- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 1: A passion for personal history on video.
Welcome to the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast! In this first episode, you’ll meet host Steve Pender. Steve is a professional personal historian, video biographer, and president of Family Legacy Video, Inc. (https://www.familylegacyvideo.com) in Tucson, Arizona. The Legacy Video Lounge Podcast is dedicated to the proposition that everyone, and that means YOU, has a life story worth preserving, celebrating, and sharing – and that video is a great way to leave a living legacy of life stories.
During the course of the podcast series, Steve will cover these and other topics:
The rising awareness of the importance of preserving personal history and life stories.
What is a video biography or legacy video?
The benefits of video biographies?
Tips for hiring and working with legacy video professionals.
Hints for video biography do-it-yourselfers.
In this episode, Steve tells how he discovered his passion for personal history on video and became a professional video biographer. He also shares a clip from his very first legacy video.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 10: The Preinterview.
In Episode 10 of The Legacy Video Lounge, video biographer and Family Legacy Video president Steve Pender describes one of the important first steps for any successful video biography – the preinterview. The preinterview is basically the “interview before the interview,” where a video biographer chats with a storyteller in an informal setting. A preinterview helps to break the ice and gives a personal historian a chance to learn the storyteller’s stories in advance of the on-camera interview. Armed with this information, the video biographer can craft questions designed to elicit specific stories. As you’ll hear, a preinterview provides other benefits as well. Here’s what Steve covers in this segment:
- Organizing for success – Preproduction, Production, Post production
- What is a preinterview?
- Preinterview benefits
- Preinterview techniques
- After the preinterview
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 11: The Power of Personal Storytelling.
If you’re a “story junkie,” there’s probably nothing you like better than hearing a great story, related by an enthusiastic storyteller. Getting access to captivating stories and storytellers is growing easier, due to the proliferation of live, storytelling events. In cities across the U.S. and around the world, regular folks are stepping onto stages, shedding inhibitions, and sharing personal stories on a wide variety of topics. One place live storytelling has been flourishing is in Tucson, Arizona, thanks to the efforts of Penelope Starr. Penelope founded Odyssey Storytelling over twelve years ago. She’s also the author of a soon-to-be-released book packed with valuable advice for folks who’d like to start storytelling series in their own towns. In this episode of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender chats with Penelope about Odyssey Storytelling, the power of sharing personal stories, and her upcoming book.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 12: Stimulating Memories with Keepsakes & Places
Family keepsakes, as well as objects and places associated with important times of our lives and those of our ancestors, can play valuable roles in stimulating life stories for video biographies. In addition to stimulating recollections, these items and places can be included in legacy videos as visual elements. Personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender shares some personal experiences and observations about “Stimulating Memories with Keepsakes & Places.” in this episode of The Legacy Video Lounge.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 13: The Association of Personal Historians
NOTE: The Association of Personal Historians has been dissolved.
In this episode, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender introduces you to the Association of Personal Historians, an organization devoted to promoting personal history and helping personal historians working in video, audio, and print polish their skills and improve their business practices. Steve also describes the annual APH conference, the “must attend” annual gathering of personal historians. The 2016 conference takes place from October 23-27 in Fort Worth, Texas. Whether you create video biographies, audio legacies or print memoirs, you owe it to yourself to check out APH and the yearly conference.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 14: Keeping the Energy Level High!
In Episode 14 of the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, personal historian, video biographer, and Family Legacy Video, Inc. president Steve Pender answers a listener’s question about keeping up the energy during a life story interview.
Here’s the question, which came in via email:
“One thing that occurred to me after I listened to your podcast on the pre-interview (which was excellent) is regarding the energy levels. I did radio for years – and I know – people (of all ages) can tend to go monotone, if you don’t keep lifting up the energy. I hope you’ll address this in a future podcast.”
- Inquire about storyteller’s energy level during preproduction. Do they have the energy for a full day’s shoot?
- If material is extensive, you may want to look at two days or more.
