A legacy video is one that records your older relative’s memories in their own words. Thanks to smartphones, legacy videos are easy to make and share with your family. In fact, you can record one the next time you see your relative.
But how can you ensure that it will be a video you want to save and share? Here are 9 legacy video questions that will spark great conversations with your loved one.
Preparing to make a legacy video
A legacy video can become a family treasure. By itself, it’s a great keepsake. And with a little editing, you can add photos, share it with others and preserve the memories for future generations.
Although getting started with the process may seem daunting, today’s smartphone cameras make it easier than ever to record HD video on your own.
To learn about inexpensive technology that will ensure great audio and video, as well as best legacy video setup and shooting tips, check out these posts:
It’s a conversation, not an interview
Attaching a microphone to anyone can make them self-conscious. An older family member, in particular, may at first feel awkward or reluctant to speak on camera. You can help settle your relative’s nerves by assuring her you’ll edit out any bad parts afterward. After a few minutes, she’ll likely relax and focus on recounting her memory.
Think of these questions as conversation starters. Choose the one you think might get your loved one to share an interesting anecdote. If your first choice doesn’t work, move on to another topic.
Don’t worry about covering all the questions. If Grandma gets on a roll with her story-telling, just go with it. Engage with her as you would in a normal conversation. Ask follow-up questions and clarify as needed.
The main point is to have a conversation that highlights your loved one’s memories and shows their personality. The experience should be fun for both of you.
Don’t over-think your legacy video
Here are some tips will help you succeed with your legacy video, even if it’s the first one you’ve ever made:
Keep things as normal as possible
- Make sure your relative is seated comfortably
- Put a glass of water nearby in case their throat dries out
- Don’t bother with fancy technology or special lighting
Set your relative up for success
- Choose a time when your loved one isn’t tired, hungry, etc.
- Provide some snacks – maybe a glass of wine or beer
- Stop before your loved one tires out
- Assure them there’s no need to dress up – in fact, simple solid colors usually work best
Good enough is good enough
You’re not a professional videographer. But don’t worry: your relative’s probably not an experienced media talent. An ok video is better than one you never make at all. Don’t put the project off until you acquire better technology or expertise.
Keep the tone light and see what your relative wants to talk about. You’ll likely end up learning some things about your family that you never knew before!
Legacy video questions
You can make a person’s legacy story as comprehensive as you’d like. Personally, however, I prefer family stories that show my relative’s unique perspective and mannerisms – even if they don’t cover all the facts.
The key is to record an interesting conversation, not merely a recitation of events. I’m indebted to The Legacy Project for many of the following conversation-starters. Consult their website for additional tips.
Here are 9 of my favorite legacy video questions:
- Tell me about your parents. Where were they from? What were they like?
- Tell me about your neighborhood or the house/apartment where you grew up.
- What were you like as a child? Did you like school? What did you do for fun? Did you have any pets? What was your favorite toy?
- How did your family celebrate the holidays? What did you do during the summers?
- Tell me about when you were a young adult. Did you go to college? What about military service? Tell me about your first job.
- How did you meet your spouse? Tell me about your first few dates and how you decided to marry him/her.
- If you could go back to any age, what would that be and why?
- What do you think has stayed the same about you all your life? What’s changed?
- What advice do you have for a young person growing up today?
Legacy video process and results: both matter
Creating a legacy video can be an enjoyable experience for you as well as your older relative. After you get past the initial awkwardness of setting up the camera phone and mic, you can focus on your loved one’s unique stories.
Not only will you create a historical record of family memories. You’ll also get to hear an older relative’s perspective on life.
Making a legacy video is a great way to engage your loved one in a discussion that interests them. Large family gatherings can become so noisy that it’s hard for an older person to hear what’s being said – especially when there are multiple conversations going on. Even if that’s not an issue, people might not know how to bring Grandpa into the conversation.
Sitting down to hear directly from your older relative lets them know you value them and appreciate their perspective. It’s a chance to forge a bond with your loved one. It’s also an opportunity to unearth a few family secrets. You never know what you might find out. 💀
Good luck with your legacy videos. I’d love to hear what questions work for you!
Join my journey through midlife
Subscribe to Jubilant Age and download a free guide to protecting your loved one's money!