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Documentary / Interview with my grandma


For years Ive wanted to create an interview style documentary about my grandmother and her life. Ive been wanting to do it for years for my grandma and grandpa but sadly my grandfather passed away recently and now I regret not being able to do it.

I want to do an interview with her along with my aunts and uncles so I can infuse their experiences with her into the one short. I will ask them all about their favorite moments with her as well as other questions.

I would also ask a moment like what was the craziest thing that happened to you growing up? I would take my aunt or uncles response and ask my grandma about the situation and have her talk about it.

Im trying to think of questions that I could ask her. Can you think of a general question that I can ask?

Also do any of you have any advice for me? I think I have the all the gear that I would need, I just have to buy a dedicated microphone to backup my rode videomicpro.

I would really appreciate any help!
I had a very similar experience. My grandpa died before I got that done and boy was I, and others, regretful. Eventually I did get it done with my grandma. But I didn't use any of the fancy equipment ITers use today. I just had a VHS camcorder and its on-board microphone. My parents and sister were there to participate and help. I still need to convert it to DVD or something.

You'd think I and my sister would have learned the lesson, but we still failed to get a video interview etc of our parents before they went. That was much sooner than anyone expected. So I also recommend you at least start to think about doing the same thing with your parents...someday, even if they're still fairly young. And like you've said, perhaps with aunts and uncles or whoever is important in your lives and to your memories.

Do you mean you want to interview your grandmother separately and then with other family? That's how I'd recommend you do it.

I haven't watched it since shortly after I made it. I don't even have a VCR today. I'm also afraid that I did an embarrassing job of it. Hopefully not. Got to stop procrastinating and address that.

I just thought about their lives. I thought about the historical background of their lives. I knew they had lived through things like WWI and WWII, the Great Depression, etc. So I asked her about their experiences during those times. It might have helped that I was a history major and fresh out of college at the time, I think it was. So I was all about trying to get historical perspective along with the personal. But you might take a different approach, whatever's right for you and your family.

Having said that about the historical settings, I tried to make sure it was most of all an interview about her life. So I started at the beginning. Who are you? When were you born? Who were your parents? Siblings? We started with her childhood and moved on from there. Where did you go to school? What was school like? Whom did you marry? I asked her what life was like during its different periods. I tried to ask her anything from the nitty-gritty, like how did they wipe their bums (I knew people weren't always able to go to the supermarket and buy nice, soft prepackaged toilet paper), to what she thought of the politics of the day. And I think like with any human interest interview, you hope that she'll mention interesting things as you go along which you can follow up on, pry deeper into, if warranted. So I came prepared with notes of things I could ask her, but always wanted to be willing and happy to follow whatever interesting things might come up.

One thing I was keen on getting was her to talk about family long gone, people we cannot interview anymore, and perhaps about whom no one else can tell us, no one else but her. So we were glad to hear her tell us about Grandpa, her parents, uncles, aunts, siblings, etc, all those people perhaps lost to time except in birth and death and marriage records etc. But they were still in her living memory, memory which might live on for at least a little while longer in the recorded keepsakes we can create this way.

So, for example, doing this with her will be a great opportunity for you to get her to tell you about your late grandfather. Sorry for you loss, by the way. :(

Don Patterson recently shared this with us. I think it's great.

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