WELCOME TO A PROJECT THAT TALKS ACROSS TIME TO FUTURE GENERATIONS

LIFE STORIES is a unique project developed by South African based journalist Lisa Chait which gives you or someone you love the opportunity to have their life story expertly captured on DVD, audio CD or as a book and, if you wish, shared instantly with friends and family around the world using our online private or public access facilities.

LIFE STORIES allows you to literally talk across time and speak directly to your children and children’s children. You’ll remind future generations where they came from and gift them with a tangible, priceless link to their ancestry.

Whether it’s the Life Story of a person of any age, a couple, a business or an organisation, our passionate and skilled team of interviewers, videographers, sound recordists, writers, editors and transcribers will help you create a priceless piece of history to enjoy and cherish.

In truth, it’s all about the effort we make today for future generations!

WHAT WE DO

We’ll create a beautifully presented, fully researched  LIFE STORY DVD, audio CD or book for you to give to your loved ones, including interviewing people around the world on Skype to include in your film. Then, if you choose, we’ll help you share these stories instantly with family, friends and colleagues around the world by housing them on this site or our Youtube channel – on a public or members-only page. In this way your Life Story will be professionally archived and instantly available to anyone who wishes to view it, wherever they are in the world. It will also be available to future viewers in years to come because, as we know, online is the closest thing we have to forever.

Preserve history now before you are left saying:

“I’m so sorry we didn’t do this when we had the chance”

SO, IN A NUTSHELL WE OFFER

  • Visual Autobiographies (a DVD), Audio Autobiographies (a CD), Textual Autobiographies (a book)
  • Transcriptions the video of audio Life Story.
  • Free online hosting of your Life Story on our website.
  • Special occasion & milestone films.
  • Family documentaries

64 Responses to HOME

  1. Tessa Dowling September 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm #

    Sindiwe Magona wrote a beautiful poem about how we MUST take photographs “Please take photographs!” we MUST also video our beloved people, and have their laughs recorded for eternity.

  2. Andy September 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm #

    Very cool. Amazing thing to do. Think the next time my Mom is in town you should interview her. You keen?

    • Lisa September 2, 2010 at 7:39 am #

      Your mom would be an excellent subject. It would be an honour to share her story with the world. Lisa

  3. Julius Kaplan September 2, 2010 at 7:24 am #

    What an excellent concept. Wish it’d been around in my late father’s day. His grandchildren would really have had the benefit of his wisdom and humour.Looking forward to contributing to this site.Good on ya lifestories.co.za, I’ll be sure to spread the word of your existence.

    • Lisa September 2, 2010 at 7:45 am #

      I agree fully. My sister has a son named after my grandad Jacob Spilkin. Little Jacob is now only two and a half. When he gets past Barney and is a few years older we can show him the talking, breathing (just not living anymore) person who was important enough and loved enough to name him after.

  4. Rudy Nadler-Nir September 2, 2010 at 7:47 am #

    Lisa, I’ve been thinking of what the legendary mythologist Joseph Campbell said about dreams and myths: “Myths” he said “are public dreams, dreams are private myths.” The bond between private and public narratives (which are often one and the same) is one of the most rewarding, delightful manifestations of our inbred storytelling skills. This website therefore is perfectly positioned to answers both personal and public needs and aspirations. Well done!

  5. Robinne Collie September 2, 2010 at 8:51 am #

    Lisa, this is just a wonderful website. We have had a real experience watching Oupa Jay online. I have of course seen the interviews before but it is quite different having them online, easily accessible anytime. All in the office now know his story!! xxx Rob

  6. Marius Prinsloo September 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm #

    What a brilliant idea. We witness miracles everyday in someone else’s life, yet we only register the bad. Good job Lisa!

  7. Galia September 2, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Well done Lisa. Really creative and brilliant idea. I am sure you are going to be making many people feel as important as they are.

  8. Gwen Kloppers September 2, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Lisa, what a fantastic idea! You have such a wealth of knowledge when it comes to people’s stories. I remember how the ladies were inspired by your stories at the Cocktail Evening! Well Done and keep doing this amazing work. There is so much power in stories. I believe they serve to inspire others!

