Family holiday gatherings are looming. You want this year to be meaningful, or maybe you’re looking for a special gift, or perhaps simply trying to think of a clever way to keep everyone engaged and entertained. Creating a family legacy could be your answer!
Legacy stories are records of your family; your heritage, favorite memories, struggles and successes, family values or more. Doing the storytelling can be cathartic and bring old memories to life again. Once recorded, the history, traditions, and values are safely passed on to younger generations.
Why a Family Legacy is Perfect this Holiday Gathering
First, recording your family legacy is a meaningful and entertaining past-time. Whether your family usually sits around regaling the old days or not, storytelling with purpose in mind creates the opportunity. The structure of interviews can provide guidance where needed. Recording one-on-one or as couples provides individual attention and the opportunity to go where the interviewee feels is important. Yet, recording small groups of relatives can also be entertaining as memories are jogged, and comments and stories bounce around.
When it comes to gift giving, the finished product is a personal video that every family member can hold onto. While one or a few may pay for filming/editing services or by doing it themselves, ultimately, everyone who participates gives into the story, and everyone receives. A family legacy can be valuable to all since each person is a part of the grand story in some way!
Does a Family legacy have to include everyone? Absolutely not. Another great way to tell a family story is to gather it from the perspective of the patriarch/matriarch of the family. Or perhaps surprise them by having the children and grandchildren share their memories and what they learned. There are many ways to tell your family story, preserving it for the future and honoring the past.
Three Ways to Do It!
Actually creating a family legacy can be as simple or encompassing as you want. For illustration purposes, I will reference some of our products. Let’s start small.
Have a game plan. Use a good quality video-camera or cell phone. Place the camera on a tripod or stationary surface about head level of the people talking. Use a microphone, or if using the built-in camera mic is necessary, make sure the area is quiet and the interviewee speaks loud enough. Next, Find a well-lit room that is set apart from the commotion of the rest of the party. Some things to look for in an interview spot: seating for both the interviewer and the interviewee(s), an attractive background, and make sure the people on camera are not back lit by bright lights or windows. If you want to edit the recorded video to remove pauses, mistakes, or down to a watchable length, free or cheap apps for phones or computers can handle minor edits. Burn the final video to a DVD, upload it to your private YouTube, or share the file any other way you like.
Most people want something simple, concise, and highlighting the most important aspects of their family story. When you hire a company like us to create the video, we take care of the heavy lifting which results in a professional quality video. Our film team comes to you and takes care of the lighting, sound, and questions so that family members can be as comfortable as possible. Interviews are more like conversations. Depending on the quality you want for your end result, editing, music, and titles make watching your story more enjoyable. Photos from your family archive are strongly recommended for they bring your history to life!
Legacy Interview examples: https://tellmystory.us/legacy-interviews/
Family Legacy with Tribute to Grandparents: https://vimeo.com/237134906/b45a850919
Some families have a story that cannot be told to its fullness with the straightforward process of a Legacy Interview. They may need or want elements like archival footage, a soundtrack, multiple interviews and locations or more. These components turn an interview into a documentary. When your story is that big, capturing it in a Personal Documentary is definitely worthwhile!
Personal Documentary examples: https://tellmystory.us/personal-documentaries/
Big or small, each family has a history and a future—a story worth telling. As you prepare for annual reunions, seeing extended relatives, or cozy gatherings, consider that value of your collective story. Appreciate the heritage that led to where you are today, strengthen the values that build for tomorrow, and connect with the people who, through blood or heart, live your family legacy with you.