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  • Charley Ashe

Lonely-Hearts Film Camp 2023

Updated: Mar 27, 2023

Wedding Videographer Retreat

It’s the year 2023 and the February weather here in the Southern Highlands is just perfection. Not too hot and not too cold. The perfect day for everyone to arrive.

Videographers are due to start rocking up from 3 pm onwards. Time to set up and make sure everything is ready to go. Weddings in the Wild venue gives off the cliché summer camp vibe. You have the accommodation for up to 140 guests, with shared bathrooms and bunk beds galore.

There’s a swimming pool, mini golf, obstacle course, basketball court, and beach volleyball. There’s a games room with table tennis, darts, and a pool. As well as a tv to just relax to. And just like a summer camp, there’s a communal dining room. For accommodation, you have the Bellmore suits, the Carrington Strip, the Carrington House, and for the special couple the cabin. This beautiful Wedding in the Wild venue is a family business run by Abi and Allister.

Taking a tour around the property, you come across their chapel. Now before we continue on with how lovely the chapel is, it is needed to be said that it looks like the type of place where a cult would carry out sacrificial rituals. It remains to be seen if said sacrifices have ever happened here... But this chapel is surrounded by nature, with these incredible tree skylines to look at. Inside the chapel are these wooden benches, fairy lights wrapped around beams, and this stunning window cross letting in this wonderful natural light.

Lonely Hearts Film Camp was orchestrated by Grace and Andrew (aka Grandrew). Who in their own words are ‘Two halves of a whole, individually they have mastered their craft together and have created an International Award-Winning Wedding Cinematography Studio named after the great Aussie native ‘Bottlebrush’ which surrounded them both growing up’.

Bottlebrush films have been going strong for 10 years and back in 2020 they became mentors and educators who created and launched Australia’s biggest-ever wedding film workshop ‘Lonely Hearts Film Camp’. With Covid putting a spanner in the works for a 2021 and 2022 camp, Grandrew pushed through, and Lonely-Hearts Film Camp came back with a bang for 2023. Legendary videographers flew over from Germany, America, Canada, Wales, and all states of Australia.

The camp started with polaroids, drinks, and lots of hellos. Introductions were made, friends were created, and memories had begun. Sticking to the scheduled dinner was served at 6 pm and not long after that dessert. The ‘party’ bus as everyone is calling it arrived around 6.45 pm all rushed in to grab food before settling in for the show. As soon as everyone had eaten, gotten drinks, and grabbed their cameras out, an introduction was made by Grandrew themselves, followed by the first films made by all attending speakers.

In Grandrew style everyone was allocated a coloured lanyard, orange, and pink. These were for the breakout sessions where the speakers did a demonstration so that the videographers didn’t miss out on anything. Coloured tokens were also handed out for ‘circle sessions.’ The circle session involved a group of 5 people maybe 6 discussing and giving advice for a minute only on a topic that was chosen by Grandrew. For example, one of the topics could’ve been: ‘What is your biggest struggle business-wise?’.

It's safe to say that everyone had an amazing first night getting to know one another and connecting on a film basis. Film camp was nothing short of extraordinary. Talents from all over came to learn and teach. Everyone including the speakers went home with something new, with something more than just a lesson taught, or a lesson learned. They’ve taken home friends, contacts, memories, and most importantly a week that they will never forget and even to this day zoom calls are scheduled to continue to learn, meet ups happen to showcase what they’ve learned and how they’ve incorporated that into their own work.

