We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Ring and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I wish I could say something other than hard work. Hard work is boring. There’s nothing fancy about it. You could be the most talented or skilled at whatever it is that you do, but if you lack work ethic, you won’t get anywhere.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started filming weddings in 2010. It was a time when wedding videography was undergoing a major shift from long documentary-style, over-the-shoulder VHS recordings, to short form, faster pace edits with catchy music and a focus on not only the couple getting married, but the family and friends in attendance. The emergence of social media and society’s obsession with sharing their lives online only increased demand for wedding videographers, which were already in short supply. It’s not very often you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and they reply with “wedding videographer”. It’s certainly an unusual occupation and not something I ever planned on doing with my life. I kind of fell into it after filming a wedding for a friend. I was working in tv news as a videographer/editor at our local ABC affiliate. I shot my first wedding gig for free because I was so afraid I would make mistakes. I didn’t want the added pressure of taking money from the couple, who in my mind, I would most certainly disappoint. Let’s just say I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself back then. But everything went really well and the couple loved their video. And slowly, one by one, other people started asking me to film their weddings. Within a year or two, I was starting to imagine life as a full-time wedding videographer. I told my wife (then girlfriend) that I thought it was possible that within a year I could not only replace my current income, but almost double it, if I quit working in tv news and focused on building out my own business. She was a bit nervous about it (as was I), but also much more supportive than I could have expected. So with her approval and encouragement I began to prep for what felt like the inevitable. But 6 months went by and I hadn’t made the leap. I was still working my day job and waiting. Waiting for something (I don’t even know what) to happen. Looking back I was just scared to pull the trigger and resign my position at the news station. It wasn’t until one night I walked into my friend’s house and standing in his kitchen he asked me how come I hadn’t quit my news job yet. I gave him some excuse about how it had to be the right time or something and he wasn’t buying it. He asked me if I wanted to quit working in news and go out on my own. I said yes. He looked at me dead in the eyes and very casually said, “so quit”. I’m not sure what it was about that moment. But something just clicked. That night I typed up a very simple resignation letter and printed it out. I delivered it to my by boss the next day. And just like that, a huge weight was lifted. I was free. I could finally turn my focus to the things I wanted to do. It wasn’t an easy journey, there were definitely some moments along the way where I didn’t know exactly where the grocery money would come from. There were a few non-paying clients, that I had to beg for payment. There were consultations that I’d spend hours at, only to have potential clients never call back. I remember one in particular where I drove an hour round trip in the snow to meet with a bride and her family to discuss her wedding. I could tell they weren’t going to book me early on in the conversation, but the meeting seemed to go on forever anyway. There were plenty of meetings like this, plenty of indirect rejections… but they made the yes’s that much more meaningful. Over time I got more comfortable meeting with people. I learned what made people laugh, what made them smile, and how to make them feel comfortable with me right off the bat. Hint: a little self-deprecating humor can go a long way. But don’t overdo it! I learned what my clients wanted. If you talk to your clients long enough you’ll start to notice patterns emerge. They’ll all start saying the same things. One of the things that my clients tell me is that they want a wedding video that captures the moments they share with their friends and family. So when I talk to a potential client, I tell them that part of my approach is to capture the moments that they share with friends and family on their wedding day. And bam! I’ve just told them what they were thinking before they could say it out loud. And that’s powerful. Listening to what your current clients want and then taking note is the key to getting your next client. So pay attention to what your clients are saying. Then deliver what they want. Treat every client like they are your only client. A couple extra emails or few extra hours of work can be the difference between a happy client and a disappointed client. There’s no shortcuts. Doing anything well is going to take time effort and work. Embrace it, don’t try to run from it. Learn to enjoy hard work and your life will be easy, because life is hard.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love to eat. Thankfully I’m one of those skinny people who can eat a lot and not put on too much weight. One my favorite places in Denver is a little breakfast place called Jelly. It’s hands down my favorite restaurants ever. It’s the perfect place to start your day. In between meals there a few places that I enjoy. I’m a Broncos fan and even though I don’t make it to a lot of games, when I can attend a hime game at Mile High, it’s always a good time. I have two little kids so the Denver Aquarium is a place that we frequent. And though it has that very touristy feel, nothing beats seeing the wonder and excitement on my little boys’ faces when they see all the underwater creatures. Recently I’ve become obsessed with camping and hiking. There’s not a ton of hiking to be done in the city, but we have some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen right here in Colorado. If you haven’t been to Telluride or Ouray I highly recommend it. My wife and I recently hiked Mt Sneffels and it was incredible.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife and I were dating at the time that I decided I wanted to work for myself. Making the leap from employment at a nine to five job with benefits and steady paycheck to a more uncertain lifestyle was difficult not only for me, but for her as well. She relied on me to pay half the rent and other bills. She was a bit nervous when I told her my plans. But she believed in me and encouraged me every day along the way. So this shoutout is dedicated to my beautiful wife and best friend, Kate Singh Ring.