a wedding toast so I’ll leave it to you to watch it. However, here are four important pieces of advise that I can provide too:
1) Before you go up there, make sure you bring your glass full of something! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the toaster realize they didn’t have a glass to toast with at the end and hold up a microphone in gesture. Doesn’t make such a great image for a wedding video or photos.
2) If you don’t think you can memorize a toast, write your thoughts on index cards. The reason for this is because if you’re nervous and bring up a piece of paper, people will see the paper shaking!
3) Try to tell a little story and end on a positive note. Pass along personal advice, cite a famous quote or poem, and don’t forget to wish the bride and groom well while raising the glass you remembered to bring up!
4) Lastly, don’t forget to walk over to the bride and groom for hugs!! It’s a special moment after your toast and makes great wedding video and photo moments!
Beth and Sandy
Today marks exactly 18 years since I started my first event shoot in June of 1994! So I find it serendipitous that Sandy was also in town and we had lunch today! We sat at a local Starbucks for over three hours reminiscing and laughing and in the end, she told me to look at the huge box of photos she had taken throughout the years and to take what I want. She had already scanned them all and so here’s one of the photos I collected:
Funny enough, I recently got a new style/haircut to include (unruly) bangs which I haven’t had since then!
My career started at Brooke Video Productions with SVHS Panasonic cameras. Sandy Brooke was the owner and the studio was located at her lovely townhouse in Van Nuys, CA with a satellite studio in Beverly Hills. Sandy pioneered the special event video industry in the 80′s and was the nation’s only all-female company of wedding videographers! It was there that I learned the foundations of shooting and (linear) editing and learned to stand a little taller and prouder to be a working woman in an industry predominately run by men.
Sandy moved to Northern California to open a Bed and Breakfast several years ago but still comes down to visit Los Angeles once in a while and it’s always a pleasure to see her.
Earlier this week, a party was held in her honor and it was a reunion of sorts for most of us, the majority of people who have been in the event business for 20+ years!
Bella Films recently had the honor of producing a promo reel for one of my favorite photographers in all of Santa Clarita – William Innes of William Innes Photography. William was so easy to work with. He has a cool and collected personality and truly loves his work. I think we captured his essence very well here. It was a fun two days following William and his clients around in Fillmore, CA and also hanging out in his gorgeous new studio. Couples from all over Southern California seek William out to be their wedding photographer and you’ll see why.
If you’re looking for a photographer that knows his craft and will make you smile and feel comfortable in front of the camera all day, contact William! When we both work at the same wedding, we always function as a fun team! He’s so easy to get along with… and so talented and I just always enjoy his company!
This is our first promo production for a photographer (using two dslr cameras) and we’re delighted how it turned out!
So, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been home from INFOCUS 2012 in Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been busy at work trying to apply all that I learned and implement some changes! Not only am I refreshed, but also somewhat overwhelmed with new ideas (that’s a good thing). I’ve got some wise and exciting decisions to make for Bella Films in 2012… oh what to do first?? Okay, time to blog – yes!
It was my second year in a row of attending this amazing conference (first one held in New Orleans) and as usual, I returned home with tons of inspiration and education. But more importantly, I reconnected with my peers and friends and made many new friends as well, most of whom I will be in touch with and collaborate with one way or another throughout this year.
Last year, many of us arrived the night before Workshop Day and were scattered for dinner. This year, I noticed that many were arriving early again on Sunday, January 15th and that there was no official plan to gather all together. Sooooo, the meeting planner in me (my other career) kicked in full gear and I decided to organize a dinner gathering for us all at a local restaurant walking distance to our hotel The Francis Marion Hotel at Coast Bar & Grill. There were over 50 of us (about 1/4 of the entire conference attendees) who got to reconnect earlier than scheduled (every hour counts!). The excitement was intense as most of us exchanged hugs, (many of us who only knew each other from facebook) and shared stories of our road and plane trips to finally have arrived together! I personally had flown in with four fellow filmmakers from LAX and the time went by very quickly in flight.