Group chats have been made and are constantly going off, bouncing off ideas, mood boards getting shared for rebranding, prices raising, international weddings being booked, and congratulations and well done's are getting shared like there is no tomorrow. Lonely Hearts Film Camp was more than just learning, more than just collaborating. It’s about a community coming together and getting the chance to shine brighter than before. In Axel Tuohy's words:

''I just spent the last 5 days at @lonelyheartsfilmcamp. Time and money spent learning skills to provide my couples with better experiences and products. 5 days spent building relationships with vendors all over Australia and internationally. Building relationships so that we can have each other’s backs. Providing care, support, advice, shoulders, and hugs. Shooters when we’re sick. Home when we’re traveling. We are a people business. Vendors are people. If you surround yourself and everyone on the day with love, respect, and care, be those vendors, guests, or the couple themselves, everyone will have the time of their lives. Your couples will have the time of their lives. This is more than technical knowledge. This is community over competition.’’

Axel says this perfectly, with no hesitation, and no doubts. This is

exactly what the wedding industry needs to hear and this is exactly what we all need to aspire to be like. No matter what

differences everyone has this industry should be about teaching, learning, and being there and leaning on one another. Not just for when times may get tough but for someone to share their accomplishments with, to celebrate the wins and even to share drinks during the lows.

We got to hear from a handful of videographers who were honoured to of been chosen, we’re humbled to be at the camp and meet everyone who was either new or old to the industry.

The incredible videographers who were chosen to speak at the Lonely-Hearts Film Camp have been in this industry for years. They have perfected their crafts, shaped them into their design, and made them their own. We had the privilege of getting to see their work, having them teach their values, and sharing their hows and why’s.

Rick from Rick Liston + Co did a talk on outsourcing and getting your time back. After working for a British adventure wear brand, traveling to 75 countries, visiting all 7 continents, living in Shanghai, meeting the love of his life, moving to Ibiza, and back to Australia, Rick has done it all. And in doing it all and spending that much of your time traveling and working, his talk on getting your time back couldn’t be further from the truth. He has a beautiful daughter Vedra, who he has been very lucky to spend so much time with (more so than the regular dad gets to) all thanks to his photography. His values and style of doing things are all thanks to this incredible life he has lived and gets to continue living every day whilst training his daughter to follow in his footsteps.

Dear Vincent, the Josh, and Sam duo, whose brands were birthed from Vincent van Gogh’s letters to his brother Theo. A decade on and they are still inspired more so than ever before. They did their talk on how to separate the different jobs that go into videography, talked about the sound design, and how they make their music bed before adding the clips. Dear Vincent’s have been in their words ‘pioneering ambitiously to revolutionize how a wedding photograph and particularly a wedding film can be explored’. They class their films as ‘short films exploring characters. They adventure through the coming together of not just two individuals but two communities.’ By watching their short films, you get to see how they’ve incorporated their values and revolutionized the industry in their own style.

Dave LePage’s style is candid but dramatic, he centers his videos around the couple's experience. Dave got to do a talk on how to hybrid shoot both photo and video on the day and his setup. Speaking about the different techniques he uses flying his drone and shooting a first look at the same time. Dave is the type of person to go out of his way to make the couple feel at ease. He spends time getting to know them, learning everything he can to make their photos and film match their personality. He forms a relationship with the couple before the day and you can see from his films and photos what a difference this makes.

To add drama to the camp, Tim Whiting Film Producer and Colourist from Visible Studios got delayed on his way from Melbourne. In true 'I missed my flight' excuses, Tim came up with a classic but true excuse. Unfortunately, Tim was delayed by a few hours due to an accident on his way to catch his flight. Finally making it to camp, dinner was served and Tim's talk on colour coding and grading kicked off and lasted well into the night.

White in Revery has been in the wedding industry for 10 years, they have traveled the world capturing captivating love stories. They are a leading filmmaking team based in America, they’ve created a wedding film house that is built upon telling iconic stories that are forged from reckless loves and have a penchant for the wild. This couple is awe-inspiring. Their love for one another and their love for their work is astounding. It is what fairy tales are made of. Having the pleasure of meeting them and getting to have conversations with them about parenthood, their work, about what made them who they are today was an absolute pleasure (especially when I had no idea who they were before camp).

