I had great fun today talking about the benefits of video biographies during my second appearance on “The Morning Blend” TV show on Tucson’s KGUN9. You can watch the clip here.
Blog & Podcasts
Over the years, Family Legacy Video, Inc. has captured the attention of the print, TV and radio media. We’ve also garnered our share of awards! You can read about Family Legacy Video on the “Family Legacy Video in Print” page; listen to company president Steve Pender on the “Family Legacy Video on the Radio” page; and watch Steve’s recent TV appearances on the “Family Legacy Video on TV” page.
You can view the list of Family Legacy Video’s video biography honors on the “Family Legacy Video Awards” page.
The era of coast-to-coast passenger air service in the U.S. dawned on October 25, 1930, when the pilot of a Transcontinental & Western Air Ford Tri-Motor throttled up the plane’s three engines and lifted off from the runway in Newark, New Jersey. During the 36-hour trip, the plane stopped at Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. After overnighting in Kansas City, the plane continued on to Wichita, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Winslow, Arizona and then to its final destination, Los Angeles, California. Talk about layovers!
On the Columbus to Indianapolis leg of that inaugural journey, the passenger list included a forty-three-year-old salesman for the Holcombe & Hoke Manufacturing Company named William Morrissey.
Exactly forty-five years later, on October 25, 1975, TWA (the successor to Transcontinental & Western Air) marked the anniversary of that flight with a celebration at Newark International Airport. On hand for the party were TWA officials, a vintage Ford Tri-Motor, former flight attendants sporting vintage uniforms, and my great-grandfather, William Morrissey, who was then living in Colonia, New Jersey.
My great-grandfather spoke about his experiences flying in the “Tin Goose” to the assembled media, which included the local New York television stations and a reporter from the Star-Ledger newspaper.
I knew about my great-grandfather’s travels during the early days of commercial air flight and always wondered what that experience had been like. So, when I opened my local Tucson paper one morning to see an ad for flights in a restored Ford Tri-Motor, I knew my wife and I would be taking part.
I purchased tickets, and on Valentine’s Day of this year, Halina and I headed for the airport. The flights were conducted as a part of the “Fly the Ford” tour, sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). Against a backdrop of modern passenger jets, we climbed aboard the triple-engine, corrugated metal bird, and buckled ourselves in. One by one, the engines roared to life, sending their noise and vibrations through the cabin. With a practiced hand, the pilot guided the ten-passenger plane to the runway and then into the air for a fifteen-minute cruise over Tucson. It was an absolute thrill, and a chance to connect, in a small way, with what my great-grandfather experienced so many years ago.
If you’d like to see a short video documenting our flight, you’ll find it in the March 2015 e-Newsletter.
Answer: The first one, of course. Unless you take that first step, none of the other steps can follow. But what is that first step – and how do you take it?
Think about a decision you made recently. Maybe you decided to look for a new job, to sell or buy a house, to take a long overdue vacation – whatever the decision, you probably spent some time idly thinking or daydreaming about it. But then came a moment when the time was right and you decided, for whatever reason, to actually DO IT. Like the “big bang” that created our universe, your “big bang” decision set in motion all the steps that ultimately led you to create a particular reality and outcome.
The same process applies to creating video biographies. Have you been kicking around the idea of creating a family or personal history video? If so, that’s great. But idle thought does not a video make. Until you commit yourself and move from daydreaming to actually spearheading your legacy video project, your video will always remain a pipe dream. You need to decide, for whatever reason (a love of family history, the desire to preserve and celebrate yours or a loved one’s life stories), that the time is now and that you are the person for the job.
Once you make that decision, you’ll be amazed at how energized and focused you’ll become. You’ll also find that, according to the old maxim, “When the student is ready the teacher appears.” Once you’re truly ready, resources (like Family Legacy Video® products and services) will start to cross your path. Most likely, your enthusiasm for the project will also inspire other family members to help you.
So that’s the first step. Before you think about how you’d like your video to look, what pictures to include or the kind of music to use – decide to DO IT. Then jump into the project with enthusiasm and energy. You’ll be amazed at the results.
About five years ago I purchased a USB turntable in order to transfer some of my wife’s cherished childhood records to CD. One of those records was an old 78 RPM recording from the early 1900s. The other was a 45 RPM disc from the 1950s. Was I able to transfer the recordings? Well, yes. But they were noisy as heck. Quite honestly, they were unlistenable. And no matter what I tried with the software I had available, I couldn’t clean them up.
Fast forward to this past Christmas. I vowed to try again. But I’m a video guy, so I thought this time I’d search for a company experienced in vinyl to digital audio transfers. The Internet led me to Eric Van der Wyk. Eric is based in San Diego and runs a variety of companies under the King Tet Productions umbrella. Three of those companies focus on transferring audio from old media to audio cds: Record Rescuers, Custom Audio CDs, and ReelToReelToCD.com. His prices were pretty reasonable, so I decided to give him a try.
A week after trusting Halina’s records to the mail, I got them back, along with a CD. With fingers firmly crossed, I popped the disc into my CD player. To my amazement, the songs that emanated from my speakers were crystal-clear and noise-free. At that moment I decided that Erik would be my “go-to guy” for any other jobs like this.
So if you’d like to resurrect your old records, give Record Rescuers a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.
