3 Keys to Protect Your Family Legacy

By | DIY, For Personal Storytelling, Informative, Other | No Comments

Looming sickness and quarantine prompts many of us to fear for vulnerable loved ones or wonder what they are supposed to do while stuck at home. Are there ways to combine entertainment with productive activities? In the midst of social distancing, can we connect with our older and susceptible loved ones? How can we protect our families not just from illness, but from losing touch with the fore-bearers of our heritage we too often take for granted. I’d submit that there are ways of doing so and will outline some ideas below.

What You Should Have Been Doing All Along

There is nothing like the onset of a pandemic virus to give us the wake-up call that there is more we should be doing. That call comes whether you’re doing pretty well at recording your personal/family history, or have thus far avoided the pile of old photos and that “tell me about our family” conversation with your aging relatives. If we wait too long to protect those memories and have those meaningful conversations, we run the risk of losing them forever.

Let me give you our family’s example. Years ago, we videotaped interviews with the patriarchs/matriarchs from both sides of the family to capture their memories of the family heritage and elements of their own story. Our printed photographs are arranged in albums for events and different childhoods or boxed according to years. Other relatives put together binders of genealogy information. We’d done pretty well caring for our family’s unique story, but recent events triggered the question, “Is there anything else we should be doing?”

Archive of Family Photos, Written Genealogy Info, and Video Interviews

Then the other night, I suddenly remembered a box of slides hidden away in storage. I know they are of my grandparents and their family when the kids were mostly still at home, but I have never seen them. What a perfect time to not only go through them, but make them available to my elderly grandparents and the rest of the relatives who would love to re-live the memories. For us younger ones, it is a chance to see something of our parents’ lives that we’ve never known before. The slides present an opportunity to bless those loved-ones that we value, but don’t and can’t always take the time to honor with our attention.

What can you do? Think about areas that you’ve been waiting to tackle or simply forgotten about. Here are some to consider:

Have a Plan of Action

  • Organize your collection into categories
  • Determine which ones you will put your efforts toward
  • Avoid being overwhelmed by starting with broad categories instead of individual items
  • Decide how deeply you want to go, ie. organize in rough topics or labeling each item

Spring Cleaning the Archives

Organize &/or Clean Out

  • Photos: slides, prints, digital, etc.
  • Home videos or other recordings
  • Keepsakes
  • Papers: letters, cards, documents, files, etc.
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Take Preventative Measures

  • Transfer home videos to viewable format (VHS to DVD or digital format)
  • Scan documents, photos, or other items you wish to keep or share
  • Write down timelines, genealogies, special memories, etc.
  • Record an interview with aged family members (video chat if under quarantine)

Protect Your Familial Connection

We often don’t realize our blessings until they are threatened. While we all gain a better appreciation for the value of good heath, toilet paper, enjoying entertainment with crowds of like-minded enthusiasts, or travelling across the globe, let us not forget the people part of our own story. Whether you do any of these things to show interest and appreciation in an elder’s story, to preserve your own memories, or to curate a family narrative for future generations, the effort you make will reap a reward of satisfaction, peace of mind, and personal connection.

Take advantage of this enforced time apart to take care of these activities that we so often push aside to “someday.” Now is the time!

Follow steps to record your own video within our blog: https://tellmystory.us/2019/11/25/the-gift-of-a-family-legacy/

For interview question ideas: https://www.familytreemagazine.com/premium/20-questions/

2019 in Review

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Days morph into weeks, weeks into months, and soon we’re looking at 2019 in the rearview mirror. Before we slip through January 2020, let’s take a moment to review and appreciate the opportunities, growth, and client/friendships of last year.

Fruit from the Quiet Time

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With the move to Florida in 2018, VLP had the opportunity to have quieter seasons in 2019. We were able to spend a good amount of time on projects that had great purpose, but were typically pushed to the back burner because paying clients get first priority. Foremost of projects in this category was the documentary about Carl Lutz, a Swiss diplomat who saved tens of thousands of lives during the Holocaust. After nearly two decades since the dream began of telling this story, it is done! We’ll share more information once it is available on the marketplace and able to be viewed by the public.