In their own words – ‘We focus on films for the adventurous and daring. Those that are so enamored with love for each other that they can’t contain their excitement. They love to travel, explore, to find the humour in life. Without each other, life would be incomplete. These are the stories we love to tell.’ You would not be disappointed to have these two films on your special day.

White in Revery talked about their choices, how they make colour grading, and how they pick their song choices and add ambient sounds. They spoke about how and why they shoot in wide mediums and tights. Creating this story of how they entered the scene and left it, zoning in on the eyes and hands of their clients, creating these beautiful and fluid films.Listening to them talk about going between different choices of using a handheld look and gimbal shot, explaining why they do this, and then doing demos to show exactly how white in Revery does it.

Calen went on to explain and show how he uses the gimbal in different situations and the different techniques he uses himself. To make the demo that much more invigorating, Calen showed those who brought their gimbals how to do these techniques themselves and in what ways they could be used. In demonstrating this, takenbyturners (Sabrina & Jake) were the models, oozing sensuality by just embracing themselves as a couple.

The Costa Sisters is an incredible sister duo from Wales (Great Britain). They graced us with their contagious smiles and vivacious persona. The Costa’s spent an afternoon giving a demonstration and talk on their approach to shooting. They chatted about what they do, how and why, and what they give to their couples to help prepare them for their special day. The Costa Sister's demonstration was very high energy, fun, and full of instructions for the couple, who in this case was the talented Turner duo. The videos that came out with these two were next-level! For the second demonstration that they did, the Costa Sisters hired these two lovely lady models who just happened to be together (not a coincidence ha) Skye and Breezy. They looked phenomenal in the photos and videos that have been shared and passed along.

The Costa Sisters are by far the most quirky, western cowgirls going. Their vibe is something else and to spend a week with them, watch them work, share a room with them and get to know them was just amazing. Spending a whole week shacked up with these two amazing sisters was something that will be cherished. Watching them interact with everyone at camp and watching them do their demonstrations was energizing. Their energy is off the roof, they don’t shy from their personalities. They embraced everything that they are and threw it in everyone’s faces and everyone loved it. Loved them. They have traveled the world capturing eccentric couples, capturing out of the ordinary weddings, and capturing unconventional sights.

They thrive on the peculiar things in life, the bizarreness that sets people apart. They have an edge to them that only shows in their work but it makes them remarkable, makes them stand out above the rest. Being in this industry for 10 years they haven’t strived away from who they are, they’ve perfected their brand, enriched their unusual style, and have most importantly stayed true to who they are as individuals, as sisters. Their quote from their website tells you exactly who they are and what they look for in their couples ‘seek what sets your soul on fire’.

Riccardo and Anne Fasoli from Kreativ wedding were another anticipated videographer duo. Kreativ Wedding talked about what true authentic filming means, making beautiful films without fake moments. As with White in Revery, Kreativ Wedding did a demonstration using a couple from camp as his newly wedded couple.

Turning on some music, having it quietly on in the background, Riccardo set the atmosphere for the Turners. Allowing them to connect, naturally, letting the elements and music sway their movements. With Anne taking photos and Riccardo on video, they showed how they had an unspoken communication, working in unison. There was this sort of dance happening between them, if Riccardo moved back Anne would follow and vice versa, never stepping into each other’s shots (maybe stepping on toes if they weren’t quick enough).

Having the couple be so carefree and fluid created some beautiful photos and videos.

These two are the most generous, courteous, beautiful couple to ever encounter. Riccardo is from Italy and Anne is from Germany. They met 15 years ago, married on their 10th anniversary, and created Kreativ weddings 10 years ago where they have since expanded bringing on two new colleagues. The Fasoli duo love unconventional, boho, urban, hippie-styled weddings where they choose authenticity over poised and awkward smiles. They are true storytellers, and this showcases in their wonderful films.

