What do San José, Costa Rica; Albany, New York; and Mérida, Mexico all have in common? I know, that’s a very cryptic rhetoric question so I will tell you the answer: those locations were the last three places where Emotivo Productions created our most recent legacy videos. What is a legacy video you ask?
A legacy video is a short documentary (usually under 20 minutes) primarily starring seniors or people with potentially terminal diseases that want to leave their story behind for their family and friends. A legacy video is a showcase of that person’s journey on Earth, chronicling all different stages of their life, including their childhood, teenage years, adulthood and milestones of all shapes and sizes. Along with these key points, a legacy video also explores deeper questions of humanity as expressed by a wise and experienced person, all conveyed with empathy and insight by one of our skilled storytellers.
Legacy videos are of particular interest to me because I love people and love to understand my fellow humans better. Learning from their perspective and entering their unique world is such a tremendous and enriching gift to me. I have learned so much from my grandparents and senior friends and family members. Our older loved ones have so much to offer all of us and, unfortunately, their words are sometimes taken for granted (think, “here’s grandma telling us that story for the millionth time”). Worse still is if we think we will always have another opportunity to interact and be with them. Until that opportunity is taken away from us by the unpredictable nature of life and death.
During the process of filming a legacy video, I am exposed to the daily lives and routines of senior citizens or terminally ill patients. This can be a vulnerable process for people and I am grateful to earn the trust of my subjects. I remember a time filming a gentleman I was doing a video for a few years ago where it was just he and I in his room. He had just finished showering and I was just there, camera in hand, filming him doing what many would consider “menial” tasks. Things as simple as shaving, applying aftershave, combing his hair, putting on his shirt, taking his daily pills, spraying a dash of cologne and finally, slowly, walking out of his room towards the kitchen. I remember feeling embarrassed to be a fly on the wall in those moments, thinking, “Why am I capturing these intimate, quiet moments? How did I earn this when many people in his own family have probably never seen him do these things?”
Those feelings were immediately juxtaposed with excitement and exhilaration and I remember thinking, “Most people have never been able to get a glimpse of this man’s life in this way. Most people haven’t seen how his frail arms struggle to put on his shirt. Most people haven’t seen the difficulty he experiences while attempting to shave. Many have never seen how he looks at his reflection in the bathroom mirror and catch a small glimpse into his inner world”. I was beside myself with the honor of producing such a film and hooked forevermore to produce as many of these videos as I could.
Legacy videos are a very sobering and cathartic experience for my clients, especially after their loved ones have passed away. After my 96 year old grandmother passed last year, I edited a 20 minute video for her with footage I had previously taken. I premiered the video over Zoom for all my family. What followed were tears, laughter, anecdotes, connection and a deep sense of joy. We recognized how lucky we were to had been a part of her life’s journey. I felt awe and gratitude. I want to facilitate that for all the people that hire Emotivo Productions to create a legacy video for their loved one.
We take on these projects with deep respect and appreciation, and know they will leave in you and in your family an indelible impression of love, gratitude and acceptance.