Welcome to the July issue!
What are the two most important ingredients of a video biography? I’ll share my opinion this month. Have a great July 4, and don’t forget to use your upcoming summer reunions and family visits to preserve, celebrate and share the reminiscences of your favorite family storytellers!
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Your life – in thirty seconds?
It’s interesting what some folks think passes for a video biography these days.
A couple of weeks ago, a Google Alert, keyed to the term “video biography,” arrived in my e-mail in-box. The message contained a link to an item entitled, “Twitter ties up with Vizify to turn your timeline into a video.” Under the title was the line, “Twitter has teamed up with Vizify to release a tool that turns your profile on the micro-blogging website into a video biography.” Intrigued at what Twitter could have to do with video biographies, I clicked on the link.
What I found was an app that basically, as the article states, “…skims through your best tweets, most popular images and Vines, and come up with a snappy 30-second long video that you can use as a trailer for your Twitter profile. While this video picks up the most popular stuff from your profile, you can add your favourite images and tweets to it too.”
Now, if you’re a Twitterphile, having a thirty-second video that highlights your favorite tweets might float your boat. But calling the clip a video biography doesn’t make it so. Heck, I don’t think you can even do a decent trailer for a video biography in thirty seconds. So what makes a video biography a video biography? In my opinion, two elements are vital. First, you need a on-camera interview or interviews. Second, you need time.
On-camera interviews, featuring storytellers relating their own life stories, provide the foundation for every video biography Family Legacy Video® creates. The reason is obvious: You can’t preserve, celebrate and share life stories on video without the stories. And the folks most qualified to share those tales are the ones who lived them. A quick compilation of tweets is no substitute for a first-person narrative.
Then there’s the other ingredient: Time. You just can’t rush a good story or storyteller, nor should you. There’s a reason the pace of a successful video biography is a bit deliberate. A storyteller needs enough time to tell his or her stories, and listeners need time to process the information. A thirty-second tweet-fest isn’t going to achieve this.
To be sure, there are other tools a video biographer can use to enhance a story, like creative editing and sequencing of interviews, and the addition of visuals, music and sound effects. But the prime ingredients are a good interview and enough time to do it and the storyteller justice. In my opinion, Twitter and Vizify will never give you that.