Stability of Good Connections

Approximately every six weeks Bryan travelled back to Denver for a very busy week filming projects for some of our Colorado-based clients. Getting to work with these long-time connections and great clients was a blessing. Projects included Brand Essence videos and promotional content for small businesses, training material, event videos and featured stories, as well as visual renderings for poetry and vlogs. We love getting to be a part of telling our clients’ unique stories!

Testimonial for Brand Essence Video
Animated Images & Graphics for Visual Poem
Interview for Company Culture Video

Reestablished in Florida

As the Lutz documentary wrapped up, Bryan started networking more with the local business community. A couple projects in the area have included a visual tour for the International Palms Resort in Cocoa Beach and helping film content for the MVP Sportsplex in Orlando. Bryan has also been able to start acquiring beautiful aerials of the Florida coastline with his drone. While we sometimes miss those Colorado sunsets, there’s something magical about views like this for a morning walk!

Visual Tour for International Palms Resort, Cocoa Beach, FL
Race Promo for MVP/RDV Sportsplex, Orlando, FL
Drone Photo of Sunrise in Titusville, FL

We’re excited to see what new connections and opportunities will surface in Florida, and yet so grateful that we’re able to continue working with our friends in Colorado. Wrapping up projects always leaves us with a satisfied feeling. The anticipation of new projects, new ideas and challenges, and the stories ahead brings excitement. As 2020 continues, we hope our paths connect with yours and that we’re able to partner with you to better tell your business or personal stories. 

If you would like to see video examples or get more info on any of the projects mentioned above, you can check out our website, website tellmystory.us, YouTube, Facebook, or ask us to send you a specific link.

5 Steps (& Warnings) to Make Your Slideshow Top Notch

By | DIY, For Businesses, For Personal Storytelling, Informative, Other | No Comments

With all the easy-to-use slideshow programs out there, many people are able to create photo and video montages who weren’t able to before. You’d think that with these movie-making magic programs available to the average Joe, anything you create will look like a big budget film. However, there is still a huge difference between a montage that looks like it was made by an amateur versus a professional. How can you make sure your presentation gives the quality impression that you want? If you’re willing to put in the effort instead of having a professional create your next slideshow-style presentation, you’ll want to pay heed to these five steps.

Audience Awareness (Length and Content)

Before you put together any type of video or presentation, you’ll want to determine who you are telling your story to. This will affect what type of content you use and the overall length of the montage. Family and friends are willing to watch longer and lesser-dynamic content. Grandpa and Grandma may love to watch your baby’s every little development, but your Facebook friends would appreciate only a highlight reel of their first year. Your office party may enjoy the collage that includes a photo of a manager asleep at his desk, but you want the video you share with your clients to show you on your A-game.

Image Quality (and Sound)

One of the biggest differences between a montage that looks professional instead of amateur is the quality of the images and sound. Thankfully, most cameras on phones today record with excellent quality. Yet the operator still needs to be careful about lighting, framing, and focus. Use the best equipment possible and shoot with thoughtfulness. Pay attention to distracting details in the background and extra noise on videos. Make sure to use large image sizes so that the show isn’t ruined by pixelated photographs once the montage is shown on large screens.

Comparison of photo image quality

Easy on the Eyes (Timing and Camera Movement)

If you have a ton of great images and limited time to show them, what do you do? Speed up the video? No. The best way to trim time is to cut out the images that aren’t as strong in telling your story. Use only the best and clearest in communicating your point. Sometimes speeding up a segment does add to the story, but use fast motion thoughtfully. Jumping to the next picture on beat with the music can add to the strength of the presentation, but sometimes an image is too powerful to cut away from so soon. Also, be careful with camera movement. Instead of feeling edgy and like the viewer is right there, it can often be dizzying and leave you wishing you could readjust poor camera framing to let you actually see what’s happening.

Accessorize (Transitions and Graphics)

All too often someone shows a slide show of the great work their ministry, non-profit, or outreach is doing, but one can hardly watch to join in celebrating the good news—all because someone thought fancy motion would look cool and be exciting. Just like camera movement can give you a headache, so can crazy transitions. Too many busy transitions too quickly can distract the viewer from actually seeing the important content. Graphics and titles should be there to enhance the story. If the photos or videos are busy and cut quickly, keep the captions simple so that the viewer can both see the images and read the information.

