Storyphile | Your life. Your story. For the people you love.

How audio interviews work

Audio-recorded interviews are the starting point for most of Storyphile’s life story packages. They are the most economical way to preserve your stories for all time.

They are also the most flexible way. You can record your complete life story from beginning to end. You can select significant events or important milestones to focus on. Or you can capture particular chapters of your life.

Recording someone’s full life story typically takes between six and fifteen hours of recorded interviews, but it’s different for every person. Some life stories can take up to 100 hours to record. There’s no way of knowing until you actually get started.

The letter of agreement you sign with Storyphile sets out the number of interview hours you’d like to do. If additional time is needed, we negotiate this later.

What to expect at interview time

Interviews are your opportunity to sit back and share your stories and reflections on life. Remember, you’re the star of your story. You just need to relax and enjoy your own starlight!

Your interviews with Storyphile will feel like chatting with a friend.

We’ll prepare questions to guide our discussions, but it definitely won’t feel like an interrogation. You’ll find the experience enjoyable and rewarding.

Throughout our time together, you’ll maintain complete control over what you want to talk about and what you want to say. If you happen to say something you later wish you hadn’t, we can delete it from your interview transcripts and recordings.

Where we meet

Our story-gathering interviews with you can take place at any comfy, quiet place you choose. (Your kitchen table might be just the perfect spot.)

Here’s what you need:

  • a comfortable seat
  • a quiet space (No loud clocks or noisy fans.)
  • a spot where we won’t be disturbed (Having other people around is distracting. And everyone talking at once is a nightmare for transcribing what was said!)
  • access to an electrical outlet

If you live outside the Edmonton area, Storyphile can interview you by phone or Skype.

How to prepare

Before your first interview, we’ll send you a list of memory-sparking questions to help you choose topics you’d like to focus on. We’ll also send you two worksheets you can work through if you wish.

  1. On the biography worksheet, you can list the places you’ve lived, the jobs you’ve had and other details about yourself.
  2. On the family history worksheet, you can list the names of family members you might be talking about. Include birthdates, death dates and any other details you’d like us to know.

Sharing this information with us before our first session can save interview time. It gives us a roadmap of sorts and helps us complete any preliminary research that might be needed. It also provides us with correct spellings of the names of your important people and places.

Here are some other things you can do to kick-start your reminiscences:

  • Look through your old papers and photographs.
  • Think about the extraordinary chapters in your life, the experiences that taught you a special lesson, the dreams you aspired to and the obstacles you overcame.
  • Consider the various phases of your life—childhood, school days, marriage, kids, careers and so on. What were the highlights?
  • Jot down notes about important things you want to talk about.

At some point during the interview process, we’ll prepare a list of the people and places we’ve talked about for you to review. This ensures that we have the correct names and spellings—without taking up interview time.

What we’ll talk about

In your interviews with Storyphile, we can talk about anything you like. We believe that anything you might wish to share about your life is interesting and important.

Storyphile will come prepared with questions and a general plan for each session, but then we’ll let the conversation go wherever it leads us, in a natural way. Allowing for a free flow of topics lets us pursue important areas that might otherwise be missed.

You can talk about any topic you like and digress as much as you care to!

How often we’ll meet

We typically schedule 90-minute sessions for your life story interviews. You decide how often you’d like to meet.

For a full life story, we recommend two or three interviews per week over a three- to five-week period.

What you’ll need to do

  • Get started. (You’ll need to sign a letter of agreement and pay a 50% deposit.)
  • Review Storyphile’s list of memory-sparking questions and think about the topics you’d like to focus on.
  • Complete and return Storyphile’s biography and family history worksheets.
  • Work with us to develop an interview plan.
  • Sit for interviews. (It will be fun!)
  • Review a first draft of your audio files and let us know if there’s anything you wish to delete.
  • Approve your final revised audio files. (We’ll submit these on USB thumbs drives or CDs.)
  • Enjoy your recordings and share them with your dear ones!

What you’ll get

  • unedited* MP3 and WAV format audio recordings delivered on a USB thumb drive (We’ll also send a copy of your recordings straight to your computer, so you have a backup of your files.)

*We edit only to remove content you’ve changed your mind about.

What it costs

  • Interviews and recordings for a complete life story start at $2,400 (plus GST/HST).

How long it takes

The time it takes to complete your life story interviews depends on

  • your schedule
  • how often you’d like to meet
  • how many interviews you’d like to do

Three to five weeks is typical.

Deposits and payments

The deposit is 50% of the total fee. The balance is due when you receive your audio recordings.

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