Pinpoint the emotions
and moods you want to evoke.
“For people who are new to this, go look
at a bunch of your favorite videos,” Ashen
suggests. “It could be movie trailers, commercials,
documentaries—anything that inspires you. Look at
it and think about how the music is helping tell the
story, where they transition the cuts of the images
in relation to the music. Ask yourself, ‘What is it
about this audio that helps amplify that story?
How does the tempo of the music relate to the
define your story
emotion they’re trying to get me to feel?’
I always invite people to pick three keywords that define the
emotional energy of the story,” Ashen says. “With a wedding,
the three words could be, ‘timeless, romantic, loving.’ If it’s a
destination wedding, maybe ‘playful, exotic, sunny.’ Or for a
sporting event, it might be ‘aggressive, intense, fast.’ If you’ve
defined the story and pegged the keywords before you pick
your final images and tunes, you are much, much more likely to
stay on track.”
As they told you in school, start
with the topic sentence.
review the greats
Check out videos you like and
note what makes them work.
Before you even start
thinking of the music,
write down one or two
sentences that serve
as an overview of your
story,” Ashen says. “What
is the essence of your
project? An example
might be, ‘This is the
wedding of Joe and
Linda, and the love
between them.’ It could
be as simple as that. All it
does is remind you what
this work is about, and
the music has to match.”
“A lot of people take their footage and build their film
or slideshow first, and then they’ll put the music in
as the very last thing, like it’s icing on the cake,” says
Ashen, who suggests syncing the speed of the visual
transitions to the rhythm of the tunes; a high-energy
video should have quicker cuts. “But if you’re doing
a really elegant, timeless, romantic story, you can
have transitions every four or five seconds, and the
music at a slower pace,” he says. “When things really
match, there isn’t going to be a dry eye in the house.
Ultimately, you want people to get chills or to cry or to
jump up and down. And there’s nothing like music to
amplify those emotions.
edit to fit
Make music a guide in the editing
process—not a bystander.
master the art
Shape the overall gestalt of
your storytelling craft.
If you’re just a photographer or just a videographer, you’re in
competition with everybody,” Ashen says. “But if you’re a master
storyteller, you can use all of these ingredients to show your client
that you can capture the story of their business, families, lives, or
whatever it is you’re shooting. And that’s where the money is.”