JACK KENNY BIRTHDAY PARTY
For this special LIFECAST OCCASION, I went to TV writer Jack Kenny's 60th birthday celebration in Los Angeles, set up in a side room away from the party proper and did short interviews with the guests about Jack.
Then I edited it and added music to create an audio collage of the evening that ran about 40 minutes and was divided into 5 parts:
1) GUEST INTRODUCTIONS where they say their name and how the know Jack
2) The QUALITIES they admire about Jack
3) Fun, sweet, interesting STORIES about times spent with Jack
4) BIRTHDAY WELL-WISHES
5) COMPLETE THIS SENTENCE: I asked every guest I interviewed to complete the following sentence: "I WISH I HAD JACK KENNY'S _________." The answers came together in a really fun, entertaining and meaningful way. Here's that section:
And here's what Jack had to say about his finished LIFECAST:
“Having Dennis record at my birthday party was the BEST gift EVER! It was like being with everybody at the party all at once! It was so moving to hear the people I love say nice things about me. It was like being at my own funeral… except I get to be ALIVE after!”
Daniel Enfield hired me to interview his father Mike for his 80th birthday as a way to capture Mike’s amazing life story for the entire family for generations to come. I flew to Salt Lake City for the interview. (If the subject is in another city, I’m happy to try and work with the client to get me there—whether it be using frequent flier miles, staying at a friend’s place, what have you) I had a delightful time talking to Mike about upbringing, his tours of duty in Vietnam and his work building temples for the Mormon Church. On the pre-interview form, Daniel suggested I try to get Mike to sing a few of the songs that he used to sing to his kids when they were little. Mike was happy to oblige. It was a wonderful moment.
Here’s what Daniel had to say about his father’s finished Lifecast:
"I gave my dad a Lifecast for his 80th birthday. Thanks to Dennis' amazing interviewing skills our family now has a permanent, personal history of our loved one recorded in their own voice. My father and I are very close but after listening to the Lifecast I saw him in a new light, Dennis had him telling stories I'd never heard... and I thought I'd heard them all! Our family will treasure this for generations."
MARK & JUDY MOLINE
Mark and Judy were my first official Lifecast clients. Married 51 years, they were given the Lifecast as a gift from their daughter Rebecca who wanted to get their story down for posterity. She also loved the idea of having something for Mark & Judy's 3-year old grandson Jack to listen to when he's older.
Here's ten minutes of excerpts to give you an idea what a Lifecast is like. The Molines final product ran about 2 hours.
And here's what Judy had to say about the experience and the final product:
"Dennis has a unique ability to draw the best and the most interesting from his interviewees which a tremendous talent. The process was very easy and comfortable much like we were having a lovely, relaxing dinner. We are so pleased and happy with the results but surprisingly delighted with the reactions from our family and friends who have listened. It is truly a wonderful window into our life together."
Author and professor Ed Sikov wanted to get a Lifecast so that his two nephews--who are both under 5--can listen it to when they're older and get to know their uncle a bit better.
One of Sikov's books was a biography of the legendary filmmaker Billy Willder called On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder. Ed didn't get to meet Billy Wilder while he was working on the book but he did get to meet and have lunch with Wilder and his wife after the book had come out and he tells the whole thrilling story in this excerpt from his Lifecast.
And here'w what Ed had to say about his Lifecast experience:
"Dennis Hensley is a masterful interviewer. He makes sure you never choke – you know, when you suddenly run out of things to say and go “um, um, yeah, well, um….” He steps right in very smoothly and keeps the conversation going. Whenever I got into one of those situations, Dennis quickly took over, and if I kept on doing it, he just edited it out. Zap–it’s gone! As far as I’m concerned, the interview couldn’t have gone better. And when he added in the music, my Lifecast was a perfect reflection of who I am. I’m absolutely thrilled with the final product! It was – in the best sense of the expression – all about me."
JUNE & JACK SCHWARZ
Jack and June Schwarz have been married 51 years and live in Floral Park, New York where their interview took place.
Their Lifecast was a gift from their son Jeffrey, who is based in Los Angeles. In this excerpt, Jack and June describe how they "met cute" back in their college days.
Here's what Jack and June had to say about their Lifecast:
"Thank you for making the interview the highlight of our year!"
And here's some thoughts from their son Jeffrey:
"I’m so grateful to Dennis for creating this service. Although my parents have no idea what a podcast is, we now have a digital family heirloom that can be passed down to the grandkids and beyond. I learned thinks about my parents that I didn’t know, and feel closer to them as a result."
Michelle calls her baby girl Madison her "miracle baby" and she truly is given all that Michelle went through to have her; from multiple rounds of in vetro fertilization to forced hospital bed rest while she was pregnant to Madison being born premature at 25 weeks and not being able to come home from the hospital for weeks and weeks.
Through it all, Michelle kept the faith and refused to give up. Now she and her husband Cary have their happy, healthy daughter Madison to show for it all. Michelle wanted to do a Lifecast not just as a document for herself and her loved ones...but also as something she can share with other families who are going through it.
She consented to letting me post the entire interview as an example of the LIFECAST BASIC, which includes chapter markers and music at the beginning and the end but no other music.
To listen and see photos of the miracle baby Madison, click HERE.
And here's a quick video we shot right after:
And here's a sweet quote from Michelle:
"Dennis is terrific at what he does and I was SO at ease when we were talking. I'm so glad I got a Lifecast, not just so I can preserve my own story...but so that I can possibly help other women achieve their goal."
John had just turned the big 5-0 when we recorded this interview. John liked the idea of having some kind of document to honor this landmark birthday, to take stock of where he's been, where he's going, what he's learned and also to talk about the movie Xanadu, which I'm always happy to do with anyone.
In this compilation of excerpts he talks about meeting and falling for his husband Doug, moving to L.A. and getting a job at Universal Studios, the "hole in the bucket" metaphor that helped snap him out of a major funk, bumping into a sitcom legend on the streets of New York and what he feels proud of at 50.
And here's what John had to say about the experience:
"What a wonderful experience it was to record this Lifecast with Dennis. He had me talking with ease about things that I hadn't thought of in years but clearly had a big impact on my life and the lives of those around me. And it was fun, too! I spent the next few days basking in my memories and reflecting on the person I am today. Lifecast is a great idea - thanks, Dennis!"
Brittany and her husband Jaylen are expecting their second child, a son they plan to name Luca. They already have a delightful 3 year-old girl named Leili. Brittany saw her Lifecast as a way to capture this moment in her life as a mom.
Here's a video we shot right after the interview:
Quincy was turning the big 4-0 and liked the idea of recording an "audio time capsule" something to capture where he's at, where he's been and where he's going.
He talks about meeting his husband John, overcoming bullying in high school and the crazy costume he had to wear for a teenage mall job.
Here's what he had to say about the experience:
“I was a little nervous before hand but Dennis really put me at ease from the beginning and I was able to really relax and enjoy the interview. I was even more nervous listening to the finished project because I’m not used to hearing my voice. The way that Dennis put the interview together in the editing process made listening to it really enjoyable, almost as if I was listening to someone else’s story.”