Personal History Tips

Here are some ideas on how the production can be shaped:

Recording your life stories, experiences and wisdom's is perhaps the most loving thing you can do for your family. Recording it professionally to digital video and audio insures that your special gift will last for all future generations to enjoy.

You have lots of flexibility as to how your gift to your family is structured. We have designed three formats that each work well depending on your circumstances. We are happy to film a married couple together if you prefer. Here are some ideas:

The most common, you are the only person(s) on camera and the format is open to whatever you want to talk about. It is a good idea to write an outline before the taping to be sure you cover all the topics you would like covered. Ask some of your relatives what they would like to hear about - you may be surprised to learn what they suggest as their favorite recounting they want you to cover.

You are at the center of a small group of friends, relatives, or grandchildren who are also on camera. You proceed in an unstructured format to tell them your favorite life stories and what life was like when you were young. A good ending is to pass along wisdom's learned from a lifetime of experiences (Ethical Will). We can do moving camera work to record the faces of your audience as they intently listen. This method gives you the most reassurance when you see the interest in the faces of your family.

Of course we don't use Barbara, but you are sure to have seen her interview someone. You are interviewed by a member of your family or close friend. This is perhaps the easiest method for you, and it is most rewarding for the person to interview you. We have a topic list they can follow or they can just ad-lib the questions. Some preparation work by the interviewer will improve the quality of your interview. Know that you are doing something wonderful for yourself, your children and your grandchildren.

The Teller (Raconteur) invariably finds that the telling of life's stories, experiences and wisdom to a younger person is a validating and satisfying experience. While being the center of your own documentary may seem daunting at first, there is not a more powerful way to show your love and respect to your family. Here are a few questions to help you plan your interview.

· Start with the history of and any short stories from preceding generations / Grandparents - then parents.
· Tell some of your happy memories from childhood.
· Tell about important historical events that happened in your lifetime. We can print a list of major world events during your life that will help jog memories and stories.
· Highlights of summer vacations as a kid and as a parent.
· How you met your mate.
· Overseas trips - big adventures.
· Name the 3 best things that you have done in your life.
· How did you decide on your career?
· What do you owe to your success?
· Who were your mentors or hero's and why?

· "I feel like I'm the luckiest Dad in the world to have had the life and family I have..." Say something positive about each one of your relatives.
· Ask: Looking back...What...?
· Ask: Looking forward.... ..What...?
· Finish with your wisdom's and beliefs you have developed and learned over a lifetime. Sometimes called an "Ethical Will" it is most often the most treasured part of the production. What are the most important things in life? What lessons have you learned? What morals do you want to pass on?

Your project will usually be organized in one of two ways or perhaps a combination of the two:
Chronological: Your material and stories are presented in a timeline fashion.

Theme Based: Your material can be grouped in "theme" groups which don't necessarily have to be chronological. Perhaps they are arranged in overall importance with the most importance at the end.

See our Frequently Asked Questions for more info