August 7


Number Five: Design

Design is partly about sequencing your story

Whether you are making a family history film or a book, there are a lot of design decisions that need to get made. Everything from colours to typeface, style, spacing, sequencing, and in the case of films there are other considerations like music and on-screen titling. Because your life story family history film or book is entirely unique you get to decide what it looks like, how it feels, and what the reader or viewer experiences. So you get to be creative. We highly discourage plagiarism or copyright infringement but it's okay to be inspired by someone else's design, other films you might have seen, other books that you might have read. Yours is going to be entirely different. Contents and many aspects of your book or film will be entirely unique.

In the case of a life story family history film or book the project is divided up into sections. In a film they're called parts. In a book they're called chapters. One of the dilemmas often facing folks with these kinds of projects is to decide the sequence that stories and characters are rolled out. For some, a purely chronological approach starting at the beginning of time and ending with the latest makes a lot of sense. For others following themes, ideas, philosophies, groupings of like people or objects or events is another way to go. And it gets more complex with lives because for most people when a child becomes an adult there are many forks in the road, many things happening all at once. For example, the young person finishes high school and then perhaps goes on to post-secondary education or maybe they start a job or they fall in love and get married. There's just three forks in the road right there. Some people do all three and so which do you cover first in the book or film? These are things for which there's no right answer for but you get to decide. Either way your viewers or readers are going to absolutely love the fact that they are experiencing your life story family history film or book. They’ll be grateful and inspired.


So those are the five things to consider when getting ready to get started on a life story life story family history film or book: Number One Characters & Genealogy, Number Two Stories, Number Three Interviews, Number Four Imagery, and Number Five Design. It's important to realize that these projects take time. If you include a considerable number of characters your project can take approximately a year, sometimes more to be completed. It's not full time work but it will take up some of your time and your focus and so you need to be prepared to follow it through.

But when your grandchildren and the great-grandchildren who haven’t even been born yet read your book as a bedtime story or watch your film and take it to school for Show-And-Tell their hearts filled with pride and joy and their minds energized with useful concepts about living a meaningful life. That makes all your efforts worth it!

Schedule a free Family History Zoom Consult with personal historian Cory Bretz.

About the author

Cory Bretz is a filmmaker and personal historian. He specializes in interviewing elders and helping families inspire their next generation with their life stories, family history, wisdom, blessings, and old photos. He can help you create your own life story family history film or storybook. Cory also loves producing fundraising and profile videos for non-profits and conscious corporations that help them do their good works.


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