Life Story Video

Saving lives through video

Veterans Stories Recorded on Video

Many of our veterans have now told their stories. And some have even had them recorded for posterity. These three Orange County, California residents decided to record their WWII battle experiences in Your Story Here veterans’ videos. If you have a veteran in the family, don’t wait till it’s too late…

Jim Peirano: Firing back at Pearl Harbor
Jim Peirano fired at Japanese bombers from the deck of his submarine USS Dolphin during the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. He remembered with horror as the Arizona blew up scattering burning oil over the water – burning hundreds. Jim remembered the looks on the faces of the young Japanese pilots as they swooped in to drop their bombs. “They had the scarves and everything. You could see them real well because they were flying so low. It was just like you see in the movies!” Read the rest of this entry »


Filed under: Biographies, WWII

Digital Legacies: The Options

John Giacchino had been collecting information about his Italian American family for years. He had family trees, portrait photographs, immigration and census records, WWII registration cards, historical maps of the Philadelphia streets where his grandfather grew up, photographs from a family visit back to the villages, silent film (converted to video) of his Dad in high school and in the army, detailed biographies of most of his ancestors – and he had audio of his grandmother – now deceased – talking about her trip to America as a little girl.

John also had relatives spread across the United States, as well as back in Italy. And he knew it was time to do something with all this stuff for all these people. But what? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, DIY Tips & Advice, legacy video

Life Story Lessons From Bilbo Baggins

The rise to prominence of one Bilbo Baggins has thrust genealogy and the recording of life stories into the limelight. First, it was Lord of the Rings – now on video – and then came (and continues to come) The Hobbit (itself now out on video). Because Bilbo is, right down to the soles of his hairy, oversized feet, a family man and a personal historian.

True, Bilbo has no wife or children of his own (that history records) but Bilbo adopts a son (Frodo) and is as devoted to his kith and kin as ever a person was. No one knows their lineage better, or throws better parties for the relatives, or struggles to get right the dictates of etiquette, or gives better presents to nieces and nephews than Mr. Bilbo Baggins.

Speaking to his assembled cousins on one famous occasion (his Eleventy First birthday in point of fact) he says, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Which, if you can tease it out, is a statement of regret that Bilbo doesn’t know his relatives as well as he should—and has judged them a little too harshly in the past. Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, Videos and films,

Life Stories on Video from the Inland Empire

The recent special exhibition entitled “When I’m Sixty Four” at the Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art at Chaffey College in San Bernardino County, California gave a chance for local seniors to recount some of their life stories on video. And how astonishing those stories turned out to be!

Originally conceived as an oral history project involving Storycorps, life story video specialists Your Story Here LLC stepped in to video record twelve remarkable stories from locals 64 years and older… Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, Personal Documentaries, , ,

Life Story Video: 2012 Best College Commencement Addresses

So much of our work here at Your Story Here Life Story Video – making biography videos for clients across the country – focuses on lives nearing their conclusion. But today I want to put the spotlight on the moment at which many lives finally start to get serious – the college graduation.

College graduation ceremonies are usually held in Spring and right now – May 2012 – we are slap bang in the middle of the Commencement Season. And this year being a Presidential election year, the two candidates have both already had a turn at the podium – Mitt Romney doing the honors at Liberty University and Barack Obama at Barnard College.

But it is the funny star of Glee – Jane Lynch – who really dominates the 2012 season with her address to Smith College’s graduating class, proving that in a commencement address humor will carry all before it. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies

Irish History on Video: Divine Life Stories

Tom Devine lives in New Jersey and has ancestors who fought for Irish independence against the British. One of them was caught and jailed, then fled to America. Tom’s parents followed suit some 30 years later and created a large family, of which Tom is the oldest boy.

Tom’s mother has the story of the family’s Irish patriots, which include Tom’s grandfather (far left).

She heard it directly from him, her father, who has since passed away.

Needing to know more, Tom went back to Ireland in 2009 with both his parents to visit some of the old family haunts.

He took along his video camera and shot scenes of the countryside, gravestones, farmhouses, churches, and his parents reminiscing. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, ,

More Life Story Video “Genres”

A while ago I started talking about life story video genres and I mentioned genealogy video and veterans video: Talking about Life Story Genres. And I promised to cover some more varieties of “life story video”.

Family Video Biography
When the project includes more than just the subject themselves, a grandparent couple for example, and when the project reaches back to cover ancestors and the sort of information we are used to seeing in a family tree, then you have what I call a family video biography.

Keep in mind that as important as the stories of the ancestors are (their histories taking us to a whole other country oftentimes) you probably don’t want to just confine yourself to their stories. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, genres, , ,

Fight Memory Loss With Life Story Video

Frances’ memories of her large Italian-American family, of being raised on a farm growing strawberries, of placing pine needles around the young strawberry plants; her memories of wandering in the nearby forest, of sneaking into the one-room school to “sample” pastries; her memories of Huey Long, of the breakup of her parents’ marriage – were all detailed and fresh as Frances preserved her life story on video.

The room seemed to close in around her as the afternoon played out and Frances came alive remembering the details of her life. She closed her eyes and recounted the night she and her husband were woken up by the call that another Kennedy had been shot – and specialist help was needed immediately.

You might be surprised to read that Francis has advanced stage Alzheimer’s disease. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, memory loss, ,

WWII Survivor: Life Story Video Memorial

Volodymyr Szafranowycz survived the worst that the 20th Century could serve up. He is now dead; a troubled death in many ways – but who complains when death comes in their 80s? His family recorded the details of this 20th Century life in a life story video memorial. A video memorial whose value is now assured by the disappearance and eternal inaccessibility of its subject.

video memorial subject image

WWII Survivor Volodymyr Szafranowycz

The 20th Century was one of the ugliest in all of human history. Nations rose and fell, wars and revolutions were fought, and there was starvation and genocide – to say nothing of economic collapse and the threat of nuclear Armageddon. More than a few still alive among us suffered through much of this maelstrom. And some, like Volodymyr Szafranowycz – who survived the Nazis and more – have had video memorials erected to their passing.

Bloodiest Century
Was the 20th Century the bloodiest in all of humanity’s experience? Based on the sheer and absolute volume of death recorded, the answer has to be yes. The numbers are so staggering as to be incomprehensible. But is it really as Stalin once said: “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic”? For those who swam in the violent waters of the 20th Century, who came close to death themselves or who had loved ones die, there is tragedy aplenty in that million. And even more tragedy in the millions more who also perished. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, ,

Personal Documentaries Explained & Simplified

Lights, Camera, Personal Documentary!

What is a Personal Documentary?
Personal documentaries are life stories told on film or video. They typically present a life from beginning to end, and often cover ancestors as well as progeny. Personal documentaries combine interview footage with photographs, historical images, documents, music, archive footage, voice-over, objects and artifacts, captions and titles, personal or home movies, maps and animations, and other media as available. Normally, they are divided into chapters and most usually they are output, or delivered, to DVD.

There are 5 rules for the would-be DIY personal documentarian. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Biographies, DIY Tips & Advice, Personal Documentaries, ,

Welcome to the Life Story Video Blog!
This blog features stories about ordinary people and their experiences with life story videos.
Us? We are professional family historians creating custom-made, life story video documentaries!
Take a poke around and if you need help with your life story video just click the picture!

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December 2017
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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
Arthur C. Clarke

Memory is the mother of all wisdom.

If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.
Carl Jung

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
Albert Einstein

In feature films the director is God; in documentary films God is the director.
Alfred Hitchcock

The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.
William Blake

Success is like death. The more successful you become, the higher the houses in the hills get and the higher the fences get.
Kevin Spacey