We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Alex Lancial & Jim Tuttle. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Alex Lancial below.
Alex Lancial, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. To kick things off, we’d love to hear about things you or your brand do that diverge from the industry standard.
With every film we create, we’re trying to create something new. Whether it’s a new way to tell a story, a new experience to curate with or clients or a new technique we’ve been itching to try out. We’re proud to say our films are 100% unique every time we create them, and that’s largely due to our background in journalism. Jim started his career as a newspaper reporter and eventually transitioned to visual journalism, while Alex spent most of college making documentaries. We like to take the same approach we would with a documentary film. This translates to more than just a shooting or editing style. It means getting to know our clients or couples really well before we put them in front of cameras. It means building a relationship first so the film we create is unique to them.
Alex Lancial, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
We’re Alex (she/her) and Jim (he/him) and we met working together as visual journalists in Arizona. While reporting and filmmaking together over a summer, we became fast friends, and started dating a year later. After about three years, Jim proposed and Alex fell in love with the whole process of planning a wedding, from picking out the venue to seeing the gorgeous images after. So when the fun of nuptials was over, we knew we had to do something to make weddings a permanent part of our lives.
We’ve both been photographing, filming and editing for more than 10 years, and decided to turn our wedding hashtag #HesMyHuckleberry into a wedding videography company. We prioritize gorgeous cinematography, clean sound, sweet edits and, above all, storytelling.
Putting together a wedding film is sort of like creating an amazing meal. We take all the great ingredients we captured and transform them into something you want to watch over and over. Couples praise us for our engaging edits that truly let them relive their day and ALL the feels. Our style is cinematic storytelling with a touch of vintage nostalgia. Our films are never dull, usually sentimental and always unique.
What else should we know about how you took your side hustle and scaled it up into what it is today?
Jim will let Alex take this one:
So we moved to Phoenix in 2016 and started our own production company. We bought all our own equipment and did some amazing work for international development organizations and non profits. We started our wedding brand shortly after we got married in 2018. At the time we were both working as instructors and contractors for the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, where I went to school and where we met. Weddings were a way for me to scratch an itch to do something a little more creative and fun so we did our first few in 2019. We learned A LOT from our first four weddings, mainly that they are so much different than other events we’ve shot and we were seriously needing experience with them. I also figured I could create a business page on wedding planning sites like The Knot or Wedding Wire and have leads magically come to me, but of course that was a failure.
Luckily, we still had our work at ASU to keep us busy, so for a long time Huckleberry Wedding Films was just a static website floating in the world. Later in 2019, Jim got a new job at a tech company in Austin. He worked remotely for the first few months while I wrapped up my classes and we moved our whole lives to Texas. I took sometime to update our website and business locations, but I had this idea that I was going to find myself creatively after we moved in February 2020. I had a contract lined up for the summer so I wanted to take a few months to learn what I really wanted to do and apply only for jobs I really wanted. Then the pandemic hit and suddenly we both had time to do this. I played around with illustration and design, Jim dove headfirst into his new job, but for some reason the wedding business did not really cross our minds.
We did have one wedding lined up for 2020 right after my summer contract finished. It was the first time we had a really amazing venue with exceptional natural light. The couple was friends of ours so telling their story was really fun and I had a wonderful time putting it together. I would say that wedding was our first true portfolio-worthy piece that got me thinking, “Hey I really enjoy this!”
Right after I finished that wedding I got an email from a photographer who was new to Austin, Gaby Deimeke. She said she’d found us, loved our stuff, and was looking for videographers to refer when her couples asked. We had a coffee meeting where I told her, “Hey this is really just a side hustle.” And as soon as I said that I had a perspective shift. I’m unemployed, looking for work, why not try this out full-time while I can? So after that call I started pouring all my hours into Huckleberry Wedding Films. I redid our website and restructured our pricing (the first of many restructures). I created blog content and prepped ad copy. I did a reel of our first few weddings but with a new style. I took a look at our finances and created a plan to try to book 10 weddings for 2021. I OFFICIALLY started full-time at the beginning of 2021 and networked with vendors, toured venues right and left (I was probably in the car for 3 weeks straight running all over the city) and listened to all the education I could. I cannot stress this enough, this was heaven. I finally found something where all my creative skills combined into one thing and it was operating my own brand.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative in your experience?
We don’t want to sugarcoat this: creative work is HARD. Sometimes it feels like you’re on top the world and other times you’ve been banging your head against the wall for so long you wonder why you do this. The creative process is oftentimes long, arduous and unglamorous. It involves procrastination-cleaning, meditating and sometimes full-on anxiety meltdowns. You’re just trying to figure out this puzzle. Sometimes the solution comes to you quickly, sometimes it’s a slog. The moment it clicks and you realize how you want someone to feel while absorbing the project, that’s when everything starts to flow. By far the most rewarding thing is to be with someone while they watch a piece and see their reaction. You hope they feel all the things you intended, that they laugh, cry or go “awwww.” Unfortunately we don’t get to see this often, but when we do it’s pure bliss. The closest thing we have is our client emails and reviews, which we cherish more than they know.
- Website: https://www.hbweddingfilms.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/huckleberryweddingfilms
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/huckleberryweddingfilms
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCrOMtDRe72XViv7kMpk7NwQ
- Other: https://austin.wedsociety.com/vendors/huckleberry-wedding-films/ https://lovestoriestv.com/business/huckleberry-wedding-films
Photo of Alex & Jim: Gretchen Wakeman Photography All other photos: screen grabs from Huckleberry Wedding Films