Things to Consider When Producing Your Family's Documentary

  • Who will be in the video?  It’s usually very effective to have a “main character” and to tell the family story through their point of view. There’s usually one member of the family who is the “family storyteller”.     
  • Make a list of other important family members who you want to have interviewed – along with any stories that you want retold.
  • Consider gathering the family together at a family reunion so that professional video interviews can capture oral histories. This might even take place at a destination where your family has roots. Make sure you leave time for interviews if a destination reunion is planned. Also allow time to interview relevant locals like a past family friend. This approach is much more conducive for the purpose of creating a family biography video. It is far better than trying to facilitate interviews at a family gathering like a wedding, because it doesn't take people's time and attention away from the original event.  Plus, a family reunion is a great way to get family members together and a perfect opportunity for b-roll. 
  • Gather old family photos and footage from your personal archives.  This may also include important letters and documents.  Letters can be read in the voice of the writer or the storyteller.
  • Communicate with other family members who may want to contribute. Understand that some people may not be comfortable talking on camera but might do well with an audio only interview.  This can be used with other visuals when the film is created.
  • Are you producing this video with or for your siblings? For your children?
  • What’s the scope or focus of the video? For example: Her family?  His family?
  • Decide what kind of film you want. How far back in history will you go?