What would you share if you had to tell your story? While most of us won’t be the subject of any feature-length documentaries on the big screen, we can still create legacy videos to honor the stories of the ones we love.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Is a Legacy Video?
- Legacy Video Questions for Parents
- Legacy Video Questions for Grandparents
- Funny Legacy Video Questions
- Deep Legacy Video Questions
A legacy video is a short, personal film or documentary made by close friends and family. It’s a way to show a loved one’s story and accomplishments. This is commonly done with older relatives nearing the end of their lives as a way to capture their memories, stories, and personality.
When you craft a legacy video, you need to know the right questions. Simply asking someone to tell their story is intimidating, and you might not get the full scope. However, the right question opens a world of possibilities. The rest comes naturally. Here are the best questions to ask in a legacy video about yourself, a loved one, or anyone important in your life.
What Is a Legacy Video?
First and foremost, what is a legacy video? As explained above, a legacy video is a type of documentary that shares someone’s highlights or accomplishments. It features the person’s own voice, as well as the commentary of friends and family, to show the big picture of someone’s life.
Each person has their own story to tell and memories to relive. Sometimes these are the most invaluable things passed on after someone’s gone. While written memories and photographs are a powerful form of remembrance, hearing stories in someone’s own words means the world to families.
Legacy videos can also help with the grieving process. Not only does it help someone be remembered, but it’s something families can continue looking back on for years to come. Over time, memories are harder to access. A video brings these individuals to life beyond the grave.
You don’t need anything fancy to create a legacy video. A simple camera (even your phone’s camera will do) and the right questions are the ticket to telling someone’s story. To spark your inspiration, here are our favorite legacy video questions to ask those in your life.
Legacy Video Questions for Parents
If you’re close to your parents, you likely feel you know them very well. Still, your regular conversations are likely focused on the little things—what’s happening at the moment, family, and career updates.
Taking a few minutes to ask deeper, more profound questions is when we truly glimpse who they are as individuals. These legacy video questions below are perfect for your parents or guardians.
1. What were you like in high school?
While your parents likely remember exactly what you were like in high school, turn the tables on them with this question. High school is a pivotal moment in every person’s life, and it’s when individuals go from children to adults.
What was your parent like in high school? Were they the prom queen, football star, classroom scholar, theater geek, or none of the above?
2. Who inspired you the most growing up?
The people we admire show a lot about who we are. Whether we admire a family member, celebrity, or scholar, this question shines a light on the person we want to be and what we want to do. Who inspired your parents?
3. What was the best trip of your life?
Vacations and traveling experiences define who we are and impact us in more ways than we can list. Whether your parents were avid travelers or stayed close to home, what traveling experiences marked them the most?
4. What was the biggest “fork” in the road in your life?
Everyone faces decisions, and these “forks” in our paths take us in different directions for better or worse. As Robert Frost famously said, he “took the road less traveled, and that has made all the difference.”
What paths have your parents taken, and how have these decisions changed who they are? Do they have any regrets?
5. Where is the favorite place you have lived?
If your parents have lived in multiple places, ask them about their experience. Which home stood out to them the most, and what did they like about their hometown? The places we love are a part of us, so this is an important question.
6. When did you know you wanted to marry my mom/dad?
For those with married parents, asking about this relationship can be very eye-opening. You likely already know how your parents met, but when did they know they found the person they wanted to marry?
No matter how the relationship turned out, who doesn’t love hearing about blooming love? Ask more about what stood out to them and drew them to their significant other.
Legacy Video Questions for Grandparents
Your grandparents can be an amazing resource for family history and how the world has changed in a short amount of time. The options below are great questions for your grandparent’s memory book, and they’re also perfect for legacy videos.
7. What’s the biggest thing that’s changed since your childhood?
While it’s likely that many things have changed since your grandparents were young, what is the biggest thing they can think of? Perhaps it’s the rise of the internet or changing societal norms. Either way, this is sure to be an enlightening question.
8. What was the most important thing your parents taught you?
The lessons taught in your grandparent’s time might be different from the lessons children learn today, but they’re still just as valuable. Connect with the generations before you by asking for the best advice from your great-grandparents to your grandparents.
