Document your Life

Everyone has a story in them. With smart phones it is now easier than ever to document our stories. I have been making films for the past ten years. Eight years ago filmmaking became accessible to more people than it had ever been before. A couple years ago I did a daily vlog challenge for one hundred days. I work nine to five and life is pretty ordinary for me. The high points are when I go on trips, when I sit down to write, and when I work on a film. Despite the improvements in my storytelling, better camera angles, and better editing my daily vlog never took off. I didn’t really think it would because it was more of an experiement than anything else. I think my editing skills vastly improved from editing a vlog every day and trying to make that footage interesting.

But in our lives, there are moments that can often be engaging or have high story value.

When I was in my twenties, I lived on a couch in a green room at a theater in New York for several months. Ten years ago I went through the process of kidney donation to help my Mom. Seven years ago I went to a major film festival for the first time.

I cherish those memories and those experiences have helped inform my life. But aside from a few pictures, for the most part none of that is documented. It happened before I picked up my first iPhone and it happened years before I made any attempts at vlogging.

As a writer, I can always take those stories and fictionalize them or use those experiences to inform a story that has little to do with what actually happened in my life. In the past six months I’ve gotten more interested in telling the story of my kidney donation. There are a lot of aspects of that time in my life that I think others would find interesting. And I know that there are thousands of people every year who are going through that process. There are a lot of moments from that time in my life that I wish I had a camera rolling. That’s footage that could have been used to help tell the story I want to tell now.

If you are a filmmaker and you haven’t tried a daily vlog, consider trying to do a vlog for a week, just to see what kinds of stories you can thread out from your own life. And as you live your life, just like a writer should keep a pad of paper at the ready, I think it is a good idea to be able to document what’s happening to you in the moment. We all cope with big life events in different ways. If you document the big life events, you may also have a story to tell years later and the footage to tell it.

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