The Video Biography Process

So how do we create your personal history videos? The process of arriving at your finished video is a very satisfying, enjoyable, and meaningful experience for all involved. Outlined below are the major steps to be taken on this journey into your past. Please refer to the Pricing page to see how the choice of package and level impacts these steps.

The Initial Consultation

First, we get together for a free, no obligation consultation. This relatively brief meeting will explain the steps involved in the process of creating your family history video, as well as the costs and the various packages offered, and it will provide enough information for you and/or your family to decide if you’d like to go forward with a personal video memoir. We then set up a pre-interview visit. If both parties have the time to spend during the initial consultation, the pre-interview visit, about an hour, can take place right then and there. If not, we’ll schedule the pre-interview visit for a more convenient time.

"In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we came from." – Alex Haley, author

The Pre-Interview Visit

On this visit, we’ll discuss the details of what needs to be accomplished prior to the big day… the interview day! This is an important part of the process because we need to be prepared for what questions will be asked, where the interview will take place, who will conduct the interview, etc. Basically, Chris will pass out handouts and assign homework. He's still a teacher at heart!.  (See our About Us page.)

  • Who Will Conduct the Interview? Should a family member or friend conduct the interview, Chris will provide some resources that will help the interviewer to be better prepared as well as soothe any concerns one might have about taking on this very important role. If you don't have a family member or friend who is comfortable in the role of interviewer, no worries. For a small additional fee, a skilled interviewer will be provided.  Please see our Products & Pricing page for more information.
  • What Questions Will Be Asked? Chris will provide several pages of questions and topics that can be used as a script, of sorts, or as a guide throughout the interview. A careful review of the questions beforehand by the interviewees and the interviewer not only results in a smoother interview, it also provides something that, for many, is one of the most rewarding aspects of the entire process. It invites people to think back to a period in their lives that perhaps they haven't thought about in a very long time. Couples who go through this review together frequently report that it was a surprisingly poignant experience. Chris will provide several biographical information forms to help jog the memory. You may also want to write down some key points you want to be sure to include in the interview.
  • Photos/Memorabilia:  Chris will then give another homework assignment - find photographs that may help illuminate any of the people or topics discussed. Other memorabilia such as medals, awards and other kinds of keepsakes should be considered for inclusion as well.
  • The Video Equipment and the Locale: We'll then talk about the kind of video equipment Chris will use and we’ll discuss the best location for the interview. The most comfortable place is usually the home of either the interviewees or the interviewer.
  • Supplemental Footage: Next, we'll discuss some possible "cut-aways"… brief shots of the interviewees walking, perhaps outside the home or in some other favorite location, or engaged in one of their hobbies or activities. (Note: this footage is included in the basic package.) These cut-aways are superimposed over audio, like the photos, for the purpose of showing people briefly, in full form, being active, to supplement the "head shot" frame that constitutes most of the interview.
  • When Will the Interview Take Place? We'll then plan a date and time for the interview, keeping in mind that it could possibly take two (2) visits to capture the entire interview. Being interviewed for a video memoir can be a tiring experience, particularly for the elderly. Regardless of age, we always want to get our interviewees at their best. If a second day is necessary, we're happy to accommodate you.
  • Terms: Finally, we'll discuss payment and terms. The payment will be determined by the video memoir level chosen and whether you have included some "add-ons." (See our Products & Pricing page for more information.) Basically, our terms are as follows:
    • 25% deposit after pre-interview visit
    • 25% on completion of the interview
    • 25% on completion of review draft
    • 25% on delivery of finished product

Interview Day

It's Showtime! But relax. This is the fun part... it's such a wonderful experience. How many people have the opportunity to tell their stories? Consider yourselves lucky – and smart! – because you're no longer procrastinating on this important project. The interview day is the day that you or loved ones get to record your rich history knowing that present and future generations will be thrilled to view this video memoir and know where they came from and what they're made of. Now is the time to tell these stories... happy times, hard knocks and all. And the end result - the video memoir gleaned from the interview day - will touch your heart and make you glad you did.

Chris will arrive at the appointed hour and start setting up equipment: camera, tripod, lavalier microphones, and possibly some extra lighting. (The cut-away videos mentioned earlier can be done before or after the interview, or at another time.) We'll go over any last-minute questions or concerns, get everyone comfortable and begin recording. After an introduction, if a couple is involved, each will be interviewed separately and then together. When those interviews are completed, we'll focus on the special collection of photos and the stories behind them. We'll take breaks occasionally, get refreshed, and proceed until we're either done or until we decide that we’re done for the day. If needed, Chris will be happy to come back at another time to complete the interview process. We’ll schedule another day for a return visit to the same place as the locale for the first interview. In the interest of continuity, the interviewee (or interviewees) should wear the same attire.

Editing/Post Production

Chris will then take the video interview and any support materials like photos, etc., and transform everything into the final personal memoir that will be cherished for generations to come. Clients will be given the opportunity to review the video and determine that it meets or exceeds their expectations. Final delivery of the video memoir on DVD in its customized package will mark the end of the creation process and the beginning of many years of peace of mind knowing that your important family legacy has been preserved "for the ages."