The Story Your Children Should Never Forget…Your Own

Steven Spielberg once said that part of the reason he tells stories in his films is to leave something behind for his children. Stories, which can bring tears one minute and a smile the next, become a thread connecting one generation to another. This same purpose impassions Greg Schlueter and his ID Video Productions team. Their DVD Legacy productions are personalized, A&E Biography-quality films which beautifully transform a family's story into an heirloom of faith to be passed along from generation to generation. Now for the first time ever, your family has the opportunity to have its own history preserved on film by a professional production team.

IDVidPro-Web-Low.gifDVD Legacy films go beyond cinematic excellence. These productions find their roots in the years Schlueter spent in dynamic Catholic ministry. This time of service awakened him to the "modern-day identity crisis." Schlueter, now married and the father of six, explains that people of our time have forgotten who they are.  "Media has an unequivocal capacity to form people's ‘id.' If it's not Imago Dei [the image of God], it'll be MTV."

With this insight, he founded a film company seven years ago and stamped the "ID" mission into the name. ID Video Productions has the mission of helping individuals and organizations connect their identity to the Imago Dei. "All we do derives from who we are. The ultimate drama for any family is their own story. That is the sanctuary where we encounter God," he says. Sadly, he explains, most of us don't realize this until family members are gone.

A family typically begins considering a DVD Legacy production at a family gathering, when children and grandchildren are gathered and the eldest members begin sharing their stories. The children and grandchildren find themselves saying, "We have to capture these stories while they're still alive and, all humor aside, lucid." That's when a family member typically contacts Greg.

The pre-production stage typically doesn't take more than an hour or two. Grandparents are provided with a simple sheet to help them record the basic history and identify key stories per era — where their grandparents and parents came from, where they were born, where they grew up, school, married life, and so on. A weekend is then scheduled for the film crew to come in and capture the grandparents telling of the stories. The result is a 90-minute DVD that blends the story telling with treasured family photos, video and music.

Schlueter observes that people are initially intimidated by the thought of the process, but once they dive in, the process is as moving as the final result. "Families are transformed as they commonly reconnect with their roots, the common stories that define them," he notes. Once the filming is complete there are almost always tears and an overwhelming sense of fulfillment and completion — with the knowledge that the great treasure of these lives will not be forgotten. The Commandment, "Honor your father and your mother" is fulfilled in an epic way.

Many who view a DVD Legacy film are astonished by the quality and beauty. Gary Loncki, an award-winning former editor of a diocesan newspaper, reported "I thought I was watching something on the Arts and Entertainment Network or the Discovery Channel." ID Video Productions' website offers further recommendations from some nationally recognized personalities, including Paul Lauer (behind grassroots marketing successes of Passion of the Christ and Narnia), Joe Campo (Fishers of Men), Eric Saperston (The Journey), and Fr. Larry Richards, who offers this superlative: "It's far and above anything you envision. He is the best of the best." Loncki comments, "Schlueter combines a rare mix of talent, family and faith in his work."

From the interview weekend through the final production is typically about six weeks, and involves a dedicated team of four who "walk every step of this amazing journey with you." Because of the high degree of customization, ID Video Productions can only produce six DVD Legacies a year. For the first six to secure their production by October 15, 2007, they are offering a 20% discount. These productions will be completed by December 1, 2008.

In addition to DVD Legacy, ID Video Productions is in the development stages of a family-friendly, reality TV show called Family Unplugged which they hope to run on a major network. Greg's team is frequently tapped to produce high-impact films for faith and character-based organizations. A recent example is this production for the Boy Scouts of America. The long-term plan? He and wife Stephanie share an ultimate vision and passion for helping families "become what they are" through a non-profit they have established called Image Trinity.

Steven Spielberg once said, "People have forgotten how to tell a story." Greg Schlueter and ID Video Productions are committed to helping us remember. He can be reached at [email protected] or 814-864-5755.

Stephanie Wagner, a wife and mother of six, is a freelance writer from Erie, Pennsylvania.

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