Frequently Asked Questions
How do I begin a project?
There’s no homework required, but if you are eager to jump in before our first meeting you could look through old photographs, listen to favorite tunes from the past, ask other family members about their memories, dig out memorabilia such as journals, letters, family trees, etc. You could also take notes about the important topics and events of your life that you’d like to cover in your interviews.
Once I decide to go ahead, what happens?
We’ll talk about the scope of the project and how many interviews. You’ll sign the contract and make a deposit toward the fee. Then we’ll make a date for our first interview and head down memory lane.
How long does it take to complete an audio memoir?
An audio memoir project can take anywhere from 2 to 12 months depending on the number of interviews.
What if I can’t remember?
Once you start telling your stories, you may be surprised at how many memories come back to you. There are lots of things you can do to get going down memory lane – such as going through old photographs, talking with friends and family about times past, listening to the music you used to listen to, cooking mom’s favorite recipes, and even visiting your old haunts. Don’t worry as much about remembering dates and names. We can enlist the help of others for that. Your stories and memories are what will be the most appreciated by your family and future generations.
What if I don’t have anything interesting to say?
We've all had ups and downs in life, heartaches and triumphs. Each of us has lived through interesting times and can share our personal experience of those times. We've learned a bit of wisdom along the way. These are the kinds of things families and future generations deeply appreciate.
How many interviews should I do?
It depends on the scope, length, and depth you want in your audio memoir. I recommend two sessions for a short memoir that isn't going to cover your entire life. For example, you might tell about your childhood or your service during a war. Classic audio memoirs are three to five sessions, allowing us time to gather a wider scope of your stories. A full life story, including background stories about parents and grandparents, and current experiences, such as grandchildren, can take six to eight sessions. The number of interviews needed for a family history vary based on how many people are interviewed and the scope of the project.
How much does it cost?
Oral Histories begin at $300. Audio memoirs start at $900.
Where do the interviews take place?
Wherever you are most comfortable, usually this is at home. It should be somewhere quiet, where we won’t be easily interrupted.
How long does an interview session last?
A session usually lasts two hours.
Will I get a chance to make changes to my audio memoir?
At the review stage you can request to edit out anything you want.
Can you make a book for me?
Yes. Contact me and we can discuss it more. I used to offer book production. I can still turn your stories into a book.
Can you make a video of my stories?
Yes, I can also create a video or multimedia piece incorporating your photos and home videos.
Can you do an audio memoir about someone that has passed away?
I can interview family and friends to tell the story of someone who has passed away. Tape recordings, journals, and letters can also be incorporated into the project.
What if my family members and I don’t agree on how things happened in the past?
Different people can have very different memories of the same event. Even the same person may tell a very different story about the same event a day later; such is the nature of storytelling. Each time you tell a story you tell a version of the truth as you want to remember it at the time of telling it.
Can you conduct interviews with people in other states?
Travel to other locations can be arranged, or we can conduct an interview using Skype.
What are your qualifications?
Meghan Vigeant has been collecting personal histories and audio stories since 2005. She attended the radio program at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2006. She is a winner of the 2008 International Third Coast Radio Festival’s Short Docs. Vigeant directed the Swan’s Island Memory Project from 2009 to 2011, and is the author of Guts, Feathers and All, a collection of stories about Swan’s Islanders. She started her personal history business in 2013.
Meghan is also a 2003 theater graduate from Siena Heights University with a minor in creative writing. She worked professionally as an actress, stage manager, and theater producer until she discovered truth really is stranger than fiction.