An audio visual recording has the distinct advantage of showcasing the storyteller — their voice, inflection, facial expressions, manner of dress and gestures.
If you are contemplating a life history review for yourself or a loved one, we begin with a free exploratory phone call or meeting. This is when we will get acquainted, discuss your goals for the project, and see if we are a fit. Clients tell me that they are put at ease by my genuine interest, sense of purpose and easy engagement.
Research and Preparation
Upon receipt of the forms, I will begin research and prep for our first meeting. Preparation is key to the process and makes the difference between a pleasant conversation and a bonafide interview. It is important for me to get the context of what was going on around you in your world when your story was unfolding. My goal is to assimilate as much information as possible in advance, so that we can use your interview to unearth how you came to be who you really are!
The original source recordings are merged into a single video with an introductory slide featuring your name, the date and location (i.e., Conversations with Jane Doe, Rochester, NY, June 15, 2021). If you select editing options (see Product Descriptions and Pricing) they are done at this time. The final product is a thumb drive of your interviews, plus a share-able link for you to circulate as you wish (Youtube, unlisted). “Unlisted” means that only people with whom you share the link can view the video; it will not show up in search results or other tabs.
Interview Agreement and Biographical Information
If you decide to move forward, I will ask you to complete two forms before our first session:
Interview Agreement Form: acknowledges that the interview will be recorded, establishes any boundaries (i.e, topics that are off limits) and outlines our understanding of how the interview is to be shared.
Biographical Information Form: provides me with fundamental biographical data such as family names, dates, places, education, occupation, military service, etc. You are encouraged to include any other information — articles, awards, speeches, toasts, artwork, research — that will help me get to know you and best prepare for our interview sessions.
The basic interview format consists of three hours of audio/visual interview time, conducted via Zoom or in person. Two 1.5 hour sessions are the standard, but I am open to discussing configurations that will bring out your best story.
During the interview itself, we begin with the basics, and morph into more textured territory as I help you to recall and reflect upon your memories from various life chapters. The questions are not “canned.” Throughout the process, I will continuously make judgement calls about where to probe and when to pivot, in order to tease out the most meaningful information. Areas covered may include your family history/ancestry, upbringing (childhood and formative years), education, work/career, romance and relationships, religious life, leisure/hobbies, and your reflections on life so far. I am sometimes asked to focus on a specific life chapter or event, such as an adoption story, a passion project, or training towards an important goal. Our conversations remain confidential, except as you wish to share them.