On January 8, 2015, Family Legacy Video’s president, Steve Pender, teamed with author and personal historian Kristin Delaplane for a presentation to the SaddleBrooke Genealogy Club in SaddleBrooke, Arizona, just a bit north of Tucson. Kristin is a recent transplant to Tucson and will release a book, Family History Secrets: The Complete Guide to Capturing Family Stories For Your Heirloom Book, in May of this year. SaddleBrooke Genealogy Club program chair Randy Gibbs found Kristin when searching for someone to address the group about creating print memoirs. Kristin felt the club members would also enjoy learning about options for preserving stories on video. Having discovered Family Legacy Video after moving to Tucson, she invited Steve Pender to share in the fun.
Club members received both speakers enthusiastically, even offering up a spirited round of applause after viewing the sample clips Steve played for them. Afterwards, many attendees remarked about how Steve’s talk opened their eyes to how they could use video to preserve the family stories of their loved ones.
Do you belong to a club, organization or a business in need of inspiring and informational speakers? If so, don’t hesitate to contact Steve Pender. He can craft 20-30 minute presentations for your breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings or even longer talks (and workshops) to fit your needs. And if you’d like a print component, Steve and Kristin are certainly willing to team up again!
I just received this testimonial from my most recent video biography client, who lives in Hawaii:
“Steve, thank you for a wonderful job on my video biography. I was impressed with the professionalism of you and your crew. I especially liked the way you supplemented the photos and other visuals I gave you with archival photos and films that really helped illustrate my personal and business stories. I’ll be proud to share my legacy video with my family and friends – and to recommend Family Legacy Video® to anyone wanting to preserve, celebrate and share his/her life stories. Mahalo!”
A Family Legacy Video client reminded me during a recent phone call about some of the greatest benefits his family storytellers experienced during the process of creating their video biographies. As he put it, Family Legacy Video “Energizes Clients & Elevates Minds.” In other words, the process generates energy and enthusiasm and gives a boost to the “gray cells,” a boost that remains after the video is complete!
“Imagine,” I suggested to the attentive group of seniors in front of me. “Imagine for a moment that video technology existed during your great-grandparents’ times and that one day they sat down and recorded the stories of their lives. Imagine also that you could sit down today and watch those video biographies. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?” The eyes of most of my audience widened as they nodded in assent. “Well,” I continued. “Video technology obviously didn’t exist back then. But it’s here today. And that means you can do something your great-grandparents couldn’t, which is to create a living, breathing, keepsake that preserves and celebrates your life stories, both to enjoy now and to leave as a precious gift for generations of your families yet to come.”
With those words, I was off and running on my latest presentation, as part of a Sunday afternoon program sponsored by the Sunrise Neighborhood Assistance Program of Tucson, Arizona. I explained just what a video biography was, described in a nutshell the process I use to create a legacy video and outlined the benefits of preserving personal stories in a video biography format. Most importantly, I showed several sample clips so attendees could see for themselves just how legacy videos look and sound – and see what the possibilities could be for them.
Helping to inform and inspire folks is part of my mission as president of Family Legacy Video, Inc. I realize that many folks don’t know what a video biography is and that they can pass along their life stories and values this way. I always enjoy introducing potential storytellers to the subject. It’s especially delightful when audience members approach me after a presentation to tell me some of their stories and discuss how they can start planning their legacy video. That tells me that they “get it” in terms of understanding the importance of sharing their experiences and wisdom with present and future members of their families.
I also find that when I detail the myriad benefits video legacy projects, I reinforce to myself the importance of the work I do as a personal historian – a valuable side benefit for me.
So if you have a group of folks who you think might like to learn about preserving, celebrating and sharing their life stories with their own personal video biographies, give me call or shoot me an e-mail. I’m only too happy to talk.
The afternoon Arizona sun shone brilliantly, silhouetting our Navajo guide, Will Cowboy, as he treated us to a traditional Navajo courting song. Sitting in the shade of the “Big Hogan,” a natural ampitheatre in Mystery Valley, we marveled at the power of his voice, which he supported by rhythmically thrumming his hand-held drum.
Mystery Valley is right next to Monument Valley, which features the mesas and buttes made famous in John Ford/John Wayne flicks like “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon.” Halina and I had spent the morning with Will and our small tour group soaking in the awe-inspiring views in Monument Valley. Then, after lunch, Will drove us into what he called his “backyard,” a place accessible only by Navajos or by groups with Navajo guides.
In addition to sharing his musical culture with us, Will took the time during our day together to chat about Navajo traditions and beliefs. During one of those chats, he touched on the subject of family stories. Navajo children, Will told us, start learning family history from their elders at a very early age, and continue hearing these stories until they know them by heart. It then becomes their responsibility to pass along this knowledge to their children and grandchildren.
Now, we’re not talking about tales that cover a generation or two. Navajo family stories can span hundreds and even thousands of years. As Will told us, it’s thanks to his family stories that he knows his people originated in Siberia. Talk about knowing where you came from!
There are many things we can learn from Native Americans, like the Navajos, and one of them is certainly the importance of preserving, sharing and celebrating family stories. This will certainly require a change in the mindset of our “here today, gone tomorrow” culture, where kids are lucky if they even know their grandparents. Being a driver for this change is part of Family Legacy Video’s mission, and with each completed video biography, I feel we’ve helped another generation to know where it came from.