Posts Tagged ‘DVD’

Update on Taping Interviews

October 19, 2010

I have an update on the recent blog about keeping interview tapes. I received a note from the son of the lady mentioned in that blog. Follows is an extract from what he wrote, modified only to protect the family’s privacy:

Dear Tom,

The DVD you gave us this past Tuesday night was like a gift from heaven. As I started to watch it, it became like a magnet as the rest of the family began to fill the room.

Remembering my mother’s last dying days with the physical changes all so often present on elderly who are near death was really difficult. The DVD interview was “vintage Mom,” the woman we could all relate to with love and respect. To hear her voice again and see her mannerisms was truly a timely gift to ease the grieving process. The entire family wishes to thank you very much.

I doubt that I have done anything unusual here. That is the point of these blogs. Numerous writers interview elderly people every day and most at least make audiotapes of the sessions. These tapes are little different from the one I gave this family and would likely be as welcomed by other writers’ subjects’ families as this one was. Few people think of taping their loved ones while they are still at their best. It is essential for writers that their subjects be in pretty good condition mentally so that the sessions are worthwhile. An unexpected benefit is that, in many cases, the interviews will be of interest to their loved ones, particularly if the person is talking about themselves or other family members who may have passed.

I strongly suggest to other writers who conduct interviews when researching their books that, when one of the people they have interviewed passes, they give a copy of the interview to the person’s loved ones. It costs very little to do this and you may be providing the family with the only movie they have of that person. They in turn can pass it on to the next generation.

Save those interview tapes

October 13, 2010

I got a lesson today while sitting in a church pew waiting for a funeral to begin. The person being honored was an elderly neighbor who I had interviewed less than a year ago about things that happened when she was a girl. All at once a light came on. It came to me that her children and grandchildren might be interested in having a copy of the interview. Because I videotape interviews whenever I can, I thought I could easily make them a DVD of that interview—if I still had the tape. In the receiving line after the funeral, I asked the lady’s son and daughter if they would like a DVD of the interview. They were receptive to the idea.

Upon returning home, I found the tape and, in less than an hour, made a DVD while tending to other tasks much of the time the computer was churning away. After testing it on our DVD player and TV, it was ready to deliver. So, with little effort on my part, I made something the deceased’s family can have a movie of her as she was before her illness set in. This may be the only movie they have of her. I don’t know but doubt if many people think of taping their loved ones to have such remembrances of them after they’re gone. In this case, the family gets to see her as they would probably like to remember her, talking about things that happened in her youth, about her history, and about life as it was when she was a girl. Based on what has happened in my own family, I think that she likely talked about things that she never thought to tell her children and grandchildren and about which they never thought to ask.

The lesson in this for us writers is to realize that interviews we make might be of interest to the interviewee’s family for reasons very different from our own and that we should take care to preserve our interview tapes just in case.