Struggles and successes. Heartaches and adventures. Deep-roots and free-spirits. Our family stories are full of these. Many people say they would love to record theirs or a family member’s story for future generations. Unfortunately, many miss out on the opportunity. Here are three reasons to stop making excuses and share your legacy in a way that will last for generations.
1. You may not have tomorrow.
Yes, we’re starting with the hard one no one likes to talk about. A big reason families don’t record their family history is because they are too busy to make the effort. True, it may not be possible right now to make plans and gather everything you want to include. However, don’t let procrastination stop you from accomplishing your goal. Make it a priority. Find an occasion. Tomorrow is not promised and things can happen affecting the storyteller’s ability to share.
2. It is more affordable than you think!
As a video producer, I believe video is the best way to record a family history in story form. It lets the viewer see as well as hear. Video gives the fullest expression of the story and the teller-but it’s erroneously considered more expensive. Some families choose to write out stories and genealogies. Making your own family history album is inexpensive, but it’s a lot of work compared to hiring a professional to do it for you. It is a trade-off of what is valued most. The same goes for video.
The price comes down to the quality of the finished product that you want. Most consumer cameras have the ability to record video at some level. If someone chooses to lay out their story and film themselves or a family member, that certainly is cheap! But you also accept the quality of a hobbyist. On the other side of the spectrum, there are professionals who interview, use high quality lights and sound, and edit the content into a story at all sorts of levels. Decide what your priorities are. Production quality? Full information? Shorter viewing length? Animated photographs to illustrate the audio? Background music? Pick the result you will be happy with and go from there.
3. You don’t have to be a movie star.
Nor does anyone expect you to be! Many people fear being in front of a camera. They don’t want to be caught looking less than their best. Nervousness makes them silent or too talkative. If you are the one sitting in front of a camera, remember: a family legacy is for family. These are people who love you and probably have already seen you at your worst. It’s also for people who want to see and know you better. It is not likely to be airing on TV for national viewing. You are not telling your story to an inanimate camera, but to a person who wants to hear your story. Let your personality come out. We’re all friends and family here!
Worries and busy lives will always come at us. Future generations learn and grow from the stories of failures and accomplishments that each family history carries. Really, we don’t have many excuses–only reasons to pass on our legacies.