nine tips for creating your story show

  1. What story are you telling? Celebrating a milestone like a 50th wedding anniversary? Honoring an event like a graduation or baby’s first year? Simply reminding everyone what fun they’ve had at past family reunions?  Remembering a life well-lived? Think about who is involved in the story. Who are the main characters? Who else plays a significant role, either large or small? Answers to these questions will help you decide on pictures, music and any text you want to include as well as how you organize the pictures.
  2. Where will the story be told?– Will the show be presented at a public or private event?
    • Public – as in a large party: Keep it short and lively – 8-12 min – and include pictures of people who will be present.
    • Private – as in an intimate gathering: Can be longer but not more than 30 min. and can be more emotionally varied. Be sure all in attendance are pictured in the show.
    • Both:  often you can make a shorter “public” show from a longer “private” show.
  3. Use the best quality pictures you can find. Look for well-lit shots that are in focus. Also use a variety of shots – candid and posed, singles and groups, joyful and thoughtful. Close-ups, as long as they are good quality, can be particularly effective. Also remember that horizontal shots fill  screens; vertical shots have a “black border” on the left and right. Use both for variety.
  4. How do the pictures best tell the story? Is the story really chronological? Probably, but perhaps it also could be told through events like vacations and birthdays or by using interesting groupings of pictures (pictures of Mom and daughter at same age, or everyone standing in the same spot over time.) Sometimes, especially for short pieces, showing pictures randomly can be refreshing and effective.
  5. Decide on music that is important to those whom you are celebrating or honoring. Consider music from their past or current lives – “that’s our song!,” a favorite artist or a favorite genre of music. You may have to do a bit of inquiry. In all cases, make sure the lyrics are what you want to say and that you are comfortable with them. Choose a mixture of moods – from upbeat and fun to slower and heartfelt.
  6. Are there other sources of content - audio tapes of voices, video, newspaper clippings, invitations? The addition of voices and moving images can really enhance the show and other printed material is a good counterpoint to all the pictures.
  7. Consider what you want to say in the opening and closing of the show and if you’d like any poems, quotations or other text during the show. Remember it should be short and easy to read.
  8. Plan more time than you think you need. These types of projects should be savored and most people find themselves more involved in the content than they’d imagined. It is too bad to have to rush to meet a deadline and not enjoy the process. (There is no harm in getting the project done early!)
  9. Take the time to record where the content goes AFTER the show is made – back to your sister, in the baby album etc. It will make things much easier for you when it’s over.