Watch how we made Paddy’s film package:
Step 1 – The Scoping Session
We meet the person living with dementia (our star) and their family at home, ideally at an early stage of the illness. We have a conversation about the person’s life and what biographical material is available in the family archives.
The star of the film should determine themselves what parts of their lives are most worth remembering. There needs to be a sufficient amount of stills and video to cover these chapters.
The star and the filmmaker agree on up to 10 chapters. Each of them will be roughly three minutes long in the film.
Chapters could be: Childhood, Youth, First Love, Job, Sport, Travel, Marriage, Children, Grandchildren, and Hobbies.
Step 2 – Preparation
The family now has time to collect the material for the individual chapters and to bring it to the film star’s house. It should be sorted into a time line and marked with as much information as possible for the filmmaker. If special equipment is needed, (e.g. a slide or 8mm projector) we can be of assistance.
The star and the family should familiarize themselves with the material and talk about it ahead of the filming day to trigger memories.
Music tracks need to be chosen, either personal favourites or classics from the period. Soundtracking the film has proved to be particularly important as music often creates an emotional context for the images.
Step 3 – Filming Days
The Filming Day has to be planned carefully with the family, all depending on how active and fit the star is.
The collected material needs to be screened and recorded by the filmmaker first. This can take several hours and does not need the presence of the film star. A family member should assist the filmmaker.
The next step is to interview the star. The main interview should be filmed portrait style and should ideally not feature other people in shot. The person with dementia might feel more comfortable having a family member with them though.
Further interviews with spouses, children or other family members and friends will be done afterwards.
If required and subject to schedule the home environment of the star could be filmed: the favourite pub, landscapes nearby or other points of interest. Filming takes 1-2 days depending on the number of interviews.
Step 4 – The Edit
Once all materials are collected and interviews are done the filmmaker will go away and cut the My Life Film.
There will be two versions of the film for different purposes.
1. The Life Story
A 30 minute biographical film in ten chapters, featuring all biographical material, interviews and with a strong focus on music. This Time Line film will be used in the later stages of dementia when the person struggles with following coherent narratives.
2. The Short Film
A short 3-5 minute portrait of the film star for the benefit of carers to get a quick idea of who they are looking after.
Step 5 – Delivery
The films will be delivered on DVD with as many copies as requested. The delivery date is roughly two weeks after filming.
Furthermore each protagonist will have a dedicated digital space containing their film which can only be accessed with a code. This means that the films can be watched on any digital device as long as it is connected to the internet.
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