Friday, February 27, 2009

Guest Blogger Fridays: Sarah Monson of The Dream Factory

I met Sarah by chance, actually through an email she sent me titled, "I Love Santa Barbara!" She had written me asking advice about the Santa Barbara wedding industry and commented on one of my blog posts. We have actually never met, only written to each other on email, but from her emails you can see how her charisma shines through. Definitely a positive and fun person. Well I looked over her business The Dream Factory, and was loved the focus and product she was I asked her to guest blog for me about why her services are needed in this industry. Well she did an amazing blog and you are about to read it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! - Percy

Photo Montages - More than just collage

Admit it: You love looking at pictures of yourself. It’s not a bad thing – we all do it! Whether online or hanging on a wall – we all love admiring ourselves and reliving our happy memories.

My name is Sarah Monson and I own The Dream Factory (based in New York City but serving the world). I am so excited to be this week’s guest blogger. I love Percy’s blog and I love Santa Barbara (I will be living there one day soon – mark my words)! At The Dream Factory, I create professionally edited, custom made “Mini-Movie” montages of photos and videos from your life and your Wedding, all set to your favorite music.

Couples love telling the story of how they fell in love through their old photos and home movies. With these photo montages, you can tell your story in a fresh new way to all the guests at your rehearsal dinner or even those at the wedding itself. The possibilities are endless.

There are countless people and companies out there offering you these photo montages (or slideshows) and the quality or their skill and the end product you receive can vary greatly. Many who offer these use simplified “drag and drop” software that frankly you could all figure out how to use yourselves. The photo montages this software generates are often just your photos laid over your selected music, cut together with simple transitions between the photos. There is nothing wrong with these slideshows but there is generally not much “Dazzle” to them. The photos are not precisely edited and timed to the tempo and beat of your chosen music. The transitions themselves are not often the types of things you’d see in professionally done films or videos. But they get the job done.

However, there are a select few out there (like The Dream Factory) who treat your photo montage like a professional “Mini-Movie” of your story or your Wedding. Using professional film editing software, these artists can precisely time and edit your photos to the beat of the music with sleek transitions using graphically designed shapes/sizes/colors, and can also make your photos leap off the screen by creating 3-D versions of select photos.

According to The Knot, photo montages, especially those using visually stunning 3-D images, are currently a very popular trend in Weddings and this trend is growing each day (for an example of these, please visit my website and click the “Now In 3-D” button in the top left). Brides and Grooms are finding themselves drawn to these photo montages because they are an affordable alternative to full scale Wedding video productions.

I was at a wedding event this week (I am engaged myself) and someone told me that on the Top Ten list of Wedding Must Haves, video was only #7 – right after party favors. This surprised me, since I find that couples love some form of a documentary of their special day (and often even want a documentary of their love story to show off to the guests on their special day). I started thinking that Wedding videos are so low on the list and most likely being cut from budgets because they can be so pricey and people feel the still photo images from their special day are enough. Plus, couples often admit that they hardly ever sit down to watch their lengthy Wedding video.

But by taking your current photos along with those sitting around in boxes/albums (and even your old home movies/videos) and combining your favorite songs and even your own voiceovers, photo montages can create the same effect as a Wedding video but at a fraction of the cost. Plus, with these photo montages (which generally range from 5 to 15 minutes in length), couples can send copies around to friends, family and even those who were unable to attend. You can even share copies online. And my clients often tell me they watch their “Mini-Movies” again and again – something I doubt most couples say about their Wedding video.

I love what I do and I get to meet such beautiful Brides and Grooms each day with such amazing stories and lives. I even just created a surprise engagement photo montage that I edited onto the end of a movie for a Groom-to-be to show to his fiancĂ© (of course she said yes!). I come from a production background (I’ve even produced an award winning documentary film) and I create my clients’ “Mini-Movies” on the same film editing software we use for these productions. And while these “Mini-Movies” are primarily made to show at rehearsal dinners or created with the photos from your Wedding, they can also be used for any special moment in life (e.g., Memorable Birthdays, Bar/Bat-Mitzvah’s, etc.). The beauty of photo montages is that while they are each so personal, if done well, anyone can watch them and feel something.

I also should tell you that I myself am getting married in June and I understand how this tornado of Wedding planning can really sweep you up. I know what Brides and Grooms are going through, trying to stay on budget, and trying to be unique yet timeless. I get it. I also know as well as anyone that cost is always a factor.

Truth be told, I am also a tree loving hippie at heart (that’s the West Coast gal in me). Because of this, I also recently decided to launch a new service of super affordable, online, custom made “Save the Date” and “Thank You” photo montages to replace the expense and cost to the environment of using traditional paper cards. I even created one for my own engagement (see below for this sample). I also included a really cool Thank You Eco Card from a wedding.

Whether you choose to use a company like The Dream Factory or get yourself a photo montage made by your cousin on his Mac, these “bite-sized” movies really do add a charming touch to any affair and will be cherished by you and your family forever.

Thank you Percy for letting me blog about what I love most! I am honored and grateful. If you would like more information on my work, please visit The Dream Factory. If you mention Percy's Blog when contacting, you will receive an extra special rate!

Warmest regards,

Sarah Monson

(646) 454-1664

Logo and videos from The Dream Factory


Karen said...

Thank you for all that info! What a great blog! Thanks Percy!

The Sassy Redhead said...

Well said. And I must admit it is worth doing. For those of you thinking I can do that, there will be time...years will pass. Get it done, enjoy it. You will be glad you did. Your future children will love it. and by then you will be overwhelmed with baby books and your love story and wedding pictures will never make it into a book, much less an amazing movie to enjoy.

Caroline said...

I think this is just fabulous. I wish I had this for my son's Bar Mitzvah. I guess I can do it for his wedding in ten years! Does Percy do Santa Monica weddings? Thanks!

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