When people hear about legacy videos, we too often hear things like, “That’s great, but I don’t like being in front of a camera” or “I wouldn’t know what to say.” Some people feel nervous or shy, others don’t think they have anything worthwhile to share. We get it. We too prefer being behind the camera than in front of it. But if you’ve thought that video just isn’t for you, you’re right. Your video – your story – isn’t for you.
A legacy video is about your story, but your fulfilment isn’t the main reason you record it. Your family, children, and future generations are the reason why you get in front of a camera and share your story. They are the ones who will wish they’d asked you more about where your ancestors came from. They are the ones who will wonder what you were like and why you valued what you did. They are the ones who will struggle to recall the memories you think will never fade. Your video isn’t for you, it’s for others.
Excuses to following through with recording your story might seem justifiable, but when they are considered from an “others first” mentality their strength fades. Let’s consider several common arguments people often use to avoid the discomfort of what they think they’ll feel.
“I don’t have a story.”
Some people have exciting histories and stories that sound like a movie. Other people lead quieter lives and can fall into the trap of thinking they have no story worth sharing at all. However, friends and family members would most likely disagree. Talking with people who know you can help clarify the key moments and values that make your story. The interviewer also helps guide the process by asking questions to help reveal your unique and valuable story.
“I’m not good on camera.”
Similarly, many people feel they would be too uncomfortable or that they don’t have the gift of good storytelling. Even though these may be true, they don’t have to cut you off from telling your story. Interviews done in a relaxed, conversational style help you engage as you normally would with a friend. This is for your loved ones-there is no need to perform. If you happen to be someone who greatly struggles sharing your thoughts and feelings, encouragement from friends and family who love and enjoy your story can really help!
“There’s no way I’d cover everything the way I’d want to.”
Sometimes the task or a person’s vision can seem so large and daunting that it keeps one from trying. For that I offer three statements of advice: Make it a priority, let go of perfectionism, and just get started. Take the steps to gather the information and photos you want to include, yet don’t feel as though you have to include everything. Your legacy video will give an essence of your story. If you have more that you want to record or pass on later, you can certainly do it. The point is to make sure there is something tangible for your loved ones, and to be honest they’ll probably be happier with a 2 hour video than a 5 hour one!
“I don’t have the resources now. I can do that later.”
Finally, don’t deceive yourself into putting it off—it can easily become too late. If finances or time are tight, go with simplicity. Older people obviously run at a higher risk of passing away or losing their capability to recall the information they would want to pass on. Many also believe that legacy videos are only for old people who have lived a “full life.” Yet younger people have plenty of things to share. Values and vision can be shared for children to grow into, milestones can be celebrated, and dozens of other worthwhile ideas can be captured. If there is something you want to say, it is best to do it today!
It is easy to become focused on oneself and the obstacles to recording a family legacy, but widening one’s perspective to the viewers brings clarity. The right technology, support, and mindset, ease discomfort and enable everyday people to become excellent storytellers. But again, it’s not for you, it’s for ones around you.
Learn more about our different packages to tell your story on our Legacy Interviews page or contact us for more information.