Saturday, November 5, 2016

Movie Memory Time on Facebook

In February of 2016 I established a MOVIE MEMORY Facebook page. The link is at the bottom. At the suggestion of friend and partner Bob Campbell I called the page "Movie Memory Time." The term "Time" sets it apart, I think, as a special Activity that one might partake in with others. Watch with family and friends, during which brief period you each recall memories related to the film clip just watched. The questions or comments by me at the end also help guide a discussion.

Here is the introductory video I created for How Movie Memories Work:

Early Movie Memories that I put on Facebook were ones I had made in 2011 when I started the idea. These were pretty straight forward with 4 questions after the film to guide discussion. I did add a closing note to "Pause to discuss the questions" and also to "Like MMT on Facebook." Here is the very first MMT posted on Facebook. This was a new one I made up and includes the new ending:

Nine months later, here in early November of 2016,  I recently posted my 100th Movie Memory on Facebook. You can view the entire list HERE. I have several unexpected observations:

  • They have become more sophisticated. 
  • I often add fresh music over the questions rather than the pre-1923 ragtime themes. 
  • Most questions now appear over pictorial backgrounds. 
  • More humor. I try to make the first question more of a joke.
  • Often shorter in length. A movie trailer is all it takes to evoke memories.
  • They have become more fun to make up and take less time as well.
  • The recent pace is posting a new one every other day. 
  • I share each post with 10 to 12 other Facebook pages that I have joined.
  • More "Likes" (currently 330) transfers to more views per post. The most "People Reached" to date has been 1,330 for "The Big Four Monsters" which was trailers for Frankenstein, Dracula, Wolf Man, Mummy.

Although I don't get much feedback, I have become convinced that Movie Memory Time could become a popular fixture somewhere on the Internet. I would like it to become accessible to millions like the daily crossword puzzle or Sudoku, not just to watch alone but as an activity to share memories with others. I dream big like a daily MMT on the Yahoo home page in the right hand column under the weather and Yahoo News highlights. If anyone out there knows how to reach the bigwigs at Yahoo, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc... Help me sell THEM the idea, before someone else steals it, renames and launches their own.

Here is the Movie Memory posted on Nov. 5, 2016, followed by my discussion of the film that accompanied the post on Facebook:

ROY ROGERS at Children's Hospital
This opening from "Song of Texas" (1943) shows Roy Rogers, Trigger and the Sons of the Pioneers entertaining in a children's hospital. It is a favorite clip of mine since it is so real. Roy was a true american hero who often visited sick children without fanfare, and Trigger too, right inside the hospital!
Each Movie Memory segment gives me a chance to share film clips like this. They remind me of my youth, of where I first saw the films, and of experiences I had in common with the onscreen events. This one reminds me of seeing Roy Rogers on TV as a kid. It reminds me of other childhood screen heroes. It also brought back a memory of waking up in a hospital bed from an operation to remove tonsils when I was only 4.
I hope MMT works in a similar fashion you. Film clips from the past do spark memories from long ago. Watch them alone or with a small group of friends so you can reminisce. Watch them with grandchildren so they can better know you, meet your heroes, learn a bit of history and have fun at the same time. Watch, Recall and Share the Memories.

Please visit and LIKE Movie Memory Time on Facebook.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Evolution of Movie Memories

By Ron Hall

I discovered public domain films in the mid-1970s and have been selling them ever since in various formats. No one owns the copyrights anymore to hundreds of features, shorts and TV shows and so one can sell them or show them anywhere. This is a great benefit to the public since many obscure copyrighted films with little commercial value simply disappear. 

I started Festival Films in 1976 to sell 16mm film prints to colleges and libraries. Home video Betamax and VHS recorders came along in the early 1980s, so in 1976 the only format for school or home viewing was 16mm film. Most sales were to colleges with film history courses. Rather than rent the same scratched and spliced prints every year they could now purchase their own new copies of films like Birth of a Nation, Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Grand Illusion and so on. 

Always seeking new markets, in 1995 I got the idea for The Remember Series. These were VHS tapes that contained 60 minutes of excerpts from public domain films, tailored specifically for Seniors and their interests. I found addresses for retirement communities in Minnesota, sent out flyers and made around 20 sales. Then I got sidetracked on other projects and never sought national sales.

In 1998 my long-time friend and associate Bob DeFlores was approached by two women with an idea to sell public domain feature films to Retirement Communities along with written notes to guide Activity Directors in discussions after the films were shown. While I supplied quite a few films, nothing ever came of this project. 

