Details From The Big Picture

I’ve been running with the ball in my (ad)venture as a Personal Historian for just about a year now. With my business, You The Storyteller, I offer a personal service involving the video recording of a one on one interview with you as we discuss the story that is your life.

Now, I felt as if that was an adequate, all encompassing, description of what I saw myself doing as a personal historian and videographer. And, indeed, that is what I have done in the interviews completed—leading clients into an environment which is both safe and comfortable—respectful, professional—but genuinely curious. Always questioning, but never “pushy”. It’s not necessarily a thin line, but it is certainly the only way to walk the path I’m on.

Beyond the pleasure though, of meeting some very interesting people with some wonderful stories (JK recalled delivering newspapers in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1950s—on horseback! “It was all dirt roads” he said). I’ve realized that making a straight forward biographical interview video—still, a priority in my work—brought me to the idea of creating what I’ve come to call “biographical sketches.”

I developed the idea working with a friend of mine. A dedicated writer and musician, I asked Miguel to sit down, play some of his songs—music and lyrics—as I filmed him. After each song, we’d talk about it—the inspiration, the reasons for being. The tunes certainly revealed much about my friend, but the accompanying stories added a subtlety and depth which made the songs live. It turned out to be a wonderful way for Miguel to convey important parts of his heart and soul.

Rather than focusing on your entire life to the present, I thought it’d be interesting to video you, as with Miguel, involving yourself in some activity that is part of who you see yourself to be—I would say “hobby”, but that seems too innocuous—I want something that brings you not only pleasure, but passion. A pursuit that you believe defines you. Within the context of that setting, you would talk about what it means to you, why you continue, where it’s taken you. In doing so, you would at least tell part of your story—perhaps the part that rests closest to your heart?

There’s much we can do together. Consultation is always FREE, so get in touch! I bet everyone reading this has a GOOD story to tell. Tell it with
TNM/July 2016

Momentum Gained

Hello all–boy, “things” are gaining momentum! One interview for next week–three probables in the wings. Just chatting with prospective clients I am told AMAZING stories–ones that just send that shiver of excitement up my spine and straight to my brain! One man told me of working for a well known Mafia guy when he grew up in NY. Shaking hands with Babe Ruth…NOT shaking hands with Werner Von Braun, etc. History and, name dropping BIG names from history–I find it thrilling, and to get the stories recorded and preserved, incredibly fulfilling. THAT’S why I’m doing this! And, again…why not you? Give me a call.

Busy Bein’ Born

Regards from—it’s been a few weeks since I’ve dropped a line to you—“catching up” is always interesting because it does promote a certain amount of introspection about where one is in regards to the “process”—in this case, my business, youthestoryteller.
One thing for sure—I’ve learned something from every single interview I’ve conducted—whether it be technical issues concerning my equipment or hearing the shared memories from one of my clients, it has been truly, an education. I love that.
An unexpected part of my work is conveying to people that contrary to what they may think, they indeed do have an interesting life. If only for the fact that like you and I, they all have lived through an amazing time. As a personal historian, I’m looking to ask questions about an individual’s life—their personal thoughts and feelings. Those personal impressions are certainly a big part of what I seek to bring out in my interviews.
But, along with that, I like to talk to my clients about their impressions concerning what Henry Luce of TIME referred to as “The American Century”—the 20th century. From the Depression, World War 2, Elvis, Viet Nam, man on the moon,The Beatles to…well, I could go on and on. But, it certainly has been a time! Arguably, we have witnessed the apex of the American Dream, and are now witnessing everything that comes after. I would be remiss if I did not ask clients their impressions of these fascinating times we’ve lived through, and, as they tell their individual tales about their/our times, those tales often beautifully illustrate just how connected we all are to each other—how strongly the personal is linked to the universal, how recognition of one’s connection to the world is so wonderfully confirmed by the simple telling of tales.
Last thought. I approached an older man I know and asked him if he had had an interesting life. “Oh, yes,” he said, if only because when I was 12 years years old, I stood outside my house and watched the Japanese fighter planes fly over my house heading for Pearl Harbor.” They were so close, he added, that I could see they pilots faces!” Well…I about fell out of my chair! THAT’S the stuff I’m after! History is not an out of body experience. We ALL live it!

Personal History Interview Video

interview videoThe importance of recording your Personal History  by way of an interview video can not be understated. The interview video provides a real time and present moment that your story can be revealed and recorded.  At Personal Historian For You, we use this technique to save the precious moments about your life that are discussed and then can be saved for future generations to come.

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Right Time For A Personal History Interview

ethicalwillsAs I’ve been in the process of getting my venture, ‘You,The Storyteller, up and running, I’ve been thinking about just who my target audience is. What a personal history interview will mean to them.  Obviously, my thoughts turn more often than not to what I like to call “veteran human beings”—people who have been around for awhile. They have, literally, a life time of memories and stories to grab onto, and seem to be my natural constituency.

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My First Oral History Interview

ethicalwillsOver the course of the past three weeks, I have sat down with my neighbor, Lorraine, to interview her for You,The Storyteller. Lorraine proved herself to be an excellent first subject for an oral history interview— enthusiastic, well spoken and eyes bright as she spoke of her life, beginning in Kentucky in 1921 to the present here in our hometown of Cambria, CA.

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Thoughts About Ethical Wills

ethicalwillsBeginning my work in the field of personal history has already led to some interesting revelations for me. I’ve always felt comfortable talking with people, and I pride myself in being a good listener—really, the art of knowing when to talk, and when not to. But beyond the oral history interview facet of You The Storyteller, I find myself increasingly interested in the Ethical Will aspect of my work as a Personal Historian, and I think I know why.

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