The next day, there were optional workshops and I was signed up for Coach Matt Davis’ two-on-one coaching session with the beautiful Stepheny Keith of black sheep filmworks located in AZ. Stepheny and I are both sole (female) owners of our studio and have been in business about the same amount of time (18 years) so we had similar questions for Matt. Coach Matt has amazing organizational skills and marketing knowledge and we gleaned both practical advise and secret tips from him during our session.
The next day, the conference officially started and was awesome! Each presenter had something different to teach. Networking continued over late night pizza and karaoke that was off the charts. This group has a special camaraderie!!!
I decided to attend INFOCUS the first time because I wanted to learn everything I needed to know about my new dslr camera. Most of the attendees use dslr cameras and unlike any other video camera from the past, there is a steeper learning curve with these cams. For example, audio is a completely different approach: dslrs do not have great built-in microphones so we have to add separate recorders at an event. Adam Forgione of Pennylane Productions was an awesome presenter on audio and broke it down in an easy-to-understand way. In the last year, I have become pretty comfortable with my new camera but like most things in life, there are new products and new ways of doing things so it’s a constant learning experience to insure that I deliver a better product to my clients each year. Adam was just one of many presenters that I enjoyed. Ray Roman of Ray Roman Films especially blew my mind and was very helpful with ideas to me. The conference was a full 3-day sensory experience!
Here is a Same Day Edit, providing a glimpse of what the event was like. It was filmed by my good friend/talented event filmmaker, Jose Ortiz of Jose Ortiz Films. You’ll notice a “few” cameos of me in there too. Just proves I was there! Fun stuff.
Carrie and Ty chose one of my personal favorite locations in all of Los Angeles to tie the knot. Nestled admist the woodsy community of Topanga Canyon, Inn of the Seventh Ray is considered one of the most romantic restaurants around. Topanga is known as a bohemian enclave attracting artist and musicians. It was perfectly suited for the artistic loving couple and their like-minded guests.
I went to High School with Ty. A few years ago, we reconnected through a popular social network (hmmm?) and became closer friends…. so when I found out he was in love and a year later, wanted me to film his marriage to Carrie – I was not only excited for him, after I met Carrie, I was truly honored!
Carrie and Ty share a unique bond that is told during the ceremony. Have a listen…
Photographer: Leanna Jacoby
There is only one word that best describes the essence of Erin and Jared.
Their families have truly blended by falling in love with one another 11 years ago when Erin and Jared first met in college. The wedding was merely a formality of what had naturally taken place in not only Erin and Jared’s hearts, but in the warm hearts of their beloved parents and siblings too.
The comfort level that they all share with one another was infectious. When I first met Nan, the mother of the bride, I felt instantly at home in her house while we shared and laughed about survival, life and love. We had an instant connection because she felt cozy and familiar to me. She emphasized to me how special it was how the two families from different cultures and religions had grown together, how the younger sisters of both the bride and groom were also best of friends and how all of the “children” spend time together often. She showed me years of photos of the two families on vacations together. She insisted on feeding me too.
She explained to me how Erin and Jared did not really want to be the focus of attention on their wedding day because it was so much more. It was hard to believe at first. What bride doesn’t like a little bit of special attention? Not Erin. When I met Erin and Jared, “family” was the first thing they mentioned to me and they meant it!
The ceremony was held in the beautiful Japanese Garden of the Langham Hotel, Pasadena. The surprise Chinese Tea Ceremony was especially a nice touch in honor of Jared’s Chinese grandma who was there, just moments before their vows.
Like her mother, Erin has a special sensibility. She went out of her way to ask me how I was doing on HER wedding day. Her mother made sure I was nourished in the hotel room and offered me a cold drink while outside in the heat. Jared was easy-going and like a kid at heart.
The day went by quickly as if I wasn’t even working because they all truly felt like family to me too. Nan and I have become friends since then and actually call each other “girlfriend” now too.