9. What’s something about our heritage that you want future generations to know?
If your grandparents are immigrants or deeply connected to their cultural heritage, what would they like to pass down to future generations? Culture and heritage are part of what keeps a family together.
10. What is something you learned later in life?
As the saying goes, wisdom comes with age. Is there anything your grandparents learned later in life that they want to pass along to you now? While you might still need time to understand the true meaning behind their words, these wise messages are a gift in themselves.
11. What historical events surprised you?
You might already know history from the books, but it’s much different hearing it in someone’s own words.
If your grandparents lived through some big moments in history, what stood out to them the most? From wars to social changes, ask them to set the stage for these moments in time.
12. What’s your life’s mantra?
No matter who your grandparents are, they’ve likely adopted their own philosophy on life by this point. They might always vow to think before they talk or to always have fun. Either way, these old-school philosophies are often deeper than they appear.
Funny Legacy Video Questions
What would be the fun of a legacy video without some laughs? Humor is one of the many languages of life, so don’t be afraid to break the mold and be a bit silly with these questions below.
13. What would be the theme song of your life?
From “Bad to the Bone” to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” what theme song reminds them of their life? You might be surprised by their answer, and it’s sure to lead to some creative ideas.
14. If you could star in one TV sitcom, what would it be?
Our favorite entertainment also says a lot about us. Would your loved one prefer to be a cast member on Friends or The Office? These silly questions are perfect ice breakers, and they’re also a powerful way to reveal someone’s interests.
15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
We’ve heard all the classics: pop star, astronaut, fireman, and celebrity. What did your loved one want to be when they were growing up? The more outrageous, the better. Compare this to their actual career for a round of laughs.
16. What food do you dislike the most?
Even the most adventurous eaters have something they don't like. It’s only natural, but the answer might surprise you. From peas to waffles, what food does your loved one dislike the most and why?
17. If you could have dinner with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
We all know this question, but the answer is one of the most intriguing. Whether your loved one would like to sit next to their favorite celebrity, a historical figure, or a deceased loved one, it’s interesting to see who they pick.
18. If you won the lottery, what would you spend the money on first?
Who doesn’t like to fantasize about winning the lottery? While it’s unlikely to happen, if they won the lottery, what would they spend the money on first? Will they spend it on themselves, family, debt, or the trip of a lifetime?
Deep Legacy Video Questions
Finally, don’t be afraid to dive deep with your questions. These deeper questions below are the best questions to ask older adults if you want to discover who they are and how they see the world.
19. What’s your best childhood memory?
Our childhoods define who we are, and these memories are sometimes stronger than we know. What’s your loved one’s best childhood memory that puts a smile on their face? These aren’t always the big memories. They’re often the small, intimate moments that really affect who we are.
20. What’s your biggest accomplishment?
Accomplishments take many different forms. They can be career goals, family achievements, or even just finding happiness in small things. What is your loved one’s greatest accomplishment in his or her own opinion?
21. What would be your perfect day?
Everyone has their own idea of the perfect day, and this is when we see what someone is like when they’re totally relaxed. What would your loved one’s ideal day look like? What would they do, and who would they do it with?
22. What’s your biggest fear?
Though it might be an intimidating question, everyone is afraid of something. It could be something physical, like spiders, or something intangible, like failure. What is your loved one most afraid of, and has this fear affected their life in any way?
23. Do you have any regrets?
Regrets are a natural part of life. In many ways, they’re a sign of a life lived to the fullest. Does your loved one regret anything? If so, what would they change? Most importantly, how would they like others to learn from their missteps?
24. How do you want to be remembered?
Last but not least, how do they want the ones they love to remember them? What does legacy look like to them, and how do they want to be honored when they’re no longer here?
Everyone wants to know they’ll be remembered when they’re gone. They also want to be remembered on their own terms — the clearer, the better.
Be a Legacy Storyteller
You don’t need any special skills or talents to create a legacy video for someone you love. When armed with the right questions, you’re ready to share exactly who they are and what they mean to you.
Whether you’re creating a legacy video for a close friend or an aging relative, don’t be afraid to dive below the surface. Giving someone the platform to be their own storyteller is a powerful gift, not only to the world but to the ones who love them most.