- If you’re determined to keep the finished video around an hour or so, plan on no more than around two hours of raw interview.
- Stay engaged with the storyteller – maintain eye contact, use nonverbal cues by varying your expressions, nodding, gesturing.
- Keep an eye on the storyteller’s energy level and mental focus. If he or she tires or starts to stray from the topic at hand, take a break.
- Do all the things you need to do to make your interview set a comfortable and fun space: Provide water, let the storytellers take breaks when they want, and let them know that do-overs are okay.
Storytellers who are having a good time are likely to maintain better energy levels – so have fun!
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 15: Transcripts & Legacy Videos
In this episode, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender urges you to properly label and organize your family history assets and storyteller recordings so you can find them when you need them. Steve also talks about how he uses interview transcripts to create the editing scripts he uses for the longer documentary-style video biographies Family Legacy Video, Inc. creates for clients. Transcripts, which are text versions of interviews, allow you to scan interviews more efficiently and highlight the portions you’d like to use. Steve also cuts and pastes from transcript files to build the scripts he uses to guide the final video editing. You can create transcripts yourself, hire transcribers to create them, or use an online service like transcribeme.com.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 16: A WIFFLE® Ball Game “Under the Lights”
In this episode of the Legacy Video Lounge podcast, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender does what he’s been helping clients do for years: tell a story. In this tale, Steve takes us back to his childhood. The time: The early 1960s. The place: Suburban New Jersey. Steve describes his earliest memories and his neighborhood. He introduces a few of his neighbors and a favorite summer activity involving a lot of the neighbor kids: WIFFLE® Ball. Finally, he talks about one game that ran a bit too long one evening, only finishing thanks to the ingenuity of two friendly folks from next door.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 17: Life Stories & Legacy Planning
What does the idea of “leaving a legacy” mean to you? Some folks equate “legacy” with “inheritance,” thinking of it only in terms of the money and physical possessions they’ll leave to their loved ones. Others see passing along life stories and values as their true legacy. In this episode personal historian and Family Legacy Video® president Steve Pender introduces you to someone who has a foot in each of these camps. Jeff Knapp is an attorney specializing in Estate Planning. Jeff’s a lifelong New Jersey resident. He founded the Knapp Law Firm in Basking Ridge, New Jersey, hanging out his shingle in 1989. He’s one of four Estate Planning Law Specialists in the Garden State and he’s a member of both the New Jersey and Florida Bars. He’s also an Accredited Estate Planner, a Certified Financial Planner, a Certified Thinking Consultant, and holds a Post-Doctorate Masters in Wealth Strategies Planning.
He’s also a SunBridge Network Certified Legacy Advisor.
Jeff has been married for thirty years. He has four adult sons. One is currently in law school and a second just took his LSATs. So it looks like the Knapp Law Firm’s legacy may continue for another generation.
Steve first met Jeff during high school. They went their separate ways but reconnected a number of years ago after Jeff stumbled onto the Family Legacy Video® website. While Jeff is an expert in the nuts and bolts of estate planning, he’s also a big believer in incorporating life stories into the process. He kindly put down his snow shovel during a recent blizzard and spoke to Steve by phone from his home in New Jersey. The conversation touches on just what estate planning is all about and how Jeff uses stories to teach estate and legacy planning concepts to his clients as well as ways he encourages his clients to pass along life stories that speak to family values and identity.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 18: The Cost of Legacy Videos
In this episode, video biographer and Family Legacy Video, Inc. president Steve Pender tackles the topic of pricing professional legacy videos.
LET’S PUT THINGS IN CONTEXT
Hour-long documentaries produced for outlets like the National Geographic and Discovery channels have budgets ranging from $125,000 on up. A single segment on 60 Minutes can cost $200,000. Family Legacy Video’s personal video biographies rival those network productions in quality and usually run longer than an hour – sometimes much longer. So even if a legacy video clocks in at $40,000, that’s a pretty good deal compared to what those broadcast and cable productions cost.
