Give the gift of eternal memories this holiday season! This week we spoke to Courtney Miceli & Taylor Palmer of the Present Films to learn how they can help us preserve our special moments.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Our business is called The Present Films. We’re a documentary production service that offers high quality keepsake films to preserve life’s special moments. Capturing your baby’s firsts, telling your partner why you love them, leaving a few words of wisdom for your grandchildren, or promoting yourself and your professional journey – whatever your purpose, we’re here to bring your narrative to life! In doing so, our hope is to document your present to be shared for the future.
What made you want to do this work?
Ever since we were kids, we’ve been obsessed with our video cameras. As cousins, any time we had the opportunity to see each other, we would always write out scripts, pull out the costume bag and shoot funny films for our family. As we grew older, we both explored the production industry professionally and were eventually drawn back to our roots of making heartwarming family-oriented films together.
Much of what inspired us to create keepsake films was spending time with our grandparents and hearing all of the wonderful and awe-inspiring stories that they’ve shared about their lives. We wanted to find a way to preserve these stories, and those of so many other families, that may otherwise be forgotten.
What problem does this solve?
Our knowledge of the past often comes to us via photographs and word of mouth. However, over time, photos will tarnish and memories will fade. Video technology has allowed us to eternalize life’s special events, stories and emotions with depth and immediacy. Documenting these moments in time, we believe, is an invaluable gift for any family. Of course, we have no intention of replacing the vintage polaroids or handwritten journals – rather, our goal is to add to the ancestral repertoire of each person we meet.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Anyone and everyone who has a story to share! You don’t need to be a celebrity, a philanthropist or a public speaker to have your voice heard – virtually everybody has a tale to tell, and our goal is to capture the extraordinary moments of ordinary people.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
We offer various film shoot packages to our clients depending on what services they require. The first step is booking a FREE 30-minute phone or video consultation with us, in which we’ll discuss the client’s vision and story. Based on our initial chat, we’ll help our clients choose one of our three basic film packages or create their own customized experience. We’ll then book their day to shine in the spotlight.
On the day of filming, we travel to the clients’ home and take care of the shoot setup, technical details and interview prep before diving into their stories. We’ll happily guide our clients through the conversation, but ultimately, the stage is theirs!
After filming is complete, we edit the film together with music, personal photographs and home videos into a high-quality documentary film that brings their narrative to life. The film is then delivered to the client via a link, USB or DVD.
Where in Toronto can we find your profession?
We’re a nomadic business – we come to you! As well as serving the Greater Toronto Area, we’re also happy to travel across Ontario and, in some cases, out of province.
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?
“How do you ensure a high-quality and accurate representation of my story?”
The Present Films takes the traditional keepsake video one step further. Rather than delivering a typical “talking head” interview, we aspire to create a fresh and dynamic story arch that truly encapsulates the essence of each client. We use professional camera techniques, action shots and, where possible, the incorporation of personal home movies to produce a well-rounded product more akin to a documentary film.
In terms of accuracy, we believe that it’s crucial to spend time consulting with our clients before shooting in order to ensure their final film is exactly what they’re after. It’s in this phase too, that we collect copies of old photographs, documents and any other personal items that help contextualize each story. For peace of mind, we offer one free revision on all of our final films!
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
The best part is definitely meeting people from all walks of life and having the opportunity to listen to their journeys. The worst part would have to be the faint tick of the clock and eventually wrapping up a shoot – we could easily spend hours listening to our clients’ stories!
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
As budding entrepreneurs, we had a lot of people jokingly question why we decided to launch a business during a global pandemic. But launching in 2020 was quite special for us – in a time where the world’s uncertainty and lack of personal connection has surged, we felt it was important to provide an opportunity to bond not only with each other, but also with future generations.
On that note – we have also implemented safe shooting practice to keep our clients and ourselves happy and healthy.
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?
We recently interviewed a local artist named Montina who’s a painter and vintage product enthusiast. She has such a unique and joyful style and we absolutely loved working with her. You can check her out in our video and follow her at @ShopMontina!