SCA 50 Year Storycorp Update

Here’s a quick update on the Story Corps projects from 50 Year, since several people have asked, “what’s next?”.

We collected about 21 hours of interviews over the 5 days. Some of these are long, as with the founders, some celebrities and a bardic recitation, while others are shorter NSTIW stories or brief vignettes of SCA life.

First, all of the footage needs to be logged, and out of that process we’ll know what to transcribe word-for-word. The logging and transcription gives us an inventory of what we have, so we can start putting the parts together.

In terms of the founders, we want to put together a long-form narrative, since the 5 in attendance recounted the same events from different vantage points and in varying degrees of detail. While we can certainly post the 5 to 6 hours of raw founder interview footage, we feel that the experience for the populace will be a lot richer if these interviews are edited and assembled into a narrative documentary format; in short, a story of the early days of the SCA and its roots. The same applies for our celebs, such as Sir Trudy and the founder of Lochac. This process will take 4 to 8 weeks minimum, depending on how much time we can devote to it given real-life responsibilities.

We have two bardic tales that we will release “as-is”, since any editing would ruin the tales. This will happen by the end of July.

For the vignettes and NSTIW stories, we will make individual files for each one and release those, once we’ve applied some basic title graphics to identify the storyteller. This will happen by the end of August.

All of these clips will be released on a dedicated YouTube channel.

Several people have asked about doing more interviews, possibly at Pennsic or at major MK events. That is a little more complex.

We rented a cinema-style camera and had real-life pro (me) operate the camera and handle the technical details. We had another person (Aine) dedicated to working with the talent and conducting the interviews. This was a full time job during 50 Year, and took a lot of mental and emotional energy from both of us. To wit: try staying “on-stage” for 8 hours a day without a break, 5 days in a row, while staying mentally alert to ask the right questions and emotionally alert to comprehend the answers. (Neither us is looking to give up a week like that in the near future. We need a break and time to edit the footage we already have.) In future, we need more people to conduct the interviews.

In terms of interviews, there is a finite number that you can do in a day with only one recording team. Realistically, you can put someone with a short story or two through the works in 30 to 45 minutes, so in an 8 hour day you can get 12 to 16 interviews max. It is a time, equipment and personnel intensive project. More gear and people costs real money to acquire.

Regarding equipment, it was worth every cent to rent a “real” camera and audio gear, especially when you consider the importance of getting a high quality record of events that happened 50 years ago from the founders. Yes, you can record an interview on your phone if you REALLY pay attention to the light and sound quality. Otherwise, you need to do it right and get pro camera and audio gear.

What we want to do, and what the plan was for Story Corps all along, is to teach people how to gather quality interview footage in their own local groups and kingdoms, so we can start a high quality archive of people’s experiences in the SCA. I think we can start doing that in the fall in the MK, or sooner if someone wants to step up to the plate earlier than fall.

We still need to work a long-term archival storage solution for the data files, because YouTube is not “archival” by any means.

So. That’s the scoop from Story Corps. Thank you to everyone who came in for an interview at 50 Year, and please stay interested in this project. Stay tuned for more info.

In service,

Gunnar Sigurdsson, OP
Baroness Aine ingen Neill mec Lugdech
Story Corps – SCA 50 Year Celebration