For several years now, I have been imagining a service that could be hired to create a documentary about ones life. They would spend time with the person while they curated and acquired the images and videos from their past, engage in conversations with family members and significant figures in that person’s life, and spend extensive time recording stories told by the “star”. The end product would be some sort of documentary that could then be shown to future generations or family members after this person had died.
This is an idea my dad and I came up with several years ago while walking our dog and talking about my 93 year old grandfather. It is something I think about every time I hear a story from my dad’s childhood or about some accomplishment my Gramps made many many years ago. The thought of trying to tackle something so expansive as someone’s life story has always left me feeling overwhelmed and confused as to where to even begin a project like that.
I believe there is a great need for something like Lifeed that captures and archives every moment in someones life nearly autonomously. We all have life changing moments that we remember but for each one we share with our loved ones, there are probably hundreds that we decide aren’t important or simply forgotten.
Not only does our family need to have a way to collect and form the stories that have defined who we are but so does the global population. I don’t think simply writing is enough and in light of the fact that hardly anyone takes the time to journal or actually reflect makes me fear that there will be a moment in time where the story of my generation should be that will simply be blank because we have yet to transition into a more controlled way of documenting our history.
Social media can serve as a way to document who we are but there hasn’t been a clear stance taken on what happens to those profiles when we die. And unfortunately a lot of what people post isn’t even their own content anymore, its all Buzzfeed articles and food recipe videos. I miss the Facebook that was full of people writing statuses about their day or photos of them at events. There must be a place that remains centered around people and their history, untainted by internet memes, junk posts. Our stories are important, it should be easy to share them.
On a less global note.. I believe there is an incredible need for something like Lifeed’s autonomous curation system. I have so many files traveling over so many devices that I honestly just can’t keep up. It’s not yet easy to integrate what we have on our phones, laptops, and tablets. Sure, there’s the “cloud”, but I don’t think it is user friendly enough and the fact that it takes so much work and effort to begin using is a huge barrier for me.
Thinking about how this product would work, look, and more importantly why it would exist has really inspired me to look more into documentary filmmaking. I’ve been entertaining the idea of making a documentary for about a year now but have been stumped about where I should start and what kind of subject matter I should use as a trial to see if I actually want to invest my time and energy in that kind of filmmaking. Lifeed, for me, has been a way to ease some of the initial anxiety I feel about the responsibility I feel as a filmmaker to capture the life story of the people in my life who continue to age and who’s memory has begun to fade too fast.
So where is it going next? I hope to develop the concept a bit further and incorporate animations and actual footage to help communicate all of the aspects of Lifeed. I also hope that I will take the initiative to simply film my family telling stories and interacting with each other over the holiday season.
Thanks for a great lab, Dan! I had a lot of fun exploring this concept!