This last weekend, I spent some time up in the White Mountains at a Women’s Retreat. Since I am a documentary filmmaker, they asked if I would come and give a presentation about documenting their lives. In the past, most people resorted to personal journals and photo albums as the tools to capture life experience. The digital video age has created new opportunities to more fully capture one’s history. So, I agreed to do it.
As I prepared for the weekend, I kept making notes of things NOT to forget, mistakes that I made and operating practices that have come to serve me when I’m putting a documentary (large or small) together. So, for my faithful blog readers, I thought I might make a few suggestions. Be forewarned. What I have learned over the years is that everyone I have ever introduced to this medium LOVES it. They love being able to take their pictures, capture events and meaningful moments and then create a film about their lives. So, for those who want to start eating this elephant, here we go!
The FIRST major step in documenting your family history is:
GATHER AND SORT ALL OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS.
- Gather all of your photos.
- Decide on your categories. This could be individuals, events or whatever categories you like.
- Then play the toss game. You can do this as a family. Everyone take a pile of photographs and start tossing them into the appropriate box.
- Once they are in their box, go through and place them in date order more or less. I suggest, if age appropriate that each individual can sort by date best. Let’s face it. They like looking at themselves and this also triggers memories.
- So If I were you I would have your video camera set up on a tripod and record your family doing the toss game.
Tomorrow, SECOND major step! You can do this. This is an easy bite!