Life story video is the kind of thing that you can write about, and talk about, but you really have to see it to know what it’s all about. Because each project is going to be different – different in terms of subject, treatment – and even genre.
“Genre”? Life story video has genres?
Sure. Take the “genealogy video”. This is a family history documentary that seeks to present ancestry information from: ancestry documents, searches of immigration records, ships’ passenger lists, “match hatch and dispatch” records (marriage, birth and death records), and so on in a dynamic and engaging way,
A good genealogy video will also make the subject come alive by connecting the ancient family story to those alive today. One way to do that is to show the modern family pursuing pastimes or rituals that recall the “old ones”. Cooking is a good example, as the following sample shows:
Are there other genres, apart from genealogy video? Of course. Another one is the “veterans video”.
Soldiers more than most of us have experienced life at its most perilous. They have also put more on the line and risked their very lives in their duty to the country. Normally they have traveled vast distances to serve and they have experienced foreign cultures in a way that few of us who have not been in military service have had the chance (or inclination) to do.
So military veterans usually have a story to tell – and usually it’s quite a story.
But veterans can be reluctant to talk about their war experiences. At first, the memories can be too fresh and too painful. Later, when the busy press of everyday life starts to impose itself, there does not seem to be the chance to talk. And most war stories are not short stories! And children of war veterans often have the hardest time getting their father or (more rarely) their mother to tell their story.
Often, children of veterans will say (wrongly in many cases) that the parent didn’t want to talk about the war. Actually, most veterans want to tell their story – but the conditions do need to be right. Here is a clip from a former marine who first served in WWII in the Pacific and continued to serve right through to Vietnam – during which time he had the misfortune to visit the Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco:
In another post, we will cover some of the other life story genres…