How much does it cost?

A life story is an investment that appreciates over time.

The cost varies from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on what you require. Each personal history project is custom designed, so the time involved can range from a few days to several months. I will work with you to meet your budget. Please contact me for a free initial consultation and estimate.

How does it work?

I like to start by having an informal, no obligation chat. This allows me to describe my services fully. And it allows you to ask me any questions that you might have.

If we decide to work together, I will draw up a contract detailing our mutual commitments and the costs involved.

The basis for much of my work is a series of audio or video taped interviews. These are done usually in your home where you are most comfortable. Each session is about an hour in length and it usually takes from six to eight sessions to complete the interviews.

I don’t live in your community. Can you still work with me?

Yes. Depending on what you want. For a book I can do a series of interviews over the telephone. These can be recorded, transcribed and then edited into chapters of your life story book. If you have photographs, these can be scanned locally and sent to me by e-mail and placed in your book.

If you wanted a Video Memoir produced, it would require my travelling to your home to conduct the video interviews. In this case you would be responsible for covering the cost of my transportation, meals and accommodation.

What are your qualifications?

I have over twenty-five years experience as an award winning documentary filmmaker and have conducted more than 200 hours of professional interviews for television broadcast. I now work primarily as a personal historian and have produced a number of video memoirs and books over the past five years. I am a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach and a volunteer with Victoria Hospice.

If you read my testimonial page, I think it speaks effectively as to the quality of my work.

How much time will it take?

It depends entirely on what you require. A book or DVD memoir can take up to six months from the initial interviews to the finished project. On the other hand a smaller project such as Golden Wedding tribute video or book can be done in a few weeks.

How many copies do I get?

The cost includes one copy of your book or DVD. Multiple copies can be purchased at a reasonable rate.

How do you get a whole life story into a 60 or 90 minute DVD?

What I aim for is to capture the essence of a life lived, not all the minute details. The DVD touches on key events in a person’s life as well as such things as their beliefs, hopes and lessons learned.

In an interview will I be asked questions that will embarrass me or make me reveal things about my life I’d rather not talk about?

No. I respect your privacy and your need to control what is and is not included in your life story. This is your personal history and it is up to you to tell what you want to tell. I will never abuse your trust. If you say something that you wish you hadn’t, I can simply edit it out of your interview. No problem.

Why can’t I do my own life story?

You can. There are books and workshops that can offer guidance. Let me tell you the advantage of hiring a personal historian. First of all, it’s more fun! It is easier talking to someone who is genuinely interested in your story than sitting by yourself facing a blank sheet of paper or computer screen. Another advantage is that the project will actually be completed. Many people have the best of intentions but often never get their life story finished. A personal historian is a professional who can handle your book or video from beginning to end. You don’t have to worry about learning publishing software or the complexities of video editing.

Remember that your life story is a treasured legacy. You want to leave something of beauty and quality. A personal historian can ensure that happens.

Who would want to read my life story? I am not famous.

As Mark Twain once said, “There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility.” It’s true. I have yet to encounter a boring life story. All of us have had to face the challenges and joys of life. We have loved, faced losses, coped with illness, been part of the complexity of family life, dreamed about what might be and laughed at our foibles.

How does a life story differ from a genealogical record?

A life story portrays the essence of your life. It captures your experiences, beliefs and feelings. A genealogy is a statement of facts concerning your lineage from the present to your earliest ancestors.

Is it possible to contract a personal historian to prepare the life story of someone other than me?

Yes. For instance a personal historian is often hired to prepare the life story of a parent or grandparent.