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How-To 5 tips for recording compelling stories

A couple recording their story about moving in together.

You want your life story to be compelling – that goes without saying. You want your family to have a few laughs and maybe even shed a tear or two while they listen to you. 

But putting too much emphasis on telling an engaging story can get in the way of getting started. And that’s a shame, because your story deserves to be told. 
Remember, your family may have not heard these stories before. And because they love you, they’ll feel connected to your story right off the bat – no matter what you share. 

With that being said, if you’re worried about recording a boring video story, there are many ways for you to mix it up! 

Here are 5 ways to make your video life story more compelling.

1. Prepare your answer before you record

Camera shy? Don’t worry, we get it! It can be daunting talking in front of a camera. We find it helps to prepare your answers before you hit record. 
Write down the questions you or your family have chosen then brainstorm the points you want to mention in your answer. You can use these notes for cues, or turn them into written answers you can refer back to. 
Preparation makes recording less stressful and helps you stay on topic, making for a more confident and concise story. 

2. Visit a landmark from the past

Location is everything. It sets the scene and gives your audience context. It's also an easy way to make your video more meaningful. 
Where did you live as a child? What streets hold significance? Visiting locations from the past will evoke memories and give you an opportunity to point out details in the area and colour them with your story. 

If you don’t live in your hometown, you can pick a more recent landmark, e.g. where you first moved when you arrived or where you like to spend your time. 
Can’t think of anywhere significant? Head to the park and tell your story while you sit under a tree. 

3. Show and tell 

You don’t have to rely on storytelling techniques to record a compelling video. Memories are often bound up in sentimental objects, and these can be a great talking point. You can show photos, clothes or memorabilia. You could describe what was happening in a photo, or reminisce on when an heirloom was given to you. The possibilities are endless. 

Showing and telling adds another layer of meaning for family members who may have seen the object before, but weren’t aware of its significance.

4. Play a song that means something to you

You know when you’re driving and a song starts playing on the radio and you’re suddenly thinking about your past?
“Songs from the past can stir powerful emotions and transport us back in time,” says Tiffany Jenkins from the BBC, and she’s right! So why not use music in your video? 
If you’re recording a video for your kids, perhaps you can remind them of their favourite childhood songs with a mini sing-a-long.
If you’re recording a video for your anniversary, play music from your wedding and describe what you felt during the first dance. Music sets the scene and infuses more emotion into your story. 

5. Get a friend or family member to do a cameo

Why not invite a friend or family member to answer a question with you? You can look back on memories you share together.
Sharing two perspectives gives more context to the viewer, and helps you remember experiences more vividly, which makes for a better story. Plus, you’ll probably have a great laugh!

When in doubt

Did you watch your video back and think it wasn't up to scratch? Remember you can review and record as many times as you like! Sometimes it takes a few retakes to get your story right. 

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Ready to record your story?

Video storytelling was never that easy. Add as many questions as you want and start telling your story now.

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Tammie Winward

Tammie Winward

Founder, Memwah

Is on a mission to let people know they matter. She firmly believes that every story deserves to be heard and is dedicated to ensuring that no tale goes untold.