One of the most anticipated nights of a teenager's life is unquestionably: PROM. Annabelle's mom called me up and asked me to create a film of her daughter's prom. I loved this idea. Especially, because I love Moab's prom. They do it the old fashioned way. Months and months before prom, the kids start learning a choreographed waltz. Practically the entire community comes out to the gym to watch the anticipated promenade. Every couple gets their own entrance where their names and their parents names are announced. And then they promenade. And then they dance with their moms or dads. And then all the grownups leave, the lights go low, and the true dance begins. When I first moved to Moab years ago, I thought it was so strange. Now I think it's wonderful!! Just what prom should be. I loved the opportunity to document these fun teenagers at such a joyful life event. And teenagers love being in front of the camera, which makes my job incredibly fun.
Since 2016, I have been creating promotional videos for CrossFit Moab. The first time I filmed for them, I had never attended a CrossFit class. I worked out on the trails only. I was way too self righteous about it. "Working outside is better...blah blah blah." After filming for CrossFit in June of 2016, I was completely blown away by the positive atmosphere and the great fitness of all the members. So I joined, and have completely fallen in love with CrossFit. Tonya, one of the owners, asked if I would film a testimonial video for 2018. I love interviewing and helping people feel comfortable talking to the camera.
CrossFit Moab also runs a program for children, called FitKids. It is such a fun, non competitive way for kids to learn to love fitness.
Both of these films will be a valuable tool for CrossFit Moab. If someone is curious about CrossFit for themselves or their child, these videos will help potential customers see the value of signing up. Often, video can reach people in a way that emails and phone calls can't.
I had the opportunity to film the recital for another one of Moab's talented organizations, Just Dance Company. In addition to the group numbers, several of the girls performed solos. I really enjoyed filming the solos, and marveled at the bravery of these girls.
I love filming these recitals. I like that parents can relax and watch the performance with their eyes, instead of through their phone camera. I love that after it's over, they can relive the entire performance, as well as enjoy the highlight film. I love this career for this very reason- so people can relive their favorite moments and share them with their favorite people. And even more- 10, 20, 30 years from now, they can watch it all over again!
For the second time in two months, I was asked to film at Grand County High School. This time for the Devilettes. And what a privilege! The Devilettes are the drill team for GCHS. The community loves them and has always loved them. There is even a drink named after them at the local soda shop, Lop's Pop Stop (Sprite, raspberry & blood orange).
The Devilettes have been practicing furiously for competition. They asked me to come for what would be their final dress rehearsal before Region. It was a Friday night. The boys' C, JV, and varsity basketball teams would be playing, and the Devilettes had a different routine to perform at each halftime. These 3 routines were the routines that they would perform at region, which was to be the next morning.
The girls immediately impressed me. They were obviously devoted and talented. They were so athletic and so excited for me to be there. I love working with teenagers! They are not camera shy. I filmed them practicing for each routine in the band room and putting the final touches on their hair and costumes. They rehearsed over and over. Especially the hard parts.
The girls would pop in during the basketball games to watch and cheer on their friends and boyfriends playing basketball. And then they'd group up outside the court and pray and cheer, and get completely stoked. Less than one minute after the half time buzzer sounded, the girls marched to half court, and absolutely killed it. By the varsity game, the crowd was huge, as it was an important ball game, and the energy was so much fun. Even though I'd just met these girls, I was so happy for their incredible success and couldn't help but pump my fist in the air when they hit their final steps.
The Devilettes went on to do place 4th at region, allowing them to move on to State. I love filming these high school teams. Soon 4 of the girls will graduate, and being a Devilette will be a thing of the past. I am excited each of these ladies will have this video to look back on and show to the people they care about.
Angela is one of the coolest women on the planet. Three days before she gave birth, we were at the park and she was doing pushups.
We go way back. Our husbands were roommates in college. My husband set the two of them up on their first date. We ended up in Moab a few years after them. We have kids the exact same ages (until now!!). We both have a craving for adventure/physically exhausting fun. A few of my favorites include riding the White Rim in day, summiting the Grand Teton in a day, and backpacking the Grand Canyon (in 2 days). We are pros at cramming in as much fun as possible into short increments of time. We know the exact amount of time it takes to mountain bike or trail run a large majoirty of the trails around here, making it possible to squeeze in adventure during preschool or before work.
Angela is also a fantastic photographer. Check her out at Angela Hays Photography.
Anyway- lets get to the point. Two weeks ago, Angela had a baby in the middle of the night. Eight hours later, I drove to the hospital to film this beautiful bundle of joy and to capture three sisters meeting little Ms. Bridgette for the first time.
I cried at least 3 times in that hospital room, and then multiple times again as I edited.
There is nothing like the love and joy a newborn brings to a family.
For the second season in a row, I was able to create a film for the Grand County High School Lady Devils basketball team. I absolutely love this opportunity. I remember my high school sport days very well, and even though I was terrible, I learned so many life lessons. I learned how to push myself harder than I thought was possible. I learned discipline. I gained confidence. I'm proud of every one of these girls for putting themselves out there and going for it.
