The 8 Millimeter StrangersWritten by Stepper McCrery
When his father passed away my husband inherited a box full of 8mm film and a projector. For the first few years of our marriage, we’d pull out the box and project the films onto our living room wall, watching the jumpy film tell stories we didn’t know about people we knew we loved, but didn’t know their names.
William always wanted to do something more with the film. 8mm film has a distinct flavor and personality, which teased my husband’s design sense.
So he spliced together interesting sections from the films, added facts about important events of the era, and created this:
I don’t know about you, but based on the preview, I’d go see that movie.
Working so closely with the films made us both intensely curious about the stories of the people we saw. What was the significance of the moments captured that made someone call, ‘quick! Grab the camera!’? What were they saying to each other with their vintage smiles and their moustaches and time-faded bright red lipstick?
Then William had an idea (he’s rather brilliant, that man of mine). He’d bring the 8mm films and the projector to our family reunion this fall. He’d grab screenshots from the films and print them. He’d lay the prints out on a table with pens – and as his family watched the videos, he’d have them write everything they knew on the printouts.
Eventually, he’ll go back and re-work the films, adding pause frames and labels so the films can tell the stories we crave to know.
Film is an easy and organic way to tell our story. Whether we are using films we already have (like William) to tell the stories of our past or we are filming something now (babies first step? Birthday? Graduation?)—the immediacy of picture and sound is a compelling way to share and preserve who we are.
And we’d like to show you how, with one question—and 2 minutes a day, a week, or even a month!—you can tell your tale in a way that’s simple, meaningful and fun!
Stepper grew up in the desert, but is a child of the rain. She lost her heart to Seattle (both to the place and to the boy who grew up there). She loves to write and draw, and used to get in trouble for doodling all over her homework. She graduated with a Bachelors degree in English Literature from Utah State University. She loves to sing, play the violin and guitar, and is learning the mandolin. She bakes a mean spice cake with pinoche icing, hates caramel, and has a real thing for old keys. But her very most favorite thing in the whole world is her cute husband and three amazing kids.
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