Preparing a Life Story

Pre Interview

Memory Man first gathers basic information about the intended interviewee at a pre interview. This is done on the telephone either with the person to be interviewed, the commissioning client or a family member. It can also be done at the Memory Man office at 33 Morrison Avenue, Engadine in Sydney, where the range of life story optional extras is on display.

The pre interview is straight forward - there are about 10 basic orientation questions to answer, such as interviewee name, date and place of birth, past occupations, etc. Memory Man uses this information to research the life and write a list of 400 questions (minimum) to ask at interview.

Clients select packages comprising cassette tapes and/or CD-ROMs, as well as any of the optional extras. Details of the agreed package are written onto an ORDER FORM, a copy of which is retained by the client. The minimum package is two sets of the recordings, one the original recording (master set) and the other a copy. A date, time and place for the interview are agreed, and a non refundable deposit paid at this point to cover the cost of researching the interview questions.

The Interview

Memory Man records the interview using a tape/disk recorder and lapel microphones. A single interview is preferable for continuity purposes, but separate shorter sessions can also be arranged. A single interview usually takes three or four hours, with breaks as required. A photograph of the interviewee is taken at some stage during the interview for use later to personalize the finished package.

The interviewee completes a privacy form which governs how the recorded information may be used in the future. This form includes an offer to lodge a copy of the interview recordings free of charge in the NSW State Library, as a community service, where they are accessible to students, social historians and others.

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