Family Stories, History & Heritage Preserved Forever
What began as “20 Questions with My Dad” has transformed into a project of helping adults interview their aging parents to capture the memories and stories that are the family legacy, before it’s too late and those voices are lost forever.
So often we hear “I just wish I could hear their voice again” when someone has passed, this gives you that, and more.
Life Stories, Family History, Preserved Forever
I had the opportunity to interview my Dad before he died; we talked about his life, his loves, his lessons, family stories, our history and heritage and I captured it all on video. The time we spent together was precious, the stories fascinating and the resulting group of videos are now family treasures and part of his legacy and ours.
If I had not done the interviews, asked those questions, those stories and memories would have been lost forever. I captured he wit and wisdom from my Father and listened as he shared life advice he learned from his parents and grandparents with his children and grandchildren. This is the “generational wealth” that really makes a difference in childrens lives; knowing their heritage, knowing the legends of their family, becoming more rooted in who they are because of where they came from.
Doing this project with friends and clients is so fun amd meaningful because there are so many questions to ask and stories to tell – and the clock is ticking; if we don’t capture the stories of our parents, how will our children and their children know them?
Video Life Stories; Loving Legacies
The process of capturing life stories creates a gift of family history for all and a warm experience for interviewer and interviewee. We start with a list of questions tailored to your family and the guest who is telling their stories. The interview recordings are usually done in the comfort of their home with the questions asked by the kids or me.
The guests tell stories for their families – and themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions about Family Stories & Legacy Videos:
What sort of questions are asked?
We begin with a list of questions I’ve developed with people over the years and then customize it to fit your guest, your family and their stories.
Who conducts the interviews?
In many cases the children of the guest do the interview because this is an experience in and of itself, they appear either on camera or off.
In other cases I’ll conduct the interviews (off camera) asking questions in a way that they’re answered fully, so I can edit myself out. This can be done with or without others being present.
Where does the filming take place?
When possible and preferable, I interview and film at the guest’s home, if that’s where they are most comfortable. Sometimes we film outdoors in their backyard or mine (for those in Marin County and the San Francisco Bay Area). We’ve also used a more formal studio and done several interviews via video conference call when that’s the best available option.
How long is the filming session?
Sessions generally run 90 minutes to 3 hours. We take breaks as needed and maintain a relaxed pace. The session length goes hand in hand with the number of questions you’d liked asked. Each project is custom designed, so time varies.
What if my folks aren't so comfortable on camera?
I seldom have a client who is jumping up and down with excitement about “doing videos” – at first. It’s natural to feel awkward with something new or different. Luckily, I’m pretty darn good when it comes to helping people become comfortable with the camera and process. With a little coaching, they come across in a very natural way.
I tell my nervous new clients; “I promise this won’t hurt, you won’t cry, you’ll be happy with the results, you’ll have a few laughs along the way … and you might even discover it’s fun”.
How are the videos delivered?
I film the interviews using professional Nikon video cameras and lenses, record beautiful sound with Sennheiser microphones and deliver a set of pro quality videos. Depending on your project and preferences, the videos are organized into conversations and Q&A in watchable ~20 minute chunks, or a set of shorter videos, each focused on a topic or single question.
Video files are delivered on a hard drive(s), in formats ready for posting online and I can host them for you on a password protected page for easy viewing/sharing. In short; you’ll get what you want and what you need.
How long does the entire process take?
Generally, from our initial conversation through sorting questions, scheduling the filming session and doing the processing and editing, it’s a few weeks.
If there’s a special event and some urgency, we can make nearly anything happen. In one case, a daughter wanted to do the interview with her parents in time to be shown at their 50th anniversary party – four days hence. We made it happen and then I went to the party to film family and friends reminiscences about the couple – a lovely companion video.
Anything is possible 🙂
How much does it cost?
Each project is custom created for the individual client. Pricing is based on preparation, time spent filming, hours of editing – all of which varies. Most of our Family Video projects run between $1,500 and $3,500 complete. Interviews done via web conference call are less, full day or multi-installment videos tend to be a bit more. We determine that together; matching what you’d like to accomplish with your budget.
I love this work, love the storytelling process, love the results – and understand the immense value of the family history video stories and, because of that, tend to price towards the lower end.
Again, anything is possible.
How Do We Get Started?
It’s simple: let’s chat! Drop me an email to set up a time, or just give me a call on the cell, I’ll answer if I can or call you back within a day.
MikeWolpert@gmail.com / cell: 407.405.3500
This is similar to writing a memoir, but without all the writing. Many people feel overwhelmed when they think about writing a book, but nearly everyone is comfortable sitting around answering questions and telling stories – about the things they love.
Each Life Stories project is custom created to best serve the guest and the family. Questions are perpared in advance, interviews are fun and realxed and every experience is loving and powerful in different ways. Having done this project with my own family, I know the immense value in both the process and the end result; a treasure trove of videos. I’m able to share that experience and the joy it’s given me, allowing the guest to focus on themselves and their family, knowing they are in safe hands.
Not every family can be physically together for the filming, so I’ve also done this via high quality video conference with lovely results and for a family where the guest really preferred audio only as she was in hospice at the time.
Sometimes the kids want to do this as an honor and gift to their parents or from their parents to the next generation, sometimes the parents want to do this as a gift, sometimes a surprise, for their families.
Every legacy video project is created for and with the family and guest because they are your stories, about your life.
There’s no time like right now to get started, Let’s talk!
Mike Wolpert / Marin County, California. Mobile: 407.405.3500
(email) Mike @ Social Jumpstart .com