We recently finished the first part of a personal documentary for my grandmother (aka Nanny) with James Lee, Founder and CEO of Legacy Project Studios. The experience was amazing and I thought I would share some of it on this day—Nanny’s 84th birthday and Mother’s Day!
I’ve known James since our college days at TLU in Seguin, Texas — but only recently have we been able to work together on creative projects. I sincerely recommend that EVERYONE try and do this type of project with a family member. I would have never thought to research and source something like this myself; but, after talking to James last year, I approached him about making one of these for Nanny.
We live in a world that is saturated with visual stimulation (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, etc.). We’re bombarded with it daily, but our memories and experiences are scattered digitally across multiple devices and platforms. Even with all those special photos and video clips saved on our phones and laptops, it’s hard to think about organizing them into a personal documentary or even keeping them in chronological order.
When James told me about the purpose and mission of Legacy Project Studios — essentially to help families preserve their stories through film — I couldn’t think of a better person to start with than Nanny. The premise is simple. Collect and document important stories from an individual’s life and pull that together in a full length film supplemented with photos and interviews with friends and family members. As simple as this may sound, it is a much larger undertaking than you would think! I couldn’t have pulled this off without the knowledge and expertise that James brought to the table.
Aside from me looking through some old photos, James was able to coordinate the rest for us. He spent a few hours here and there with Nanny at her house. He was able to get footage of the home she’s lived in for 30+ years and then sat down with her for some personal interviews.
We even held a family dinner where he could get footage of Nanny cooking her famous chicken and dumplings and interacting with her kids, grandkids and great grandkids. This stuff was priceless. On top of that, he also recorded some interviews with the kids and grandkids documenting some of our favorites memories.
I’ve always had a special connection with my Nanny. Fearless, unfiltered and just fun to be around, Nanny taught me to be myself at a very young age. We all have our ‘Nannyisms’ and one liners from her throughout the years, but by doing this project, we now have footage that can be passed down from generation to generation.
As I get older, I realize just how important family, traditions, and our stories are. My grandpa (aka Poppy) passed away so suddenly two years ago that we never got to sit down and record anything with him. I know Poppy is up in heaven watching over us, but I’d do anything to be able to sit down and talk to him one more time.
A very special and heartfelt thank you to James and Legacy Project Studios for producing such a great film and spending the time to get to know our family and Nanny. I hope to add to the film over the years. My advice to everyone is to begin a project like this at your house now! Don’t wait until your 80’s to start! If anyone wants to see the full length version of Nanny’s film, just message me and I’ll send you a link!