By Michael Drumm
by Michael Drumm
The contributions of the elder generation are SO significant. There are so many stories of accomplishment, sacrifice, heroism, and a lifetime devotion to family. We are who we come from – our families are our core. Our ancestry deserves to be elevated to a position of honor. An in depth exploration of a family legacy, as is our specialty, creates the kind of everlasting document that was not possible for previous generations. So many stories were just passed down by word of mouth. Haphazard to say the least. Now with video technology so ubiquitous, when put in the hands of the experienced filmmaker, a powerful family legacy movie can be created, and through digital technology, permanently preserved for generations to come. And not just a slide show – but an evocative movie, with pacing, and emotional triggers that captivate all who experience it.
For me, the exploration of a family legacy story is always an intriguing process. The initial meetings where I ask the kind of questions of family members that can open up the floodgates of memories and emotions is at the core of the passion I have for this art form. Building the narrative from those sessions, in conjunction with the family, and then executing the process of developing the content (interviews, photo and video archives, creating new footage, etc.) is the journey. The final edit, crafted in full collaboration with the family, is the payoff. You see, taking the truth of a legacy, and putting it front and center in an entertaining and compelling fashion for today’s and future generations is our mission.
An effective family documentary will not only honor the family, and its ancestral roots, but it will also strike an emotional cord. As a filmmaker, that is one of the most important goals – to evoke an emotional response! I look at making a film as an opportunity to use the many production values available to a Director to do just that. It is the magic of the combined total of all the elements that are in a movie that helps trigger someones emotions, and how deeply.
Just one such production value is camera motion. To have a shot actually be moving through space with its compositional focus being consistently and properly aligned creates visual “poetry”. Today, achieving this kind of movement has gotten less obtrusive to execute due to the shrinking nature of HD capture technology. Wedding videos and movies particularly benefit from motion.
Here, we see the traditional film camera dolly that very much still has a place in cinematic production Suffice to say, the more appropriate movement, the better!
The explosion of ancestry.com proves the interest in exploring family roots. Now, work with Homage Films and myself to take your story, and utilize powerful production value techniques to create some family magic!
Unlike this example, an Homage Films interview is a carefully crafted, well thought out controlled exercise! We will get that perfect narrative content to make your movie great. In making a great family video, one of my passions is to take my extensive background in interviewing celebrities and non celebrities alike and use that to create the perfect questions, to elicit the perfect answers! What is the perfect answer? Easy – whatever is real and heartfelt that supports the direction the movies narrative is designed to head in. So it really is about the question, the nuances within it, and the sympathetic guidance of the interviewer to help get that great sound bite that fits so well into the final piece. I have seen where interviews are passed off in some production situations to a more junior person. Many times, the potential of that interview is left unrealized in this situation. With Homage Films productions,, this is always one of the most important areas I can contribute something special in – and I will!
The right time to make powerful family history!
A marriage, and the accompanying wedding event is one of the most important occasions in any couples and families lives. Often, a video is produced of the event, and that is as far as it goes.
With my background of producing custom movies about famous celebrities from coast to coast, I know how to go much deeper, and create a stirring emotional document of the event, the couple involved, and the families behind the couple. So when planning a wedding, I recommend doing the wedding video part “right”.
The activities of the day are so important. but perhaps even more important is the perspective of the couple and families involved. By creating intelligent interview content, the powerful narrative can be exposed and make this production a truly memorable document. One that can help showcase genealogical history first hand.
Go deep into your families history
A great family movie transcends the normal limitations of “sharing” about ones family. It can create a strong emotional impact that can touch even those who don’t know the family. There is a lot that goes into that equation.
Recently, HBO ran the documentary “Ethel” the piece on Ethel Kennedy, done by her daughter Rory. Regardless of politics, this piece is very well done.Through the interviews in the piece, a powerful narrative is carried. The large amount of archival materials available also makes it historically rich.
A strong prototype for us to strive for here at Homage Films. Family ancestry deserves to be documented in a special way. Web sites like ancestry.com are showing the wave of interest that exists from families in exploring their family and documenting family roots. When we take on a family project, we can elevate that story into a powerful historical document worthy of the family name.