  9. Lynnette Endean September 3, 2010 at 8:02 am #

    Fab. idea Lisa! I so wish that we were in Cape Town still to be able to ask you to capture our story – firstly with Red Circle, then to our battle with breast cancer and our move to the UK. I also so wish that this could have been around when my Mom did not have dementia! There is so much that we will never know about her life during WWII and after that in South Africa. I know nothing about my gran and my great gran although last year we flew my Mom out here and we went to visit their grave (they are buried together) and my Mom had never ever told me that my great gran died after I was born! So, if you had been around and with your incredible talent to make people feel comfortable and to draw out their stories this would have been so wonderful. Our past is what builds our future – we can change our future but not our past, we can however learn from our past but not if we don’t know what our past was.

    • Lisa September 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

      With the wonders of the Internet I can interview people anywhere in the world. Its quite a simple thing to do. We do the interview pre-preparation over Skype. I then send my U.K. based camera-person to your home and we do the interview with me present throughout on Skype and you and Chris answering my questions. You will simply be looking at my camera-person (but not into camera) He then sends me the unedited video using a large file sending programme and I edit it here. You email me some pics with captions and Bobs your auntie. Not bad don’t you think?!

  10. yehudah cohn September 4, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

    lisa – great interview. What a character he must have been

  11. Justin September 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    Really great concept and simple yet effective execution I see..Well Done Lisa.
    I was with my 94 year old Grandfather today and was really wanting to start him talking about his life and the past and tell HIS story and was just thinking how I can start this…
    So quite apt that I logon today to see what you have begun..
    And how you are really honouring that each individual has a story worth telling.
    thanks for this. :)

  12. Norman Chait September 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Very moving, I remember when you filmed Oupa Jay – Sharon and I were visiting from Israel – I am still laughing at his stories about the criminal cases he defended !!

  13. Lupo September 6, 2010 at 11:40 am #

    Lisa,
    I realised already when we met for the first time in June: You have a dynamic creativity. This website will collect a lot of memories. I wish I had a video of my late father. This site would be the right place for it.

    Lupo

  14. peter calitz September 6, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

    A well thought out initiative Lisa. Will create a lot of nostalgia and fun in families. And what better way to record family history….pretty much how it was done around campfires for many years.
    Good on you.

  15. Ellis September 7, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    Lisa,
    What a excellent idea. It seems to me that part of the reason so many of us don’t know so much about people we love is because it’s not that easy for many of us to communicate in that way with those close to us. With your wonderful nature and expertise you would be the perfect person to be able to facilitate these valuable interactions. I wish this had been around a while ago…..

    • Lisa September 8, 2010 at 6:30 am #

      Too true. It would have been wonderful to interview your mom. You know of course that we do interviews internationally either via Skype or by sending a camera person to film a subject anywhere in the world. Worth keeping in mind dontchathink? Lisa

  16. zolia rumble September 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    This ia a wonderful concept,Lisa It’s a gift for each family who honours the memories and experiences of those who are important to them. Keeping the moments is precious as every mother knows who has kept the scribblings of the siblings. We never remember those precious words on our own and rediscovering them is a total delight. Good luck! Love your un-ending creativity. Zolia :-)

  17. rob September 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Hi Lisa
    Great idea. I think confidentiality may be a big thing (for me, anyway) is this covered in any way?

    • Lisa September 12, 2010 at 8:25 am #

      Hi Rob. So glad you brought up the confidentiality issue. It is a key factor for us as not all clients might want to share their stories with the world. We have system where people can house interviews on the site but will need to use a dedicated code to view them. Its a simple and effective way to keep our offering global whilst at the same time supporting confidentiality.

  18. Sara September 17, 2010 at 8:16 am #

    What a fascinating concept. I love it and I’m telling the world about it.

    I do think there are some more things you could do to expand the ecosystem even more by adding to it (not taking anything away), but we’ll chat some time soon!

