About this project
About two years ago, StoryCorps, the national oral history project, began animating some of the favorite stories collected from our interview participants over the years. Airing on the PBS series POV, these animations bring a whole new dimension to the audio stories that air weekly on NPR’s Morning Edition and can be heard on storycorps.org.
We’re now working on our first long-form animated special, which PBS has agreed to run in the fall of 2013. But - we need your help to close the gap on production funds so that we can finish the project and make it happen!
We’re asking you to back our first long-form animation special and then share this link with your friends and family. With your support, StoryCorps Animated Shorts can reach new audiences!
StoryCorps is a national, independent nonprofit
organization, and your donation is 100% tax deductible.
The Animation Special
Our first half-hour special will feature six animated shorts woven together as a narrative to convey the life cycle arc: childhood, personal identity, work, friendship, falling in love, and reflecting on life. Each of these shorts will be released individually on our website and YouTube page as they are created, before appearing in StoryCorps' Animation Special.
The StoryCorps participants and their stories that were chosen for the Animation Special address some of life’s most challenging questions (from StoryCorps’ Great Questions List): How did you feel when I was born? Who was the most important person in your life? How do you want to be remembered?
As with all StoryCorps Animated Shorts, the half-hour special will be animated and produced with Mike and Tim Rauch of Rauch Brothers Animation. In addition to the pilot series of StoryCorps Animated Shorts, the Rauch Brothers' recent work includes directing and animating for Sesame Workshop’s Electric Company. Oscar nominee (Doctor DeSoto, 1984) and industry veteran Michael Sporn calls the Rauch Brothers “an animation duo to watch.”
The beautiful, detailed animation backgrounds and landscapes are created by renowned painter and background artist Bill Wray, best known for his iconic painting style on the Ren & Stimpy Show. Our character designer and storyboard artist, Stephen DeStefano, has worked on Futurama and the Ren & Stimpy Show, and published with Fantagraphics Books.
Before the artists begin their sketches, they work closely with the featured participants to gain a richer understanding of their story. They talk with them at length, and even visit them in their homes to view family photos and take pictures of details they may want to include in the animation. This attention to detail adds contextual elements and depth to StoryCorps Animated Shorts that cannot be communicated in audio recordings alone.
Check out some of our favorite animations for a better idea of what the Animation Special will look like:
John and Joe | John Vigiano Sr. is a retired New York City firefighter whose two sons followed him into service—John Jr. was a firefighter, too, and Joe was a police detective. On September 11, 2001, both Vigiano brothers responded to the call from the World Trade Center, and both were killed while saving others. Here, John Sr. remembers his sons and reflects on coping with his tremendous loss.
Miss Devine |Cousins James Ransom and Cherie Johnson recall their fearsome Sunday school teacher, Miss Lizzie Devine, the only woman who had more power than their grandmother. Set in the small Florida town of the cousins' memories, this animation resounds with the joy of sharing stories with family.
No More Questions! | Kay Wang was a strong-willed grandmother who was reluctantly taken to a StoryCorps booth by her son and granddaughter. Though Kay resisted, she still had stories to tell—from disobeying her mother and rebuffing suitors while growing up in China to late-life adventures as a detective for Bloomingdale’s department store. Kay passed away just weeks after that interview, and her son and granddaughter returned to StoryCorps to remember her gentler side, which she kept to herself.
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