Questions? Refer to our list of common questions & answers
How much will this cost?
Working in audio is the most affordable way to do this important work. Every project is unique and the price depends on the length of time spent recording. Contact me for a free consultation by phone or in person.
Projects generally range in cost between $300 and $3,000 based on the hours clocked recording the interviews. Average life story interviews take between 6-8 hours, other projects are much shorter. If a book is also being produced there is the cost of the book, itself, as well as the time it takes to photograph, scan and organizing a collection.
Additional charges may apply to travel outside an hour’s drive.
What’s included in the price?
Your audio will be professionally recorded and gently edited, to make you sound your best. Your story will start and end with scene setting music. The interviewer will orient listeners with a narrated introduction and, when appropriate, tracks/chapter breaks. The rest of the recording will be your voice telling your stories.
Some projects will have a visual component, as well. Hard-cover printed books come with images, related quotes, and a digital link so the reader can hear you talking about the items pictured (photographs or treasures) from your collection, just like an audio book.
What do I have to do?
Once the project parameters are agreed upon, Thumbprint Audio will clearly outline what to expect from the experience. You will complete a pre-interview questionnaire (click here), sign a release form (click here) and a contract will be sent your way to lay out the expected timeline for production. Half of the total is paid upfront and the second half is paid upon completion with a satisfaction guarantee.
Use the link or thumb drive to share and savor the finished audio stories with loved ones.
Do interviews have to be done in person?
It is a joy to visit in person and it yields the best audio. But we also audio record in several COVID-friendly ways. This can include: socially distant interviews, (in person and masked) or remote audio recording through a computer platform like Zoom, or by recorded phone call.
Why not video?
- Recording audio is generally less intimidating than video. People share stories, memories, songs, and laughter with ease as they forget the micro phone is there.
- Sometimes people are self-conscious of their appearance and may prefer to have only their voice recorded. Old photos of younger days can even be paired with audio recordings to illustrate a particular story!
- Audio captures the essence of a person through their voice. Listeners can concentrate on their unique sound—the accent, cadence, inflection, and word choices.
- Audio has greater versatility than video for sharing. You can listen while driving in the car, taking a walk, doing chores, or just gathered together with your loved ones.
You would prefer that your biography be captured in a narrative book or video format?
I am happy to refer you to wonderful colleagues who specialize in written personal histories. Who should record their stories? While many people think first o f older family members, it is also a joy to hear the evolving voices of children, the highlights of a career at retirement, the reasons you chose to marry one another on your 10th anniversary, or the story of the birth of your child.
Who will hear this?
Your interview will be private and yours to share, as you like. You will get a keepsake copy of your recorded memories on a thumb drive, as well as a downloadable link. Then you can keep it and share it, as you see fit.
How is storytelling related to resilience?
Belonging to something bigger than yourself doesn’t just feel good, researchers at Emory University’s Family Narrative Lab have found it also creates increased resilience in children. The more children know their family’s history the higher their self-esteem and sense of personal control.
FMI: Duke, Marshall P. “The Stories That Bind Us: What Are the Twenty Questions?” Huffington Post, March 23, 2013; updated May 23, 2013. www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-p d u k e/the-stories-that-bind-us-_b_2918975.html
When can this be done?
It is never too soon, but can be too late to make a recording. That is why now is the very best time to record your memories. You can always circle back around later and make another recordings when you have additional life experiences and perspective.
Why does it make sense to hire an oral historian to collect your personal histories?
Get it done! Have you started recording your Mom’s stories from her career, but felt overwhelmed by the complex nature of the project (schedules, long distance, pandemics, editing software, time) Thumbprint Audio manages the whole process for you. Find peace of mind, you will have the stories in hand, and no longer on your to do list.
Sometimes it is easier to have a non-family member doing the story-collecting, never having heard the stories before. A professional listener brings fresh ears to an old story as it unfolds, making sure it is clear and cohesive with a beginning, middle and end. A guide takes all the angst out of the production and leads you through the process with joy and ease.
Looking back isn’t simply recanting old tales, it can illuminate deeply held values. Hiring a communication specialist versed in feelings and needs optimizes the likelihood of spelling out the deeply held values in each family story.
Is my information secure on the computer?
Your story is linked to Thumbprint Audio’s website. You will have the password to enter your private audio link. No one else will be able to listen to your stories, unless you share your link and password.