In 2010 I took a fresh look at supplying films to Senior facilities. The theory is that Seniors might want to see older films that they saw as children or young adults. Well, some are and some are not interested. Of course most communities today have all the movies they can ever use, either libraries of DVDs, weekly rentals from Netflix or streaming off the Internet. What they needed more was a new ACTIVITY for interaction, for memory therapy and for reaching Alzheimer patients. 

Putting earlier ideas together, I came up with 1) Short film segments on a DVD, accompanied by 2) A printed study guide with questions so an activity director could lead discussions. I named the collection of segments Movie Memories. 

The Study Guides did NOT work that well.  A Movie Memory could be watched alone for entertainment, but encouragement to force reminiscing was needed.  Adding 4 questions at the end of each video supplied that spark. Until 2016 the instructions in the “How They Work” video said to pause after each question, then continue. Again, that slowed everything down and few followed the procedure. Much better is to run the four questions, which are thematically related to the film just viewed, and then pause for discussion about the film or any of the questions. 

By 2011 I had created 6 Volumes of Movie Memories on DVDs, with Study Guides in case an Activity Director did want to guide a group discussion. I do offer these DVDs for sale today. Each Volume contains 3 DVDs with 4 or 5 Movie Memory segments on each, to be used for 3 or more sessions. Also in 2011, I registered my idea with the Writer’s Guild of America West in Hollywood, which is where all screen plays are registered for protection.

Movie Memories on DVDs do work well, but they are not the final solution. Computers are far more accessible today than DVD players. Activity Directors can connect laptops to large screen TVs in small meeting rooms or to video projection machines in large ones. Right now they can stream Movie Memories from Facebook, website or the few on youtube. Pausing at the end of each segment is easy -- the films end anyways! Each segment will awaken memories, or at least a theme for discussion, but reminiscing out loud depends on the catalyst of the questions. Then some in the session will want to talk a lot while others little at all.

In 2014 I began selling public domain features and TV shows to a company that provides computer activities, services and programs specifically to retirement communities - It’s Never Too Late. They also provide the hardware/computer systems for running the content that is refreshed every month. Late in 2014 IN2L began leasing Movie Memories for use on their computers. As I revised each Movie Memory and created new ones, I became more convinced of their worth and value. Every interesting film clip recalls memories of some parts of our past. It is so easy to think of questions that focus on what to talk about, and it is fun for me to inject a little humor.

Movie Memory Time was launched in February, 2016 on Facebook. The term “Time” connotes a pleasurable weekly or daily event in which one watches a Movie Memory and talks about it. It is a far friendlier name than “Movie Memory Activity” or “Session” that I had been using.

Movie Memories can bridge the age gap with grandchildren
I have two dreams for the future of Movie Memories. The first is that they be freely accessible on the Internet to anyone in the world. At the moment they are free to anyone who “Likes” the Facebook page, but few know about it yet. The second dream is Movie Memories Online. Yes, I am putting them online weekly but with only a small presence to date on Facebook, youtube and the MM website. 

It is human nature to be slow to read a new author, start watching a new TV series, play a new game or adopt a new activity. But it is also the nature of the Internet that new discoveries can spread virally in a very short period. They call it social media - friends telling friends and spreading the word. Movie Memory Time on Facebook is currently in Phase 1 -- seeking its audience. If and when Facebook picks up thousands of “Likes” to prove interest, MMT will be in a better position to attract a financial partner who can do it justice on the Web. 

Movie Memories Online could be vastly improved if a company such as Facebook itself stepped in. Such a partner could produce the videos in hi-def, shoot new segments around specific themes, clear rights to offer Movie Memories “I Love Lucy” and similar. They could offer free Movie Memories as a public service. They could offer elite service to retirement communities like I proposed in my 2013 blog (revised Jan. 2016) just below. A proper website could allow activity directors to select segments on their computers, preview them, arrange them into viewing session and automatically pause at the end of each set of questions. They could save each session for future use or swap out segments that did not elicit much response. ALL FREE! Or the owner of Movie Memories Online could make money by leasing to Retirement Communities at reasonable monthly rates that included public performance rights. At the same time they could be available free to individual users, or monetized by including those pesky but short youtube ads from time to time.

I thank you for any assistance in spreading the word about Movie Memory Time on Facebook. Again, MMT is an absolutely FREE activity with new segments added every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please “Like” the page and each new segment will be sent to your FB timeline. Share posts with Seniors who use Facebook. Contact activity directors in communities. Write comments on the FB page. Email feedback to Our progress will show in the number of Likes for


Friday, January 29, 2016

Movie Memories Online

Movie Memories is a Retirement Community Group Activity that wakens memories and promotes reminiscing and social interaction.  Movie Memories is also a terrific game or pastime to connect seniors with grandchildren.  They watch a fun video together showing what life was like when the senior was young, then discuss the onscreen questions. They can also be watched and enjoyed by single viewers, whatever their age.

