Oral History and Video Biography
There are 3 different approaches we take, generally speaking, in producing an oral history. Each approach is really just a starting point, as other approaches and styles are easily combined. In fact, these three styles are somewhat analogous to the three service categories we offer as a company—where each has an emphasis on either past information, present-day activity, or a more comprehensive picture of both.
Portraits, Profiles, and Portfolios
A profile is a factual account of family history and life story. Genealogical and ancestral data including names, dates, places, relations, stories, and other information are discussed and documented to reveal a complete picture of one’s life and family tree.
A portrait is a look at one person—in the present, in their element, doing what they love—inevitably revealing a great deal about their values, passions and interests, challenges, and purpose, meaning, and love of life.
A portfolio is a collection of relics, memorabilia, and the stories behind them. On-location interviews capture the primary content, while archival material and other documentation of people, places, and things combine to paint a comprehensive and in-depth picture.
“Charitable giving is one way that I’ve been able to make a difference and really see the results. The other blessing and total surprise is how much it changed me.”–Bill W., from his Video Biography.
Food for Thought
Interviews are “live” of course, but tend to be reflective on the past. So I usually suggest including some portrait-style content–to have more of an experience of a person, their personality, style, and way of being.
This 5 minute version is a brief portrait of a true renaissance man. Well into his 90s, Harry discusses his true loves in life, and his life’s work that is an eternal source of inspiration and fulfillment. We trace his three ongoing vocations—as a farmer, as an entertainer, and as a writer, and see how they intertwine to paint a picture. It’s impossible to capture the full breadth of an individual, but by sharing one’s experiences so candidly as Harry does with us here, a deeper appreciation and connection to him emerges as we relate to his stories and observations.