Return The Love - Make A Gift to Pay Back Your Parents

How to Make a "This Is Your Life" Video

Define Chapters

A key to making this work is to break it down into managable parts.  Divide the "This is Your Life" video into several chapters so you can arrange the pictures, videos and songs into smaller pieces.  You can do this with a combination of time-based portions and some cross-cutting parts.  For my mom's video, I used the following, which you may want to consider:

 Example of PowerPoint slide that serves as introduction to each chapter of the video.

  1. "Hometown Scenes" - I started the video with a series of pictures from my mom's small hometown.  I got photos from old postcards I found through a Google search to create an opening sequence of pictures that started the video without giving it away right away on what it was.  I put the video in and said something like "this is a documentary I saw that I think you will like."  Because she wasn't expecting a video of her life, the opening pictures were enough to pique her interest without giving away the subject of the video right away.  I used a symphony-type song (Theme from "Love Story" by Henry Mancini) as an instrumental to accompany these pictures. At the end of the introduction, I had a title slide show up with  my mom's name and a "Story of  Your Life"  type subtitle.
  2. "A Little Girl Arrives" - The first chapter after the introduction was a series of photos starting from her earliest baby photo all the way through photos from her childhood.
  3. "High School Days" - Next chapter was a series of photos from her high school days, featuring many I scanned from her high school yearbooks. 
  4. "College Days" - Next chapter featured a series of photos from the city where she went to college followed by photos from her college years.
  5. "Enter Prince Charming" - Next chapter featured pictures of when mom met and dated dad, up through their wedding.
  6. "Starting a Family" - this chapter featured pictures of mom starting a family.  It also included pictures of the first home and hometown my parents lived in.
  7. "Moving" - this chapter featured pictures of the city they moved to and ended up settling down in for many years.  It included pictures of the family growing up, including high school sports pictures and such.
  8. "Friends Forever" - this chapter was a "catch all" to show pictures of the friends my mom has had over her life.
  9. "Family Ties" - this chapter was a "catch all" to show pictures of my mom's family outside of her own kids and husband.  I started by showing pictures of her ancestors as far back as I had and then included her brother and sister and their families.
  10. "The Nest Empties" - this chapter included pictures of my brothers as they graduated high school and college and got married.
  11. "World Traveler" - this chapter was a "catch all" to include pictures from all the trips my mom had done over the years
  12. "The Senior Olympics" - I created this chapter to include all the nice pictures I had gotten from our family skiing trips over the years.  The title highlighted the fact that my parents had picked up skiing after they entered their fifties.
  13. "Grandma-hood" - this chapter featured all the pictures I had of my brother's kids and mom spending time with them.
  14. "The End ... At Least for the First 65 Years" - this title slide was the closing after the pictures of her as a grandma
  15. "Credits" - the final chapter was a series of slides to let her know how many folks contributed to her "This Is Your Life" video in different ways.  I created a PowerPoint slide for each person with a picture of them from way back with a recent photo to show the change over time.  I focused on including pictures that included her wherever possible.  I also inserted text to show what these people did to help put the slideshow together and to indicate what they thought about mom.  The final slides were a dedication to mom telling her how much she meant to all of us and how this video was an attempt to let her know that.  Below is an example of how you can build credit slides by using PowerPoint and then saving the slide as a JPG picture file.

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