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Producing a 'Life-Changing' Conference Promo Film

Award-winning event filmmakers David Robin and Ray Roman team up to produce the official WPPI 2012 promo film, "Change Your Life"

When acclaimed event filmmakers David Robin and Ray Roman attended February's 3-day WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) expo in Las Vegas, they weren't there to crash the party. They were there to promote it, actually, charged with directing the WPPI's first official promotional film. 

Ray Roman and David Robin
Collaborating filmmakers Roman (left) and Robin (right)

Inside Scoop, Inside Track

A WPPI-sanctioned promo film was the brainchild of Roy Ashen, president and CEO of music licensing library Triple Scoop Music, a sponsor of Robin's (and now Roman's too), and a longtime affiliate of WPPI. In past years, others had loosely put together unofficial videos about WPPI, but Ashen envisioned a professional piece (with a soundtrack featuring Triple Scoop Music) with WPPI's blessing and cooperation. With only a few weeks of planning, Ashen, Robin, Roman, famed Fresh Sox filmmaker Konrad Czystowski (and many other collaborators) saw the roughly 4-and-a-half minute film to fruition.

Planning began just a few weeks before WPPI, when Ashen contacted the filmmakers. "Roy jumped on the opportunity to get us all involved," says Robin. They saw it as a chance to develop a concept, something "more thought-out" than what others had created previously, says Roman.

Crossover Appeal

Both brand-new to WPPI, Robin and Roman also recognized this as an opportunity to forge a relationship with the organization and even, as Roman describes it, to possibly extend their education "over to the photography side." Seeing both camps as having merging interests, thanks to the versatility of the DSLR cameras that increasingly dominate both fields, Roman believes "there is a legitimate interest in the side of photographers to learn. Not to become videographers or filmmakers, but to have an understanding. To stay competitive, many are beginning to offer something other photographers are not, like a 2-3 minute vignette or highlight video, not a full-fledged film."

Roman also saw this as an opportunity to mark their territory, in a way, at an event that he has a hunch might start teaching DSLR cinema in the future, at least on a small scale. Producing the film there gave them an opportunity to introduce themselves as two well-respected filmmakers. "Like a landing. We're here. It has arrived on the doorstep. It's the reason why we would be doing anything at WPPI, to begin the merger. We're essentially using the same tools," he says, adding that the reverse is true as well. "In some cases, I have better gear than the photographers. If I had the passion and interest, I could start offering photography."

Funding the Film

One challenge they had in creating something more calculated was convincing WPPI that producing such a film would require a budget, unlike earlier projects about the expo. Roman and Robin needed to sell them on the idea that this one would be different. It would be based on a concept, a story, and would cost money to produce.

Fortunately, with Ashen on their side as producer, and with WPPI's connections, they secured sponsorships from 10 vendors, who were rewarded by prominent placement in the film as well as their own promo video specific to their brand and products.

Change Your Life WPPI 2012
Prominent product placement for Change Your Life sponsors