Random Thoughts from a “Slide Show Maker”

Working on graduation slide shows this summer made me reflect….

I remember making my very first slide show ages ago. It was for the YMCA Summer Fun program. We had a slide projector (the kind with the slide trays) and a boom box for music. Everyone gathered into that darkened auditorium on that very last day. It was magical.

Years later, I experienced the stress of running a slide show for a wedding. Imagine the pressure of possibly ruining the most important day of someone’s life….

Since then, I’ve created slide shows for high school graduations, baby’s 1st birthdays, anniversaries, school banquets, retirement parties, church camps, and charity events.

Now with easy-to-use computer apps like iPhoto & iMovie, anyone can produce a quality show. Because of this, I believe that I’ve just completed the last slide show of my life. Phew….

This is what I’ve learned from my experiences.

Sometimes people ask if they should make a “fast” or a “mellow” slide show. It’s neither. It’s about pacing and flow. You achieve this by making good decisions. As the show comes together, you’ll have a sense on what needs to be axed. (Deleting a picture can be the most difficult thing to do.) It is crucial to have good transitions between songs and a rich assortment of pics. Variety creates interest. Your goal is not to make a “fast” or “slow” slide show. Your goal is to make an “engaging” one.

A good slide show will make the audience laugh, cry, and have “chicken skin” moments. And you have to do this in 12-14 minutes. Anything longer, and you will make them fall asleep.

You may be wondering, “What’s the most important element of a slide show?” If you asked me this a few years ago, I would’ve said song selection (because it’s really the music that evokes all of the emotion.) Now I answer the question more philosophically. I believe the most important thing is that you are “telling a story.” The slide show maker is a storyteller. You use images & music in combination to paint a picture…. or tell a story.

Life lesson learned. Live life to the fullest…. so that someday, your life’s slide show would have an awesome story to tell.

Slide Show Story….

Our 6th graders had their end-of-the-year banquet on Tuesday. I was happy to help them with their slide show. Each student was required to scan an old school photo to contribute to the slide show.

Now, there’s this group of 6th graders who regularly visit me after school. (They always mark up my dry-erase board and raid my secret food stash.) They’re a fun bunch. Unfortunately, they got into big trouble on Monday and were not allowed to attend the banquet.

Three of them came by after school today to visit. Feeling sorry for them, I showed them the slide show which was still on my computer. It wouldn’t be the same “magical” experience as viewing the show on a big screen in a darkened auditorium with classmates. That’s what I presumed….

The three best friends started to tear up. I was blown away. Anyway, this is a picture that one of them had scanned in class.