This year on their uniforms, they are sporting a black circle for Taylor, #25, I think about Taylor everyday.
These girls (and coaches) have heart. Go Lady Red.
I love this family. After I had my first baby, I went back to work for another season with the National Park Service. A friend recommended Tonya to watch my one-year-old, and that is how we met. I remember having this fear that he would take his first few steps at her house, but I quickly learned that even if he did and I missed it, Tonya would be just as excited as I would be. She has so much love in her heart. Don't worry, he walked for his first time at home.
This family also has an amazing ability to make dreams a reality. For as long as I've known them they've had a vision for a CrossFit gym in Moab. After a few years and lots of problem solving and hard work, here they are as owners of successful CrossFit Moab. Drop in gym goers from around the globe have commented that this gym truly feels like a community.
Tonya wanted to give Clint a family film, celebrating him, for Christmas. Christmas morning, Clint had this film under the Christmas tree. We also created another film with him in it, in full uniform. It is so touching, and he beautifully snuggles his family and verbally expresses his love for them, but we are keeping it off the web for privacy reasons (we can't have all of our treasures on the internet now can we!!). Happy New Year everyone!!!
In January 2017, I filmed Moab Dance Company's "The Jungle Book" performance. This winter, they put on a fantastically festive Christmas performance. The costumes, music, and the debut of the boys hiphop class, made such a fun show. Filming the dress rehearsal and behind the scenes is probably my favorite part. I love watching the parents put makeup on squirmy kids, the last minute sewing of sparkly Santa hats and tutus, and I always marvel how the kids run around backstage going a full 150% nonstop. So much energy. I'm also impressed by the teachers (and parents!!!) of Moab Dance Company for their patience and skill to make this all come together. I can't wait for the next show!
Lately I feel like time is flying by. Sometimes the days can feel so long. But then suddenly a month has gone by. And then a whole year. This is one reason I love and believe in family films. Video is such a great way to capture a time and a phase of life. Next year the Hoffman family will look different. Their baby won't be much of a baby and their oldest a teenager. I love the opportunity to create pieces of family history to be cherished with the passing of time.
Blanding, Utah is a town about 90 minutes south of Moab. Heard of the Bears Ears? Blanding is the gateway town to that incredible area. This was my first wedding in Blanding, and I was excited because it felt like a local wedding. We small towns in rural Utah have to stick together (except when it comes to high school sports).
And then when the groom's mother told me the couples' names- I got even more excited. Heaven and Devon. And then I showed up to the beautiful barn venue, that sometimes acts as a drive-in theater(!!!!), and saw the marquee: "Match made in 'Heaven', said Devon". And the rest is history.
In his opening remarks, the officiant Timmy, a good friend of theirs, mentioned that more than three times as many people showed up to the ceremony than they originally thought during the planning stages. Chantell and Andrea, two local Moab women, were surrounded by loving and supporting friends and family. In the beginning of the film, I include some of Timmy's words. He essentially says that Andrea and Chantell's happiness is of huge importance to their friends and family's happiness, and that if they ever need anything, loved ones of these women are trusting that they will ask for assistance. So lovely!
The two got ready separately at Red Cliffs Lodge, and then arrived separately at the wedding venue at the gorgeous Castle Rock Ranch. Their first look was down the aisle and dramatically fun as Chantell arrived first by classic car, and then Andrea by a horse drawn carriage. The ceremony was full of beautiful words while they also raced the setting sun. I was so glad I prepared ahead and brought my lights, as they were essential for the couple's session after.
The reception that followed was one of my favorites of the year. There was a beautifully lit tent out in the alfalfa fields, complete with a dance floor and DJ. Have you ever seen a wedding money dance? If not, watch the entire film! Basically you pin money on the bride and dance with her. It is one of the most joyful things I have seen at a wedding. I drove home from this reception so cheerful and grateful for the love that absolutely does still exist in this world.
Jonna and I started planning her wedding this spring. She had some epic plans. She would bring her two kids and her fiancé Josh all the way from Georgia. They would ride horses, elope under an arch, fly home, and two days later have a reception at the Sky Lounge in downtown Atlanta, where her wedding film would be debuted to her loved ones.
Jonna is a professional horse trainer. Her darling daughter competes in riding and jumping horses. So naturally, she wanted footage of her family on horses. The night before their sunrise wedding, we headed over to Moab Horses so they could ride into the sunset. The views of Castleton Tower and Fisher Towers from the ranch are absolutely lovely. And then the trail ended right at the Colorado River; it was quite dreamy.
The next morning, we met at 6 am at Atomic salon to start filming. The original idea was to get married at Delicate Arch, but with all the road construction and restricted hours in Arches this summer, she decided to go for Corona Arch, which was genius. While Delicate is incredible, Corona is pretty amazing itself, and with hardly any people.
