Adventures in Animating Real Stories

August 13, 2010
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The New York Times recently reported that StoryCorps will release animated short films based on interviews that ordinary people have recorded in the nearly seven years of StoryCorps’ existence. (Their approach was inspired by the WPA Writers’ Project, creator Dave Isay told me for Smithsonian way back when.) This opens a door for taking the stories of real people into an imaginative new dimension. It requires relatively little money and an eye for a good, revealing story. They have a first sample online here.
    It helps if you have broadcast-quality voices from the original storyteller, as in the StoryCorps case, but the WPA Life Histories online hold gems that would work well as animated shorts too.
    Try this: Find 2 or 3 vivid episodes in a life history (maybe in your home state, or not) and imagine a two-minute video for one of them.

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