I delivered a legacy production and got this great email this morning from a friend and StoryKeeping client.
A Legacy Slipping Away
Over three years ago she called me upset that her father was diagnosed with stage four leukemia, and she needed me to capture his legacy as soon as possible. Her father was receiving treatment at a local hospital, so I loaded up my gear and captured his life story over the next three afternoons. He had incredible life experience as a Texas Ranger and his children were my friends, so I did my best to do the stories justice.
A couple months later he had beaten leukemia and the desire to complete his production waned. Who would want to watch a video of someone when you could speak to them live in person? So the footage stayed on my hard drive (and backed up to a cloud-based service, too.)
Three Years Later
Fast forward three years and the leukemia had returned. He was fighting the battle all over again. I brought up the old project file to see where I’d left off before. I didn’t like what I saw. The color work was non-existent. The audio wasn’t nearly as clean as it should’ve been. I wondered why the camera was focused on the wall behind him instead of his eyes then remembered how I relied on autofocus back then. I couldn’t let this footage represent my brand. Plus, the client is a photographer. She’d see every aesthetic mistake I’d made. How embarrassing.
I offered to re-shoot part of the interview, but that never came to fruition. He passed away a few months ago.
Wrapping Things Up
I knew his family was missing him and yet here I was sitting on days worth of interview footage. There was some working around other projects and late nights involved but I finally processed all the footage into chapters and delivered a Standard package via a Google Drive download. This way she could forward the link to her siblings, they could all save the files to their own computers and cloud-based back-ups, and the production would be dispersed for watching and safekeeping. She watched a few clips last night and sent me the email attached to this blog post. I’m incredibly proud of her reaction, and I was a little surprised too.
The production quality was embarrassing, but what I created three years ago is still powerful today. Yes, I’m worlds better as a film maker now than I was before, but the spirit of StoryKeeping was just as strong. I wish I’d delivered a cinematic production on par with my current equipment and skill set, but the StoryKeeping content of three years ago was all I had to give. I’ve learned that was more than enough for my client and friend.
I’m not going to cringe anymore when I look at my work from the past. We can take pride in the things we’ve done well and be more proud of the progress we make since. If I ever look at a project I did three years before and can’t tell how I’ve improved since — that is when I will cringe appropriately. Until then, I will continue to push myself and my equipment to the highest quality legacy productions possible.