The Sound of Music (and Audio)

Finally, make sure your sound enhances the images and message. If it’s just a photo montage, you can leave the music at a comfortable volume the whole time, but if a video includes important sound and dialogue, make sure to lower the background music to sufficient levels. Choose a music style that your intended audience won’t be irritated by or matches your brand essence. Remember to include artist attribution if using music that requires it. The right songs can turn a slideshow into an emotional experience, driving your message home.

As you go through putting your next slideshow together, make sure to go through each of the five steps. Check to make sure all the images tell your best story and that the length doesn’t wear out your viewers. Use the best possible images, that communicate quality and the beauty of your story. When zooming and cutting to different clips, make sure the viewer is encouraged to actually see what they are supposed to. Add transitions and captions that enrich the story and pace well. Finally, make sure any audio is audible and the music enhances the emotion you are trying to evoke. With these thoughtful steps taken, your presentation won’t look like a novice attempt, but will be able to communicate clearly.

Need ideas, direction, or a professional to take over your slideshow story? Check out our Photo/Video Montage segment or contact us with your questions.

Video Isn’t for You

By | For Personal Storytelling, Informative, Other | No Comments

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.

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“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.

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“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!

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“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!

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 “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.

Movies and the Men Behind Them

By | Documentary Review, Informative, Other | No Comments

Storytelling is a powerful tool. The stories we tell affect how we believe and act. We see this when writers release books that captivate audiences, leaders cast vision to rally crowds for a common goal, and when educators teach lessons that reach our hearts in addition to our minds. Moviemakers are also some of the great storytellers of our time. Their work not only entertains but also adjusts our mindsets, dares us to dream, pushes our boundaries, and opens our minds and hearts. Good or bad, that’s how storytelling works. These four documentaries tell the stories of men in the movie-making (or television) business; their goals, struggles, and successes.

Five Came Back

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When I saw this documentary on Netflix, I was curious because it’s about filmmakers and it’s a historical documentary—two things I find interesting. I was unaware of how truly excellent it would be. When current directors like Spielberg, Greengrass, and Coppola were introduced to the screen to walk the viewer through the journey of the film’s five directors, I had my first inkling this was going to be excellent.

Five Came Back tells the journey of five successful Hollywood directors who chose to leave business as usual and use their abilities as filmmakers to aid in the WWII war effort. Clips from the directors’ movies and their war footage are plentiful. Rather than show a sequence of their actions and films, the modern filmmakers expose the inner journeys and how it impacted their lives. The five directors wrestled with how to use cinema in the war and resulted in reenactments, propaganda, training, and documenting in unanticipated ways. Through it all, these men worked their storytelling genius to capture both the beauty of humanity and the terrible gruesomeness of the war they saw around them.

I’d originally intended on watching the mini-series one episode at a time, but once started I wanted to know how their stories would unfold. There went the whole afternoon. Five Came Back is excellent for its ability to tell history in a deeper and honest way. These men weren’t perfect. Neither was the world around them. But just as they saw, one of the great reasons we record history is so that we can work to stop perpetuating the bad and focus instead on building a better future.

See more in the trailer for Five Came Back.

Walt: The Man Behind the Myth

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Although most of us know of Walt Disney because of growing up with his movies, this film explores who he was. Narrated by Dick van Dyke, the storyline is brought to life with archived footage or photos and interviews with employees, family, and even Walt himself. Following Walt through his career, one sees his ingenuity, persistence, and high standards. He was a future-thinking man, pushing the boundaries of possibility. This in-depth look into Walt reveals just how much he impacted storytelling, animation, movie-making, and later, family entertainment through his parks.

One of my favorite quotes from Walt, is “We shouldn’t just be thinking of this as a cartoon. We have worlds to conquer here.” Cartoons were but a fraction of the ground he wanted to conquer. The fear of failure didn’t stop him, but he also scrutinized plans and drafts to make them as best as they could be. He was an exacting boss, yet managed to inspire teams of artists, writers, and others to accomplish dreams no one else had attempted. He pushed the limits of technology with color, sound, animation, and even retelling stories with live action.

