Welcome to the March issue!
I hope your March has been more lamb than lion! This month I have some show’n’tell about my latest, and rather unique, legacy video project.
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
Bringing a 19th century immigrant’s story to life.
I had just started to dig into lunch at my weekly Rotary club meeting, when a fellow member, a wonderful gentleman named Bob, turned to me.
“So, can you create a video biography if all you have is a written autobiography to start with?” he asked.
“I’m sure I could, Bob,” I answered. “Tell me what you have in mind.”
It turned out that Bob and his wife, Mary Lou, wanted to capture on video the story of Mary Lou’s great-grandfather, George, who emigrated from Scotland to the U.S. in 1839. Luckily, George had left behind a memoir written near the end of his life, when he was in his late 80’s. It was the story of a man of humble beginnings, who possessed a keen mind and a hunger to learn the truth of things. The autobiography traced his intellectual journey in search of knowledge about the nature of mankind and religion, as well as his physical journey, from his time as a farmer and shoemaker in Scotland to his new life as a shoemaker and then the owner of his own farm, in Illinois.
So, how could I best translate George’s story from the written page to the television screen? My first thought was to find a Scottish narrator who could read passages from George’s writings – in essence portraying George. But where to find a Scottish narrator? There was noone local who fit the bill. Luckily, a search of the Web led me to ScottishVoiceOvers.com, a studio in Glasgow that featured an array of voiceover talent. One of the actors there fit the bill perfectly. After directing the recording session via Skype and downloading the audio files, I had my George.
Next, I needed someone to introduce each chapter and to bridge between narration segments. That job fell to Mary Lou. As George’s great-granddaughter, and being familiar with his story, she was the logical choice. She sat for an interview and did a great job helping to set up and flesh out information from the autobiography.
Finally, I spent much time researching and obtaining visuals, from maps to photos to stock footage that illustrate and enhance “George’s” narration. Luckily, the family had a box of old glass slides from the late 1890’s with views of the family farm – and a couple of photos of George, to boot. The family photos proved to be great resources. I also had to have music, and lots of it, which came from my royalty-free stock music library.
The result was a unique and magical legacy video that brought a long-ago immigrant’s story to life in a way that can be enjoyed by generations of his descendants to come. To see what I mean, you can watch a clip from the video biography here.
– Steve Pender