Each DVD volume of Movie Memories includes a cornucopia of TV ads, newsreels, musical, comedy and action films, plus 1950s TV shows, cartoons, Sing Alongs and classic excerpts.  A group leader shows vintage film clips from a DVD player connected to a television or projection TV system.  Four onscreen questions after each short segment kick off the topics to recall and share.  The leader pauses after the four questions for discussion.  Seeing the cars and trains, homes and schools, caf├ęs and drug stores, hairstyles and fashions, toys and sports of the 1930s to 1950s sparks memory. Inspired by the films and prodded by the questions... reminiscing runs rampant!  Movie Memories is a fresh activity for group social interaction as well as a proven tool for memory therapy.

This video explains exactly how Movie Memories work:

Movie Memories are further explained at the Festival Films website.  The Discussion Guides are posted for all 4 regular volumes and two Musical Movie Memories.  The four questions after each film segment are listed so you can determine in advance how your Senior groups might respond. Plus there are numerous video samples of the films in Movie Memories followed by the onscreen questions.

So far Movie Memories are only available on DVD.  Each volume contains 3 separate DVDs with about an hour of film on each, more than enough for three full sessions.  If a lively audience wants to talk a lot ... and please encourage that ... then a session can run way over an hour or you may quit without running all of the segments on a DVD.

Movie Memories Online!
The bigger dream is to bring Movie Memories to the whole world absolutely free: Movie Memories Online.  Here is how a FREE online version of Movie Memories might work:

Movie Memories Website would present the current segments on pages broken down into genres such as Sing-Along Cartoons, Newsreels, School Days, Family Life, TV & Movie Memories, Toys and Games, etc. Anyone could go to this website and enjoy Movie Memories for hours at a time by themselves or with family and friends. Those viewing for free would also get short ads mixed in.

Retirement communities could pay a monthly fee that includes public performance rights and the ability to stream the segments without commercials. They would also get onscreen help to prepare MM Sessions to groups in the facility, and could save sessions for future use.

First Activity Directors connect their laptop computer to a large screen TV in small meeting room or to a DVD projection system in an auditorium. They select the Movie Memory segments they want to run that day from the website and put into a "shopping basket" where they can preview the segments, rearrange them and study the Questions before the session. Push “Start” and the first segment streams to the screen and freezes on the last frame.  Then it's Talk Time!  Who wants to talk about their favorite childhood toy, favorite cowboy star or  name Big Band singers? After a lively discussion, the activity director proceeds to the next MM segment.

Retirement communities often use this kind of activity for entertainment and therapy, but the use of onscreen questions to trigger memories and discussion has not been patented or named and the activity can not be found on the Internet.

Movie Memories Online could be monetized using this business model:
1)  Insertion of ads with Movie Memory segments watched for free.
2)  Monthly subscription fee that would grant public performance rights and allow Activity Directors to stream the videos without ads. (Think 10,000 retirement homes x $50 a month. How about 50,000 homes?  How many communities are in the world market?!)
3)  Public domain or licensed feature films could be added to the site for additional ad revenue.
4) If Movie Memories go viral on youtube, then sell to Netflix, Google or similar.

The film clips on the initial Movie Memory DVDs are from public domain films, with public domain music composed before 1923, and are presented in standard definition.  With proper funding, licensing deals could be worked out to reimburse owners of music, the actors' images and the films themselves.  Imagine "Movie Memories: I Love Lucy" or "Movie Memories: Ma & Pa Kettle" or for seniors 20 years from now "Movie Memories: Friends."  All videos could be upgraded to High Definition for improved quality on large screens.

Movie Memories are currently for sale on DVD at Festival Films. Movie Memories is registered with the Writer’s Guild of America.  I am seeking an Internet partner to turn my online dream of free Movie Memories on every computer into a reality.  Don't just stream videos to Seniors, send them the key to unlock their childhood memories and discuss them with friends and family. This is a million dollar idea that could enrich the lives of everyone!

-- Ron Hall

1 comment:

  1. This is a great activity since most people in this age group love to reminisce. It is nice if they are satisfied with what they see and realize that they manage to do a lot of great things in the past. This will make them happy. Most 55 retirement communities have this activity and I hope they continue to do this.