While Walt Disney obviously achieved success, he also faced his share of setbacks. Rejection, health, money problems, wars, betrayal, and fires threatened to destroy his vision. Time moved Walt from creative and ambitious to legacy-driven. His dedication speech at Disney Land concluded, “with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.” He spoke of the park that day, but it’s true of his other work as well. This documentary shows us once again how creative visionaries with the tenacity to keep moving forward can impact so many facets of our lives.

See more in the trailer for Walt: The Man Behind the Myth

The Kid Stays in the Picture

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There is a cool effect that some documentaries use to make old photos look 3-dimensional. It’s called The Kid Stays in the Picture effect because of its heavy use in its namesake film. I wondered what this documentary was about and discovered it didn’t tell the story of a child, but a man named Robert Evans. Created with the classic Hollywood feel, this autobiography follows the career and life of Evans from businessman, to actor, to producer and vice president of Paramount Pictures. Evans himself narrates the film and it’s almost entirely covered with vintage film, clips from his movies, and many photos which received the 3D treatment.

His storytelling mixed with animated visuals keeps the story engaging. Evans was full of drive, but also business acumen, an eye for art, and the down-and-dirty lifestyle by which so many in Hollywood win and lose. One sees that he reached both the pinnacle of success and the dregs of despair. While you learn his personal story, it is interwoven with the growth of Paramount and the changes in movies over the decades covered. At a critical point at the end of the 1960’s, Evans explained his goal for Paramount by saying, “We at Paramount don’t look at ourselves as passive backers of film. We look at ourselves as a creative force unto our self. And that is why Paramount is going to be paramount to the industry in the 70’s.” They did just that with blockbuster films like Rosemary’s Baby, Love Story, and The Godfather, which pushed the edges of what was typically considered a successful script.

Robert Evans had a powerful hand in producing films for the late 20th century and continues to create films today. Unlike some of the other moviemakers highlighted in this blog, Evans’ film is gritty and reveals the darker sides of his story. I was surprised to come across a documentary that was rated R, but it was for good reason. The F-word lightly peppered some of the dialogue and nudity was shown during a movie clip and photo. The adult content limits the viewership of The Kid Stays in the Picture, but shows a genuine demonstration of the world Evans lived in and created.

See more in the trailer for The Kid Stays in the Picture.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

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While Fred Rogers didn’t make movies, he impacted generations through television. Mr. Rogers’ strongest focus was on children and it became his mission to use mass media to help children through the difficult transitions of life. This documentary is not just sentimental to adults who grew up watching his show, but an inspiring revelation of Mr. Rogers’ authenticity, values, and endurance.

Interviews with an array of his friends, family, and co-workers gives the viewer insight into Mr. Rogers as he truly was. The film also relies heavily on archived interviews with Mr. Rogers and clips from his shows. The production is simple and straightforward, just how Fred liked to make his shows. For being gentle, quiet, and simplistic, the concepts tackled on “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” were often difficult or divisive topics. He wanted to equip children with the understanding and control needed to deal with deep emotions, learning and mistakes, fear, racism, self-value, war, love of self and others, and even death.

 With his background in childhood development, television production, and foundational faith, Mr. Rogers didn’t preach, but communicated straight into his viewers’ hearts. He believed, “television has the opportunity to build neighborhoods out of our entire country.”

We continue to live in a time struggling with hate vs. love, tolerance vs. belief; our entertainment and media perpetuates violence and destruction. Mr. Rogers was a rare example of a man who held firm his beliefs and yet truly extended his arms wide in acceptance. His closing phrase, “I like you just the way you are” wasn’t shallow justification or entitlement, but an impartation of each person’s intrinsic value. He chose to use television to tell stories that would help his viewers navigate through the darkness of our world. “Try your best to make goodness attractive,” he once said. “That’s one of the toughest assignments you’ll ever be given.” Tough, yes. And worth it.

See more in the trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbor.

Each of the men from the four documentaries believed the stories they made into movies were worthwhile. Ambition and creativity helped build their success even though each faced personal struggles and doubts. Not only can we learn from their work, but these documentaries allow us to learn from their lives.

