Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Total Package

I was talking with my friend Lucho the other day. Lucho is a wedding photographer and he was lamenting about how crowded and competitive his occupational field has become. He mentioned marriage proposals as an example. He says that the videoing of marriage proposals has become a mega production, even in Chiclayo. These days proposal packages routinely include fireworks, choreographed singers and dancers, a mariachi band, and a cameo appearance from a minor celebrity who is either up-and-coming or on the way down. You can even rent a ring, and if you want, dozens of ‘friends’ to witness the happy occasion. Lucho says it’s becoming harder to come up with new offerings to stay ahead of the competition.

But he’s working on a plan. Every photographer offers proposal and wedding packages, but nobody does them at the same time. Lucho figures he can not only offer his customers a lower price, but can save them time by filming the two events back-to-back. All the principals have to do is change clothes – he into a rental tux and she into a rental wedding dress. One of the rented friends becomes a preacher and viola!…instant wedding! I can see the possibilities and was congratulating Lucho on his cleverness when he stopped me short by saying - “You haven’t heard anything yet!” I could see he was just warming up.

“Tom…” he said to me, “it’s a sad fact that the majority of the marriages I film will end in divorce. Though we may not like it, if we know it’s going to happen why not film all three – proposal, marriage and divorce at the same time? The rented friends from the proposal segment become judges, lawyers, bailiffs and character witnesses for each of the principles, who again only have to change clothes”. I pointed out that they would also have to act sad rather than happy, but Lucho waived that off as trivial.

I have to admit I was impressed and told him so. Chiclayanos are nothing if not practical and would see the logic, and of course will jump at the chance to save money. When he asked if I thought his ‘total package’ plan could succeed, I told him it would succeed without question and that for six months to one year he’d be king of the hill…until his competition caught up, then he would be in the same position he is now. I saw the gleam in his eye and knew something else was coming.

“Tom, when I said I wanted to offer the ‘total package’, that’s exactly what I meant. I have an idea in the works for another offering, to be filmed all in the same morning with the proposal, wedding and divorce segments. I call it the R.I.P. option.”

It could work.

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