Not everybody can afford these prices, of course. But for those who can, it’s a great, great value.
SO WHAT AM I PAYING FOR?
Producers with years of expertise organizing and planning video biography projects. Skilled interviewers and seasoned and creative video editors. Experienced camera operators and lighting directors, audio technicians, and makeup artists devoted to making you look and sound your very best on screen. Family Legacy Video crew members are talented professionals who need to be compensated accordingly.
So people are on thing – gear is another. Professional cameras, lenses, lighting and audio equipment in our experienced hands yields fantastic results – but cost much more than consumer gear to purchase and maintain.
And then there’s travel. While Family Legacy Video is based in Tucson, a large chunk of our productions are shot outside Arizona. I’ve traveled to the east and west coasts, points between, even points beyond, like Hawaii. Travel incurs expenses like airfare, car rental, hotel rooms, meals, etc. It’s only fair to include these costs on top of the production expense – if not, Family Legacy Video could easily lose tons of money on each video. And yet, a lot of prospective clients seem to think this is somehow unfair, or they just want to save money by trying to find someone local to them, or they just don’t like the idea of paying for someone else’s travel expenses, as if our crew is taking a vacation at the client’s expense. Just to be clear, we travel as economically as possible, meaning we squeeze into coach airplane seats, we stay in moderately-priced hotels, and we don’t raid the mini-bars.
Finally, custom legacy videos are time-consuming efforts that can easily run into the hundreds of hours.
It would be great if everyone could afford Family Legacy Video’s service – but the company needs to price productions at a level that compensates it fairly and allows it to stay in business. Whether you can afford to hire Family Legacy Video or you opt to go it yourself as a do-it-yourselfer, the key is not to wait – get started on your video biography now!
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 19: Four Quick Tips for Do-It-Yourselfers
In this episode, video biographer and Family Legacy Video, Inc. president Steve Pender offers some tips for folks who prefer to record their own family storytellers as opposed to hiring a professional video biography company like Family Legacy Video – perhaps because they can’t afford to hire a pro or maybe because they just prefer to do it themselves.
Tip #1: Steady as she goes.
• Mount your cell phone, DSLR, or video camera on a tripod. A shaky shot will distract viewers.
• Use a video tripod if possible.
• But – you can get away with using a camera designed for still cameras if you don’t move the camera.
Tip #2: Walk to the light!
• Use proper lighting to create a pleasing and flattering image.
• Google “Three Point Lighting” to learn more about it.
Tip #3: Shot composition: Stay close.
• Legacy videos are very intimate productions. If you frame your shot too wide, that intimacy is diminished.
• Try to go not much wider than someone’s waist.
• Vary the shot from waist high, to chest high, to shoulder high.
• Don’t go super close. That can be off-putting.
Tip #4: Use an external microphone.
• Don’t rely on your camera’s built-in microphone.
• Use a lapel mic. A consumer quality microphone is not expensive to purchase.
• A lapel mic will give you good sound, and sound quality won’t change if you move the camera closer or farther away.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 2: Growing numbers grasp the importance of personal history.
Professional personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender talks about the rising level of public awareness of the importance of preserving, celebrating, and sharing life stories. Steve describes personal experiences with people who have witnessed his presentations and touches on the TV shows “Who do you think you are?” “Finding Your Roots,” and “Our American Family.” Steve also talks about StoryCorps and Ancestry.com. He also shares the results of the American Legacy Survey, sponsored by the Allianz Life Insurance Company.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 20: Life story legacies: True stories about sharing values & preserving wealth
The oldest members of the Baby Boom generation have started to retire. Because of that, the United States is now in the midst of the biggest transfer of wealth from one generation to another that the country has ever seen. But according to Barclays Wealth Insights, history has shown that 70% of family wealth fails to transfer to the third generation. One of the main causes of this failure is not preparing your heirs to appreciate and properly manage your estate; to be aware of the history behind it and to share in a family vision that will shape their stewardship of your family wealth moving forward.