2018 in Review

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As 2018 closes out, we finish our third year as an active business. It still feels so new, and yet a lot happens in that amount of time! It’s amazing to see how many of our clients have come to us through the grapevine. Not just business to business, but from business to family and generation to generation, as with our friends in the McDermott family. We are so grateful for friends and clients who made new connections possible!

Series of Segments

While personally 2018 was punctuated with transition, projects with our clients were pleasantly rhythmic. It was a joy to regularly partner with several companies and teams this year. We absorbed an educator’s treasure trove of wisdom through several series of teaching videos for Marzano Research. There were so many incredible speakers and professionals to meet while filming for Advance Your Reach workshops. A few companies expanded their skills with acting in more entertaining videos: vehicle comparisons for H.M Brown Showdowns and internal training videos for Land Title styled after “The Office.”

Variety of Videos

Local, small businesses have unique needs and audiences for their videos. The variety this year included a physical therapist, mortgage broker, property managers, soccer development academy, realtors, and speakers. One highlight was partnering with several Douglas County organizations to help teens struggling with self-harm and suicidal thoughts. By showing what happens when you reach out for help, the video works to eliminate the fear of the unknown as a barrier.

Working with Others

Bryan can do most shoots himself, but some projects need multiple camera operators. Several local videographer friends of Bryan partnered up for projects throughout the year. Erika was able to fly out a couple times to help. It was nice to get back behind the camera and work with her dad instead of the normal editing routine. Bryan also travelled a bit for work, both in the United States and to Africa. We love living in an age with global networks and video equipment getting more compact for travel!

It is such an honor to be able to come along side businesses and families to help them share their stories in a way that is creative and long-reaching! We are grateful to our clients’ trust in us and the relationships that are built along the way. We hope that 2019 treats each of you well, and that you will feel welcome to reach out to us for any of your family’s or business’ video needs.


If you would like to see video examples or get more info on any of the projects mentioned above, you can check out our website, Youtube, Facebook, or ask us to send you a specific link.

Video for the Win!

By | For Businesses, Informative, Other | No Comments

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It seems as though every time we look up the stats of video for businesses and marketing, it has continued to gain momentum. Early this year, Mark Zuckerburg announced that Facebook and their family of apps were going to continue to focus on promoting video first, as it is a “megatrend.” True to his word, we’ve noticed an uptick in videos shared on the homepage and have discovered the world of Facebook Video. Video is entertaining and informing viewers all across social media, email, and websites.

While videos are great for capturing attention and communicating, they are transitioning into more of a necessity then a bonus. Good use of video can be a winning element of your marketing strategy! We’ve all heard before how they boost SEO and increase time spent on websites, but there are several more ways they help turn casual searchers into loyal customers.


When a business has a good presence on their social media, they cast the flavor of their choice into first impressions. With good social media presence, they appear like experts in their field, personal with their followers, and honest in their craft. Not only that, they set themselves apart as being with the times. According to a report by Animoto, 58% of the survey respondents considered brands that produce video content to be more trustworthy. But businesses don’t have to make the customer take their word for it. Reviews and testimonials speak even more loudly. These 2018 stats were pulled together revealing “23% online shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations, and 84% of online shoppers in the USA review at least one social media site before making a purchase.”

Ease of Information

Have you ever found yourself searching on a website which struggled to load the content, or considered purchasing an item only to find out there were extra steps or hidden costs? How quickly did you say, “forget it,” and seek out a more amiable resource? If you’re like many online searchers or shoppers, not long at all. More and more, consumers want the ability to get all of their information before they commit to buy. And they want to do so without having to talk to humans or wait. This can be seen in that “Nearly 50% of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.” (Google) Some of the more effective types of videos for marketing to consumers’ need for information include tutorial videos and demonstration videos. For example, demonstration videos were helpful to “80% of consumers” looking to make purchases. (Blue Corona) Show them how you can fulfill their need.

