Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Animated StoryCorps

StoryCorps demonstrates that our stories  
— the stories of everyday people — 
are the most important stories of all. 
If we take the time to listen to one another, 
we will find wisdom, wonder, and poetry 
in the voices and lives of people all around us.
~ Dave Isay, StoryCorps Founder

Many of us are familiar with the national oral history project, StoryCorps, for which tens of thousands of Americans have uncovered life stories at recording booths all across the United States. Compelling weekly broadcasts on NPR's Morning Edition program have brought us humor and laughter and just as often moved us to tears. The conversations, always between two people important to each other, range from an immigrant's discussion with a friend about the hope he finds in America, to a father and daughter honoring their memories of family members who have died of cancer, to a husband and wife looking back at the decades they've shared together. 

The largest undertaking of its kind, the project, initiated in 2003 and archived at the Library of Congress, also is the inspiration for the best-selling Listening Is An Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project (2007) and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps (2010).

Now Rauch Bros. Animation has re-created some of the stories as animated shorts that begin broadcasting (along with selected feature-length films) on the documentary PBS program POV on August 17. The work of independent animators Mike and Tim Rauch, the six-film series (more are planned) uses the original audio recordings. One of the six, Q&A, is a recorded conversation between a mother and her son who has Asperger's:

Q&A from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

A very interesting post on how the short was designed is here.

Another animated feature, Germans in the Woods, to air August 31, captures the memories of an 86-year-old World War II veteran who fought at the Battle of the Bulge and finds it impossible to forget a soldier he killed. Artistic and design concepts for the animation are discussed here. (The article contains additional links on the creation of paintings, backgrounds, and audio used in the short.) Following is a "teaser" for the film:

Other animations include Danny & Annie, Parts I and II (August 17),  The Human Voice (September 7), and The Icing on the Cake (September 7).


StoryCorps Collection Frequently Asked Questions

StoryCorps Listen Page

NPR, "StoryCorps: Recording America"


Cassandra Frear said...

We each have stories to tell which matter and voices which should be heard.

M.L. Gallagher said...

This is powerful -- I will be back to delve deeper into your findings!

I'm pretty excited about this -- it's so in keeping with what i'm trying to do with stories at the shelter where I work!!!!

thanks once again Maureen for being such an inspiration and so generous with your findings.

A. Jay Adler said...

What a great idea.

Susan Rich said...

Thank you for this, Maureen - I love Story Corps. I also wondering if you spoke to your friend at the Smithsonian about Myra Albert Wiggins. I'm writing an article on WIggins right now and would love to know what the true situation is with if Wiggins work is there or not. 1001 thank yous.

Laura said...

Just to say, thank you, for gently chastising me over at my place. Do you know I re-wrote that bit over and over and struggled with inadequacy so that I couldn't seem to shake it? In truth, I don't compare myself much...there has been no opportunity! But to put those pictures up felt very vulnerable.

Thank you for your encouragement.