In this episode, podcast host, personal historian, video biographer, and Family Legacy Video, Inc. president Steve Pender is joined by personal historian and author Stephanie Kadel Taras, Ph.D. They share some real life examples of how their high net worth clients used life story legacies, in both video and print formats, as communication tools to pass along their values and visions surrounding family wealth to the next generations of their families.
Stephanie is an author and personal historian. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She started her company, TimePieces Personal Biographies, in the year 2000. Stephanie works with clients who want to tell their own stories, hire a writer to work with family members, or document their organization’s history. Her 2013 memoir and social history of West Virginia, titled Mountain Girls, won a West Virginia Writers Book Award. Her 2008 history of Eckerd College won an Independent Publisher Book Award.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 21: A story of love and war
Over the years podcast host, personal historian, video biographer, and Family Legacy Video president Steve Pender has spoken with lots of storytellers who’ve shared the stories of their WWII experiences, involving everything from combat overseas, stateside duty, and memories of life on the home front. In Episode 21, Steve shares the recollections of one couple, Dick and Mary-Lou. They met in college prior to the war, and then married shortly after it began. Luckily, the marriage far outlasted the global conflict. Even though this is an excerpt from a video biography, it also works fine as an audio-only piece.
Steve is often asked if he can interview multiple storytellers in one sitting, or only one at a time. Actually, it all depends on what works best for any given situation and group of storytellers. For the piece included in this episode, Steve interviewed Dick and Mary-Lou separately, asking them similar questions, and then editing the two interviews together to create an engaging story flow. But Steve has also interviewed groups of two, three, and more storytellers in one sitting. Some reasons to do that: if the storytellers are more comfortable in a group, the dynamics created will be more entertaining and interesting, and if the family is looking for more of a live, spontaneous feel.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 3: What’s a video biography?
In Episode 3 of The Legacy Video Lounge, video biographer and Family Legacy Video president Steve Pender answers the question: What’s a video biography – otherwise known as a legacy video?
According to Steve, a video biography or legacy video is a personal documentary, which can feature a variety of production styles, ranging from simple “talking head” presentations to full-blown documentaries featuring interviews and as many visuals and audio elements (like music and sound effects) as budgets allow.
What kinds of visuals can be used? Anything that can be shot on video or scanned and that helps to illustrate the subjects storytellers will talk about during their interviews – including still photos, newspaper/magazine clippings, diplomas, wedding announcements, plaques, trophies, medals, paintings, drawings, letters, keepsakes, souvenirs, childhood toys, and family videos (or films converted to video files).
Video biographies can include all the elements of the storyteller’s art – images, spoken word, music, sound, text on screen, graphics, like maps, etc.
It’s not enough to just capture stories, we want our families to want to come back and watch again and again. So we need a little entertainment value – which is fine as long as everything that’s included is in service of the story.
Steve has been creating videos that tell stories – first for corporate clients and now for individuals and families for over 38 years. So he knows how to apply the creativity and techniques that big budget productions use. There are certainly advantages to working with a professional video biographer, because there’s a good deal involved in properly planning and producing a legacy video.
But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, especially if you’re just getting started: Tune in to the History Channel, or get your hands on some of Ken Burns documentaries. Watch them critically. See how interviews are staged, how music and sound effects are used, how photos and other visual materials are incorporated. Then, experiment with these techniques on your own. With some time and practice, you can use these same techniques to give your home-made video biographies a bigger budget look and feel. Contrast and compare a basic “talking head” treatment with a documentary-style video biography here.
If you have any questions or comments, please email them to Steve Pender at email@example.com. And remember: Everyone has a story. Isn’t it time you told yours?
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 4: How to write an inspiring memoir – Pt. 1.
