As a video biographer, I have had two near-death situations which Iâ€™m going to share.
The first happened many years ago when I was commissioned to do a video biography of a retired US Navy ship captain.Â With all the work we did on the project, it took about three months to complete. He got to see the preliminary version, but passed away before the final version was delivered. I cannot tell you how excited the family was to get this video. It was probably some of his last words and definitely the last time any of them would hear these stories from him.
The second situation was far more recent. Just last month, I was approached by a woman who wanted me to do a video biography of her husband. She said he had a very exciting past and very interesting stories his family would love to have. The project was delayed in getting started for one reason or another until a more convenient time could be found.Â As I passed through the memorial line at his funeral, his widow told me how sorry she was she had delayed and now his stories would be gone forever.
I know in the real world, the idea of doing a video biography is not high on most peoplesâ€™ to-do list – until itâ€™s too late. I cannot tell you how many times Iâ€™ve heard from people that Iâ€™ve met: â€œI wish I had done this for my parentsâ€. No matter how much money you have, there is no getting back these stories.
The old saying, â€œa day late and a dollar shortâ€, unfortunately doesnâ€™t work here. There is no getting back tomorrow. I fully understand the pressures we have put on ourselves to get so many things done in a day. Unlike an audio or a written biography, a video biography takes only about two days, at the most, to get the footage shot. Realistically, the project may take much longer to complete, but once the footage is captured, the rest is just editing and research. There is normally no further interaction with the subject or subjects until completion.Â
So the question has to be – â€œdo I give up a couple of days to sit and answer some questions from an interviewerâ€? Very often, the children will want to preserve the stories of their parents for their children and grandchildren, but financial pressures sometimes delay the moving ahead with doing these biographies. No matter what the financial pressures may be, the clock on the wall, for each of us, continues to tick. The older we get, it seems, the louder the tick.
I cannot guarantee, down the road, youâ€™re not going to regret buying that new 3-D television set thatâ€™s on sale right now or the deal you might get on a new car.Â But I can guarantee this – the regret youâ€™re going to feel if your parentsâ€™ stories are lost forever.
I am a parent, a grandparent and of course, a child. My parents have both passed away. My father, when I was young, my mother just about 10 years ago. My motherâ€™s stories of her growing up with her siblings and her adventures during the war and her trials and tribulations of being a single parent are all gone. I have to be counted as one of those who will always regret not having her stories, in her words, to tell my children or my grandchildren.
So basically, you have two options. The first is to do nothing, take your chances that someday youâ€™ll get to these stories and you wonâ€™t feel the regret that I and many others feel, knowing that these life stories, the treasures of your history, are gone forever. The second option is to call. We here at Personal Memoir Films feel strongly that no story should go untold. We will do our best to work within your budget, to make sure that these life stories are preserved for future generations to enjoy.