Parent's Story FAQs

What if my parents are not ready to tell their life story?
What if I don’t have the time to do this?
What if my parents think they don’t have anything interesting to say?
What if my parents don’t like to be on camera?
What if my parent is not a good speaker?
What if my Mom or Dad says something they really don’t want my family to hear?
How much does it cost?
Why do we need a Personal Historian to interview our parents? Wouldn’t it just be better to tape them ourselves?
Why can’t I just write down my family history? Why do I need a video?
What if I want something changed?
How long does it take to make?
How do I know this will be around 10, 20 or 100 years from now?
Do I get more than one DVD?
What if I want to surprise my parents with the story of their lives?

What if my parents are not ready to tell their life story?
Just as posing for a portrait doesn’t mean you’re ready to die, telling your life story doesn’t mean you’re ready for life to end. It’s a celebration of life — a good way to document where you are today, and a great way to pass along wisdom to your family that they actually will pay attention to. Personal histories have been done for people as young as seven years old so they can have a clearer picture of who they were as a child. Just as portraits are taken every few years to reflect changes, you should take a life history picture every few years to reflect the changes. The interview process is often cathartic, can give your family perspective, and can help build bridges between family members and their feelings. Back to top

What if I don’t have the time to do this?
We’ll help you with as much or as little of the project as you need. Our process makes it very easy for you and doesn’t require much time. Back to top

What if my parents think they don’t have anything interesting to say?
Your parents’ stories may not be unusual, but for your family they are the most special stories in the world. They are an important part of your children’s sense of identity. In nearly every interview we do the family learns interesting things they never knew. For possible topics see our content ideas page. Back to top

What if my parents don’t like to be on camera?
If your parents really don’t want to be on camera, we can record their voice and just use pictures. But that limits the impact. We are specialists at making people look good on camera with the correct lighting, makeup and location. But we’re also experts at making people feel comfortable on camera. When they’re comfortable, they look better and come across with confidence. Back to top

What if my parent is not a good speaker?
The stories your parents tell don’t have to be memorized because they are part of them. If they stumble it can be edited out. We’ll only present them at their best. We also have professional talent coaches to help with the interview, questionnaires that will help your parents organize their thoughts, and professional narrators who can assist in telling their story. Back to top

What if my Mom or Dad says something they really don’t want my family to hear?
We’ll review the tape with them after the interview. If they say something they regret, we’ll erase it on the spot and it will be gone for good. Anything they tell us is confidential and will not be repeated without permission. Back to top

How much does it cost?
The price depends upon how much time is required. Fully produced documentaries can cost several thousand dollars depending upon your requirements. See our pricing sheet to get a better idea. If you can’t afford a fully produced documentary right now, consider using our services to record and preserve the interviews with your elders now. Prices start at $688. Back to top

Why do we need a Personal Historian to interview our parents? Wouldn’t it just be better to tape them ourselves?
We’re outsiders to your family. So your parents are more likely to tell us details about stories they might skip for family members. That makes the story more complete and understandable for future generations. If you do it yourself, you’ll likely end up with a “home movie” that won’t be watched very often if at all. If we shoot it you’ll have a broadcast TV quality documentary that your family and friends will want to watch over and over. Back to top

Why can’t I just write down my family history? Why do I need a video?
Writing is good, and can be done in tandem with the video. We can help you there too. But video — and particularly a DVD with Story Tree Technology— is more likely to be viewed by your children now than a book. Most people don’t develop an interest in their family history until they are more than 30 years old. A video also conveys things a book never could – a laugh, the twinkle of an eye, the things that make someone unique. Back to top

What if I want something changed?
Thanks to computers, video editing is now like word processing. Our skilled editors can make most changes in minutes. You’ll have many opportunities to make changes as the project progresses. Back to top

How long does it take to make?
It depends on what you want done. A simple project (interview with minimal production) can be done in a matter of days. A more production-intensive project (half-hour documentary with multiple interviews, music, effects, archival pictures, etc.) will take several weeks. Back to top

How do I know this will be around 10, 20 or 100 years from now?
Unlike photographs, videotapes and written documents, a TimeScape DVD is digital. It can be duplicated repeatedly without degrading the content. While technology may always change (remember vinyl records and beta tapes?) digital content can always be copied to the new technology without losing any resolution. TimeScape also works with local historical societies and libraries to archive a copy of your history so future generations can always find it. Back to top

Do I get more than one DVD?
At least five DVDs are included in the package prices. We can order more for $19.95 per DVD. If you lose your DVD or need more later, we’ll be happy to reprint them for $24.95 each. Back to top

What if I want to surprise my parents with the story of their lives?
We can tell someone’s story without interviewing them. The finished story is generally better when they’re involved. If you want to have that element of surprise and still have your parents involved, we have gift certificates available. We can also create a short “teaser” or “this is your life” DVD that incorporates your family’s stories to go with the gift certificate. We’ll arrange to interview your parents after the surprise gift and create another version of the DVD that incorporates their stories as well. You get to keep both versions of the DVD. Back to top

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