In Episode 4 of The Legacy Video Lounge, host Steve Pender, personal historian, video biographer, Family Legacy Video president, welcomes his first guest to the lounge: Kristin Delaplane, author of Storytelling: How to Write an Inspiring Memoir, Oral History, or Family Genealogy, and First to Die: The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris. While The Legacy Video Lounge is dedicated primarily to video biography, Kristin is a personal historian who works mostly on the print side of personal history. Ms. Delaplane comes from a writing family; her dad, Stanton Delaplane, was a Pulitzer Prize recipient and a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Kristin wrote for the Chronical as well for many years, and now she helps people capture their family or company stories through oral history interviews and historical and genealogy research, with the end result often being a carefully crafted narrative for a custom-bound book. Her clients have included notable American families and celebrities, including Best Actor Oscar winners and a Kennedy Center Honoree. Kristin’s business is Our American Stories LLC.
In Part 1 of a two-part interview, Kristin talks about her career, what drew her to personal history, the process she follows when creating a print memoir, the benefits of creating a memoir, as well as her new book.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 5: How to write an inspiring memoir – Pt. 2.
In Episode 5 of The Legacy Video Lounge, host Steve Pender, of Family Legacy Video, Inc., continues his chat with Kristin Delaplane, a personal historian who specializes in print memoirs. Kristin is the author of Storytelling: How to Write an Inspiring Memoir, Oral History, or Family Genealogy. During her conversation with Steve, Kristin describes the book’s contents and passes along some tips to budding memoir authors. She also reads an excerpt from another of her books, First to Die: The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 6: Let’s talk legacy video benefits – Pt. 1.
How can legacy videos benefit your family storytellers and your families? In Episode 6 of The Legacy Video Lounge, host Steve Pender, of Family Legacy Video, Inc., explores this topic with David Lamb. David is a successful businessman who hired Family Legacy Video to produce two family video biographies. David explains what led him and his wife, artist Robbi Firestone, to pursue legacy video projects for David’s mother and Robbi’s father. He also touches on his expectations for the projects, and the ways the legacy video process – and the final results, were of value to both the storytellers and their families.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 7: Let’s talk legacy video benefits – Pt. 2.
In Episode 7 of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona shares his thoughts on who should save their life stories and why. Steve also touches on some of the benefits that a legacy video project brings to both families and storytellers. Steve begins with a reading from “Like A Library Burning,” by Scott Farnsworth and Peggy R. Hoyt. Steve then describes the following benefits that come with legacy video projects including: validation of a meaningful life, finally telling the full story, energizing mind and lifting spirits, and uncovering little-known or nearly forgotten stories. Steve also shares the results of three university studies that document benefits to storytellers and their families, especially young children.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 8: Audio Biographies
In Episode 8 of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona, talks about capturing the voices of your loved ones for posterity, in the form of audio-only oral legacies known as audio biographies. If you’re not crazy about appearing on-camera in a video biography, if you’d prefer a less-costly alternative to video, or if you prefer the spoken word, an audio biography could be right for you and your family. Steve shares his approach to creating an audio biography, as well as an audio biography excerpt. You’ll also learn about the audio gear Steve uses. In addition, Steve shares some sources for audio transfers – King Tet Productions, free audio editing software – Audacity, new and used equipment – B&H Photo/Video, and equipment rentals – BorrowLenses.com.
- Legacy Video Lounge Podcast – LVL 9: Camera, lighting, & sound for legacy video interviews.
In Episode 9 of The Legacy Video Lounge, personal historian and video biographer Steve Pender of Family Legacy Video, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona takes the podcast on the road! During a recent drive from Tucson to a legacy video shoot in Santa Monica, California, Steve recorded a chat with his cameraman and lighting director Dan Crapsi and sound technician Chris Hall. Both Dan and Chris have decades of video and audio experience, working on commercial, news, corporate and legacy video projects. During their conversation, Steve, Dan, and Chris touch on a variety of aspects surrounding recording personal history interviews, from the technical to the creative, including shot composition, lighting, microphone selection and placement, and more.