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Humbled Beginings

Updated: Feb 6, 2023

Stories move people like nothing else can. I have always been enamored by the way that people use stories to pass traditions and history to the next generation and it is this fascination that led me to the development of The Legacy Project. The Legacy Project is an ongoing documentary project recording the stories of my family and friends. Simple enough…right?

This week I reminisce on an interview I had with my Great Grandma Charlotte who passed earlier this year. When I sat down to discuss her life with her I had expectations of how that interview would go. I was hoping for hours of story after story from her past; each one better than the last and the reality is that it was not like that at all. We sat down and talked for an hour or two with only a couple stories that I might be able to use in the final product.

When I went back and watched the videos I realized there was very little useable content. I remember being incredibly disappointed and thinking “what am I supposed to do with this?” Out of all that time it took to take my equipment out there and set it up, I had come home with what felt like nothing to show for it. I wasn’t sure what to do. I had just started this project and was still figuring out the vision for the series. I was hoping that after the first interview I would gain a clearer idea of what the legacy project might look like but after that initial meeting I felt more lost than I had before. I ended up putting the whole project on hold for a while, ultimately deciding that I didn’t have the time. I didn’t pick it back up until about a year ago. As I look back on those two hours, I realize that that was the first and only time in my lifeI had the opportunity to sit down with Charlotte and listen to her talk. No distractions, no other obligations: just me, her and my camera. It was the closest I had ever been to her and while she had difficulty remembering many of the stories it was amazing seeing the things she could remember: the emotions she had on her first day of high school, the house that she grew up in, her parents. It was all still there even if she couldn’t remember it perfectly. I realize that I may have on my hard drive the longest and only documented conversation with Charlotte Beard in existence and that is an incredible honor.

(the Pilot Episode of Legacy)

This legacy project has been a long process and it continues to take on a new shape with every interview I conduct. My catalog continues to grow into this huge, beautiful tree of life and stories that never ceases to surprise me. As we celebrate Great Grandma Charlotte this year, I celebrate the amazing stories and lessons she left me with. Thank you for inspiring this storyteller. I can’t wait to hear you tell me more when I’m able to sit across from you again soon.

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