Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson VMA major captures weddings on film

Zander Colman

Love, laughter, and happily ever after—this Emerson basketball player–turned wedding videographer is capturing it all through the lens of passion and creativity.

Crystal Lake Creatives, a company specializing in wedding videography, has recently received recognition for its exemplary work. The largest national wedding site, The Knot, awarded the company with the “Best of Weddings Award,” and another large wedding site, Wedding Wire, awarded the business with the “Couples Choice Award” both for 2024. 

“It was a huge honor winning these awards. We made it a goal to try out for these awards,” said Zander Colman, creator of the company and current Emerson student. “A big part of the qualification was getting as many five-star reviews as possible. I’m super proud of my team.”

Junior visual media arts major Zander Colman fell in love with weddings when he was a senior in high school. He attended his neighbor’s backyard wedding, which he said was “insane” in that it included elements such as fireworks as part of the big day. 

There, he met the videographer for the wedding, one of the premiers of the field in New England. He reached out to them and was hired as an intern, working in that position for about six months before progressing to becoming a second shooter for the company. 

When he left the business to begin his first year at Emerson, Colman decided to try videography on his own. 

He and later his brother, Nate, now a senior in high school, started Crystal Lake Creatives from the ground up during his freshman year, working their way through Facebook wedding groups to spread the word about their business. 

Though launching a business as a freshman in college was difficult, Colman said the business fit into his schedule and enhanced his intended career plan. In many ways, combining his academia and business has increased his opportunities and accelerated his success. 

The company’s first booking, Colman said, “was actually from an Emerson alum” who found them on the social media site.

Starting a business was familiar to Colman. When he was 15 years old, he started a basketball camp in his home state of Connecticut, which still runs today.

Entrepreneurship “comes naturally” to him, Colman said, and he has always been interested in it. 

Despite his experience, running a business does not come without its challenges. Within Crystal Lake Creatives Colman has faced numerous challenges, including “budgeting nightmares” surrounding some projects. 

There have also been “unexpected curveballs” like videos being booked “super last minute … even the night before.” 

However, he asserts that he has managed all the moving parts and ensured his employees are well-equipped when shooting comes around. 

Colman and his colleagues specialize in documentary filmmaking, a skill set they bring to wedding videography. 

“I love capturing connections between people, and capturing their stories,” Colman said. 

He especially enjoys building relationships with the couples he videos. 

“We do a few calls with them … understand what they want, build that connection,” Colman said.

One of the highlights of running Crystal Lake was shooting weddings in Matakana, New Zealand, while Colman was studying abroad through Emerson’s Auckland program. 

“That was one of the best experiences of my life,” he said, full of fond memories of his time abroad.

The Emerson community has been an integral part of Crystal Lake Creatives. Since coming to Emerson, Colman has brought numerous fellow students into his business as second shooters, photographers, and cinematographers. He particularly enjoys that he can now work with his friends through his company, making the process collaborative and fun to do despite challenges or hardships. 

He has learned to balance the company and his academic career, sometimes making sacrifices along the way. Colman chose to pursue his business rather than continue with playing for Emerson’s basketball team, as he did during his freshman year. 

Colman discussed that wedding videography “gets overlooked sometimes” but has rapidly grown and expanded exponentially within the wedding industry. It has become a type of cinematic filmmaking that encompasses the celebration’s special moments, from prep and first look to the reception and speeches, backdropped with music picked collectively with each couple. 

Colman described the influence of wedding videography, citing the reviews and testimonials of the couples he had worked with. 

“Having that captured is powerful and timeless,” Colman said. “We have had couples tell us that they rewatch their films every week and love it more and more every time they watch it.” 

To date, Crystal Lake Creatives has filmed over 40 weddings. It has also expanded to offer photography and videography services since that package deal has become a significant draw for businesses in the wedding industry. 

Colman recently undertook his most prominent project yet: a New Year’s Eve wedding. 

“It was a huge job … almost 10 hours,” Colman said. “It was a back-and-forth, checking on everyone, trying to bring the energy while posing people for photographs to get the best shots.” 

Colman asserts that film has always been his main passion and he plans to continue Crystal Lake for the foreseeable future. He would also like to become a production manager in Los Angeles, ideally balancing that with his business. 

Colman and all of his industry collaborators, all Emerson students, have been accepted to Emerson’s ELA program for next year. He plans to split the business between Los Angeles and Boston, with his brother managing the Boston portion. 

Crystal Lake Creatives is expanding its team in anticipation of 2024 being its biggest year yet. Students interested in getting hands-on practical experience in filmmaking should contact them through their Instagram, @crystal_lake_creatives.

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About the Contributor
Danielle Bartholet, Assistant Living Arts Editor
Danielle Bartholet has been passionate about writing as long as she can remember, writing on her high school newspaper and then for the Berkeley Beacon since 2023. She is currently a freshman at Emerson as a WLP major and a marketing communications minor. She is from Houston, TX, and enjoys reading and writing, as well theatre.

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