Warning to the Wise

As a reminder, a great video starts with great content. Viewers are looking for expert information, personal connection, sharable entertainment, and a great deal. “43% of people want to see more video content from marketers.” (HubSpot) This is the time to show what you have with the world! With that said, you still can’t shove it in people’s faces. Another statistic from HubSpot warns that “82% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of an autoplaying online video ad.” Half of your viewers will skip online video ads. Meanwhile “two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds.” (Insivia) To combat for their attention, give them value for their time. And remember, “85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound” (Digiday), so make it easy for passersby through added subtitles.

The Win

You may have noted several key words pop up periodically: personal, value, informative…. These are the elements of good storytelling. That’s the essence of what good video marketing does. Videos allow marketers to connect with consumers and create an emotion—trust, motivation, and safety to name a few. Instead of clamoring for them to make a purchase, good storytelling inspires. Instead of selling, share, invite. Through your business’ stories, you lay the ground work for happy and loyal customers. A passing consumer easily gains information through tutorials and informational videos. Reviews and testimonials settle questions and doubts. Short video length and subtitles deliver the valuable content customers are looking for. Best of all, once your videos are sent out on social media, emails, and your website, they continue to share your story with every play.

For more information:


Remembrance Days – Are They Worthwhile?

By | Informative, Other | No Comments

September is full of days that beckon us to remember and to appreciate. VJ Day and 9/11 Remembrance Day remind us of victories and loss, sacrifice and heroes. We appreciate the hard work that allows us to celebrate Labor Day and Citizenship Day. We recall our roots on Grandparents Day, Step Family Day, and Native American Day, while also celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. But is it even worth your time to pay special attention to them?

A casual acknowledgement may not have much impact, and can actually end up deflating the deeper concepts. Some educators believe we ought to teach children how to think critically about memorials rather than rote, empty observance.1 If we were to take a little time to dig in, we would gather not only appreciation, but also a clearer world view.

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Allied military personnel in Paris celebrating V-J Day. Photo by Public Domain.

Remember Sacrifice

VJ Day and the rest of the WWI & WWII commemorations are stories quickly fading into the unobserved past. They seem like a world away. Yet a brief study of history or humanity would quickly remind us how easily situations and choices can arise again. Remembrance days shouldn’t solely mourn lost lives and celebrate heroes. If we let them, they could teach us politics and philosophy, or remind us of hope and reconciliation. September 11th reaches closer to the memories of our hearts and minds. For some, it’s a chance to honor the memories of those who perished that day or in the conflicts since. For the children born since then, it is important for them to sympathize with the loss, but also recognize how this event catapulted the world into what we see today.

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Rockefeller Center Construction Site on September 20, 1932

Remember Service

Labor Day pays tribute to the hard work of American workers. We like to take advantage of not only a day of rest and enjoyment, but a long weekend! We enjoy leisure due to the fruits of the labor of many people. Hard work provides for the needs of the laborer and creates purpose and achievement. Workers’ contributions build a better world for each of us. Meanwhile Constitution Day and Citizenship day remind us of our nation’s unique system which strives to give each person a chance to better their lives. Through these rights given at birth or naturalization, a person has the ability to engage in serving our country and enjoying the benefits.

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Immigrants on board a ship arriving in New York. About 1910. (Photo by Franz Hubmann/Imagno/Getty Images)

Remember Your Source

September is also filled with days honoring one’s family and ethnic roots. Grandparents Day and Step Family Day are relatable to many. These days encourage us to recognize and appreciate the values and heritage that were passed along from generations and married-in family. Native American Day and Hispanic Heritage Month are part of the observances that bring up questions of diversity and representation. Some results can end up negative if they do not encourage deeper understanding and growth. Rather than focusing on only a few themes that stereotype or propagate friction, it’s a good idea to bring out a variety of topics. We grow by understanding and appreciating the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. We celebrate our shared values and victories. These stories of our sources can help us continue together with a better future.

It’s easy to let the month fly by without appreciating the value of each observance. The stories behind commemorations teach subsequent generations a community’s history, social and political customs. The stories we tell of events and our heritage give us a better appreciation for the people who went before us. They explain the world we know today. This month, look into the deeper meanings of these holidays yourself to celebrate your foundation and honor the life-changing events of the past!


  1. http://theconversation.com/why-children-need-to-be-taught-to-think-critically-about-remembrance-day-87004
  2. VJ-Day Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/”>Good Free Photos</a>