Anne and Riccardo are extravagant in a beautiful way and yet so down to earth that it is so easy to get to know them, so easy to just lay your heart and soul out for them. Spending a week chatting with them and having them give advice on very personal things and having that male perspective from an outsider (who happens to be Italian, that accent man could I listen to it all day every day) who does not know you at all but is willing to spend their time giving you all this advice, encouragement and attention will forever be one of the most heartfelt encounters to date.

There is something special about this couple, being their personal taxi for the week was not a chore but a wonderful and laughable pleasure. Not having them in the car any longer feels as if there’s something missing, they filled the journeys with stories, friendship, and the most profound kindness that is so hard to come by from strangers nowadays. In true camp spirit Sabrina and Jake Turner our dashing darling couple were the models for the whole week. Most of everyone’s videos and photos are of this duo and man do they make your glasses fog up. They were so damn steamy that even the fog didn’t deter them. Takenbyturners (Sabrina & Jake) were mesmerizing. Their chemistry for one another was off the roof. Watching them be so free and open with one another and all 70 of us from camp makes you realize just how true, true love really is. Looking at them and seeing how they interacted with each other was enough to make anyone swoon. And Jake my goodness did he make the swooning so much more when he whipped out a guitar and started singing. They are truly a wonderful couple and their daughter is one lucky girl to call them her parents.

Grandrew has been spoken about already but they most defiantly deserve another mention. Being the organisers of such an incredible camp does not do them justice. The quirky mismatched duo was so vibrant and intoxicating that it was hard not to like them. Andrew is on the disorganised side yet so energised and so passionate that if something were to go wrong he’d be the guy to take the blame no matter what and there’s Grace, so full of energy and spunk it's not hard to miss her in a crowd and boy did she have everything sorted down to a T. They radiated energy and sent out this vibe that you couldn’t help but be drawn to.

With camp coming to a quick ending, Grandrew had organised for us to go out in style. A Tarantino-themed party was planned and put into motion. A fake blood station was set up, tassels got hung up, a photo booth was assembled, a DJ blasted music, and Uma Thurman’s assembled. The number of campers who turned up as Uma Thurman was quite impressive. The party was beyond crazy, a drinking game was played that no one has any idea as to how it was meant to be played, everyone got very into it though. Shouts were flying everywhere, alcohol was consumed in ridiculous amounts resulting in people being covered in it, songs were sung, and hips did sway. Wednesday night was exceptional.

Costumes were top-notch, Marilyn Monroe made a very manly appearance, a penis rocked up, a wallet was passed around and a very impressive foot stomped about. Let’s just say the costumes did not disappoint and neither did the music. With Tarantino as the theme, our DJ did not falter on the jams. The photo booth was used in full force, with Gifs being made, pouts being pulled, drinks being gulped and poses struck.

Videos were filmed, photos were snapped, and the pool came into good use. A chilly night did not warn of the bunch of people who, not even drunk decided the pool needed occupants. Who knew being sober would result in such a whirlwind of a night. The images from Wednesday night speak for themselves.

If there’s one thing that has been learned whilst being the camp coordinator for a wedding videographer camp is that everyone is different. They each have their own mark, their own spunk, their own techniques, vibes, and most importantly their own personalities that make them unique and that make them stand out.

You could sit in a room with all 70 videographers and think they are all alike and think to yourself what on earth makes them so unique, so different from one another? And then they talk, play their own videos, and tell you how they went about getting a certain clip, how they got this ‘perfect’ shot. To me as an outsider looking in, it is inspiring to see them all trying to achieve what each of them individually measures as their perfect shot, a perfect shot of one couple could be the opposite of another couple. And that to me is something entirely unto itself.

Sitting alongside 70 people who all do the same thing is very daunting especially when what I do is entirely different. Watching them, observing them, and getting to actually know some of them have inspired me in more than one way. The commitment, dedication, and love that all these videographers put into their work is a testament to their characters.

Lonely Hearts Film Camp was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I am so honoured that Grandrew chose me to be a part of it.

Lonely Hearts Menu
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LHFC Schedule of Events
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Camp guests
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