Welcome to the March issue!
We’ve certainly experienced enough “lion-ish” weather this winter, so I hope your March comes in like a lamb. This month’s tidbits include a new clip in the Family Legacy Video Theatre, a Family Legacy Video Webinar success story and a few words about the “perfect” length for a legacy video.
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
Legacy video mini-series celebrates an incredible life.
Isabelle Lamb began her life on a small farm in Quebec, Canada. But she was destined to leave behind her rural beginnings for a career in business, starting at a time (prior to World War II) when few women chose that path. But Isabelle persevered and carved out a very successful business and personal life. She became the president of a company with clients around the world; she also entered politics in her local corner of the state of Washington, becoming the first woman to be a port commissioner for the Port of Grays Harbor.
A week of extensive shooting included a day at the port, capturing footage and interview material to use in telling Isabelle’s story, which became a four-part series on both DVD and Blu-ray. The chapter focusing on Isabelle’s port commissioner experience is now online at the Family Legacy Video Theatre. If you’d like to view the clip, click here.
A webinar success story.
It’s always a treat to hear how folks have benefited from Family Legacy Video’s do-it-yourself offerings. Recently, I received an e-mail from Kevin Kelly. Kevin participated in one of Family Legacy Video’s online webinars – and it looks like the experience paid off. Here’s what Kevin had to say:
As you may recall I was a student in your online course several years ago and enjoyed it a great deal. I thought you might enjoy knowing that I recently completed a 30 minute documentary (my first) about a 90 year old photographer I have known for some 50 years. It is a more in depth video biography than the shorties I had been experimenting with. I particularly enjoy leveraging those 40,000 clinical interviews I conducted as a psychologist into an artform of sorts. In this case it was to celebrate the life and work of a noted photographer and adventurer.
Having gone through the process makes me appreciate what must go into your work.Your instruction was a most helpful element in allowing me to make such a big stretch and actually finish what turned out to be a very challenging process. If you’d like to get a glimpse of it please click: http://youtu.be/dasTryVgpkM.
Thanks for the note, Kevin! I’m happy to hear the webinars gave you the tools you needed to pursue your passion for visual storytelling. I also wish you continued success.
– Steve Pender
How long should a video biography be?
When potential clients ask me to tell them the typical length for a legacy video, I always think of Abraham Lincoln. The story goes that someone asked the very tall president how long a man’s legs needed to be. Lincoln’s answer: Long enough to reach the ground. In other words, as long as they need to be. That’s how I approach video biographies.
You see, there really is no “typical” length for a personal video biography; the legacy videos produced by Family Legacy Video have run from as little as thirty minutes to over four hours. But despite the variation in running times, they all share one commonality – each is just as long as it needs to be in order to successfully communicate the storyteller’s story. That being said, we do need to be able to estimate, in advance, how long the completed video will be. After all, the production needs to come in at a watchable length for the client and his or her family and be affordable as well. The project also needs to be manageable and profitable for Family Legacy Video. To achieve these goals, we first look at scope and budget.
What is the extent of the story we need to tell? Are we covering the full arc of a lifetime, or are we concentrating on one part of a life story, like military service, a career, travels, etc.? Knowing the amount of ground we’ll be covering, combined with past experience with similar projects, gives us an idea of what a realistic running time should be, and how many interview days we’ll need.
What a desired project should cost vs. what the client wants to spend sometimes results in a juggling act. Can’t afford three days of shooting? How do we pare it down to two, or one? Or, if we really need those shoot days, how do we make the post production (editing) simpler? This may mean going from a full Ken Burns-like treatment to a basic talking-head video, or somewhere in-between. It may also mean making sure we shoot only a predetermined amount of raw footage to guarantee we come in at a running length that meets a client’s needs and brings us in on budget. Again, the experience Family Legacy Video has in shaping projects to meet budgets makes a big difference here.
Many other factors come into play as production on a video biography progresses, but a clear idea of scope and budget are key to producing a video biography that’s just as long as it needs to be.
– Steve Pender