Two Asian children making a video with smartphone. Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Why video? One reason is that young people are becoming wired for it and if we want to reach them, we have to meet them where they are. Really, though, for all humans the combination of music, images, and story is irresistible. Video can stir emotion in ways that the individual elements cannot. That is why, even though we are writers and sort of went kicking and screaming into this realm, we are hooked now. Here are six ideas using Animoto (a paid service) and Adobe Spark video (free).

Get started making easy, engaging stories to share! Warning, making video stories can be addicting.

Related article: Animoto tutorial and review

1. Oral history + Photos = A Great Story

When you have audio recorded in a person’s own words, it is a powerful trigger of emotion. The voice intimately conveys a personality. You can combine an oral history interview with photos to make an easy slide show, almost like a video scrapbook. If you do not have audio previously recorded, consider conducting an interview! Read how by clicking here.

We made the above video using Animoto.

2. Tell about a Moment that changed your life

Make a video telling the story of a moment that helped make you who you are, about someone who believed in you, or a time you experienced a miracle. The story aspect of this type of video makes it more compelling than just a slide show.

I made the above video using Adobe Spark. It’s free and easy to use.

Related: Here’s a link to a quick Adobe Spark Video tutorial I put together

3. Bring local or family history to life with video

This is a local history piece I did using photos from university archives, public domain video clips, and narrated in my voice. Made with Animoto.

4. Make new memories with an old tradition

Ever wonder how to get the next generation interested in a family recipe or tradition? Invite them to star in your how-to video while telling them the story behind the tradition. Trust me, they will cherish the experience and the tradition will become dear to them, cemented for life.

I made the above dumpling video using Animoto and my iPad.

5. Honor someone you love with a video scrapbook

Want to add a special touch at an important event? Perhaps you want to give an act of service for a holiday and creating a video for someone you love would be more meaningful than buying stuff. If so, try making a video scrapbook. Here is an example of one I put together for my best girlfriend’s birthday. Made with a “memories” template from Animoto.

6. Enlist your child or grandchild to help

When you work with children to create a video, it utilizes their skills and brings you together. My five-year-old often sees me working on the computer, and I decided to let her make a video of our family last vacation using Animoto. I uploaded all the photos and video clips, then let her choose the ones she wanted. She narrated each slide in her own voice. It turned out really cute, and showed her personality. I got a real kick out of the pics she chose that were different than the ones I would have inserted.  She went for funny and silly, where I typically look for the most flattering shots of everyone. Also, research shows that vacations become cemented in children’s memories as “happiness anchors” through storytelling, photos and scrapbooks. Note that I am not posting that video of my daughter out of respect for her since it’s hers alone and not for sharing, but here is another example we created after Halloween a while back.

Related article: Family vacations create great stories

7. Tell a story of a building or a place

Buildings and towns have great tales too. We used a storyboard to map out the lifecycle arc of our Queen Anne Victorian, and brought it to live with Animoto. I narrated this in my own voice.

Related article: How to storyboard

8. Bring emotion to an ancestor’s tale

Here we animated audio from an oral history interview. Adding professional narration adds a lot of polish. There are services that let you choose voice actors, and it’s not that expensive.

If you want something like this video above, we’d be happy to help. Click here to contact us. You can learn to do it yourself, but how to make a video of this type is beyond the scope of this article.

9. Make an animated short of a personal story

Check out StoryCorps for inspiration because they made this medium popular. Below is a video that my husband made after our friend Bill Cook told us this story about his life during a holiday gathering at his home. It touched our hearts, and this video soon followed.

There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to learn how to do a video like the one above but it requires some tools, skills and  a price tag. It’s a bit involved but we can do a video like this for you. Click here to talk with us.

10. Take a class about how to make videos, storyboard or write your story!

Watch for upcoming classes on telling family stories and making videos. Click here for the latest.

Rhonda Lauritzen
Rhonda Lauritzen

Rhonda Lauritzen is the founder and an author at Evalogue.Life – Tell Your Story. Rhonda lives to hear and write about people’s lives, especially the uncanny moments. She and her husband weave family and business together. She especially enjoys unplugging in nature. Check out her latest books How to Storyboard. and Remember When, the inspiring Norma and Jim Kier story.


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