After Jonna was ready, I picked up Josh and drove him to the trailhead so we could do a first look. We met up with photographer Angela Hays, and got everyone positioned. I love the anticipation of first looks! And the double first look with the kids was extra cute.
The hike to Corona arch is no stroll in the park. It's 1.5 miles, with elevation gain, a section with steep enough climbing you need a chain, and then there is a ladder. The family did it in their wedding clothes, and no one complained once. It was actually a breeze for them. The ceremony went fantastic and clouds hung around for a great photo/video session after.
After our hike out, I filmed the family at their celebration brunch at the Moab Diner. The diner is so kid friendly and relaxed, and the staff was fantastic. I loved watching those kids chow down on their well deserved cinnamon rolls.
We said our goodbyes, and the next day they flew home to Georgia, and I got to editing. I edited non stop for two days and had the film ready on Friday night, in time for their Saturday reception.
I was dying with anticipation to hear how the film debut at the reception went. I heard from Jonna Sunday morning. She said:
"I can't wait to show you the video of everyone's reactions....Countless people cried. The moment was almost as magical as that special day. It was amazing. You are truly gifted and captured everything I could have imagined. I will never be able to thank you enough."
I was shown this sweet photo of Josh and Jonna watching the wedding film at the reception in Atlanta.
The minute I picked up the phone and started chatting with Rachel, back in the spring, I knew I'd like her. She's a first grade teacher (I have a first grader!!), is easy going, adventurous and so genuine. There are endless locations to elope around here, and Rachel and James decided on Sand Dune Arch, and for a hot sunny day, it doesn't get better. It's a dream to shoot. James had a fresh tattoo of Sand Dune Arch on his arm, above his wrist. Look for it in the film!!
Rachel and James came from the Boston area. We met at a cafe the day before the wedding. I think it had been about 48 hours since they landed in Vegas, and they'd already checked off 3 National Parks. After their elopement, they checked off many more over 10 days or so. Such a good idea- elope, then adventure.
Just this past weekend, Rachel and James had a gathering with loved ones and showed the film. This was the email Rachel sent me after the party:
"We had the film playing on a loop for guests during the party and every single person commented on how professional, creative and talented you are!!! Every guest cried watching it (I had to put a couple boxes of tissues out) and most people watched it more than once!! They were so curious as to how you filmed it and what direction you provided- your attention to detail and vision for our film was phenomenal!
You can go right ahead and post the real deal on social media - so many guests will be looking for it so they can watch it again!"
Emails like this are so incredibly rewarding to receive. I don't often get to see a bride or family watch a wedding film, so I love hearing about reactions.
I truly love filming elopements. The photographer, officiant, and I are the only ones who get to see this incredible event and it's seriously such a privilage. And then I get to create a film the couple can share with their loved back at home. It is just so exciting and meaningful.
I was lucky enough to travel to San Clemente, CA for a week back in July. If I could split my life between Moab and San Clemente, I would. Surfing Donuts, SUP surfing at Old Man's, Pedro's Tacos, beach all day everyday with the kids. I barely saw my boys all week they were so busy digging and boogie boarding.
While I was there, I was able to film two lovely families. I tried something different and created an interview style family film. Audio adds so much emotion to a wedding film, so I've been dying to try it with a lifestyle film. I absolutely love the result! I love watching the parents' eyes sparkle as they talked about their children. I loved the thoughtful things they said about each child. Their words were not scripted nor rehearsed nor too rosy.
I can't imagine having a film of my parents talking about me as a little one. About how cute I was without my two front teeth, or what a stubborn toddler I was (both true ;).
One of the mothers said her film showed her kids as they truly are. That is what I want!!! I want something that will become more and more of a treasure as time passes, both to the parents and the kids. I want to create films showing families in their true, authentic ways, doing what they do. Something more than families posed and smiling. I wouldn't mind filming a few more 6 year old knock knock jokes, or brothers putting sand in their sister's hair either.
The way Tyler delivered his vows to Kaitlin is something I will never forget. He had them written on a folded piece of paper in his hands. However, he never once looked at his notes. Instead he looked her in the eyes and delivered the most lovely vows. I later heard friends talking about how much they each cried during the ceremony.
This couple is in deep love, and it is obvious. You could just feel it as they looked at each other. It was also clear that they have many people who love and support them, because they return that same kind of love and support to others.
One thing I will also forever remember about this wedding was riding in the side by side through the pine trees, down a very rocky road, with Tyler and Kaitlin, the wonderful photographer Bailey Dalton, designer Annie Spring, and the wedding organizer to beat the sunset. It was getting dark so we were flying to capture the last light. We were laughing and hooting, and holding on for dear life. It's moments like this, where things get really fun. Everyone relaxes and true personalities come out. And then I realize I'd love to hang out with these people regularly. And we captured some gorgeous scenes, and made it back with plenty of time for dancing. Although someone may have eaten Tyler's piece of Key lime pie.