    We used to say,”everyone has a book inside of them,” – their own lives. Perhaps that’s now moved to “everyone has a movie inside of them dying to become a forthcoming attraction.”

    • Lisa September 17, 2010 at 10:43 am #

      HI Sara. I am excited to chat to you. As a Microsoft Architect and someone who clearly has a deep understanding of the online ‘scheme of possibilities’, I think your input will be invaluable. Lisa

  19. Lorne September 26, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Terrific, Lisa. Can only serve to enrich us all.
    What about the possibility of including audio only versions? Obviously not as engaging, but pre-camcorders, blackberries, i-phones and the like, there are folks out there like my wife Heidi’s sister who recorded an interview with their late Gran, a Holocaust survivor with an incredible story, on good ole cassette or other audio medium that can be digitally transposed. I’ll forward the URL to her for sure.

    • Lisa September 26, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

      Hi Lorne. It would be great to include audio if that is what remains ‘on the record’. I look forward to hearing from Heidi’s sister. On the visual front we welcome footage from people who have already filmed a family member or a friend. All we need is to standardise the footage for our site (titles etc) and we can upload them with ease. The point is to have an easy url – http://www.lifestories.co.za – where your families footage is stored. There would be no charge for http://www.lifestories.co.za to host the footage.

  20. mark October 13, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    what a brilliant idea. One should record ones story – well ..actually 2 stories…the PUBLIC open one and the PRIVATE dedicated ones to special people. I think one could even do a will this way. Hmm and make your wishes very clear for when the time comes that you no longer have a voice! They say it will happen to all of us…but I don’t believe it!
    This is great – ABSOLUTE FULL OF POTENTIAL… well done Lisa!
    Say what you never said! Have your life on a record!

  21. adele November 5, 2010 at 12:07 am #

    Love the concept…What are your charges?
    I would love to get my parents aged 88 and 90 …interviewed… I live in melbourne..they live in CT and have very interesting life stories…
    hugs and kisses
    adele gottlieb bense

    • Lisa November 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      Hi Adele, it would be a pleasure to interview your parents and you can be part of the process too! You can be present during my pre-interview with them via Skype where together we will share stories and plan what they/you wish cover in the interview. The wonders of modern technology mean geography makes no difference at all. Isn’t it great. Lisa

  22. Hilton Berger November 18, 2010 at 7:49 pm #

    Hi Lisa I’m your cousin living in Toronto, Bess was my father Abe’s sister. I remember visiting Jay and Bess in PE as a kid. Fabulous concept!

  23. anne Lapedus Brest November 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm #

    Hi Lisa, I think you have hit on a marvellous concept. As a Photographer/Genealogist/Writer, I have been preserving famly history for years, through my work, and when I saw your write up in the Jewish Report, I thought it was a great idea and decided to contact you. Kol Hacavod, Lisa, you have a great concept here, keep it up. all the Best…

  24. MacArthur Z.Beyan December 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    this is a unique thing to interview your parents.

  25. Allan Sakinofsky December 12, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    Lisa,
    I only wish that I could have captured my father telling all about his upbringing in Touws River and Worcester as well as those parts of his family history that I know very little about. I would have loved to have had a greater insight and understanding of the way that my grandparents and great grandparents lived and how and why they emigrated. A fabulous concept.
    Shalom
    Allan

  26. Brocas Walton December 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm #

    Inpsirational idea, Lisa. I hope it goes well for you and all who have a record for prosperity.

  27. Marc Rabinowitz January 3, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    FANTASTIC CONCEPT!! Good website design…..

  28. Scott harrison January 12, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    Great idea Lisa. Scott Harrison

  29. Susan Louw January 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Definitely a good idea to preserve history, especially folk lore. Well done

  30. Jenny Meadows January 29, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    Hey, Lisa, Rudy N-N told me about this, and I’ve just listened to your interview of your grandfather. How I wish I had video of my parents and grandparents, with audio. We have 8mm reels that we’ve turned into DVDs, but there’s no sound.
    I urged Rudy to talk with you about recording his in-laws, Chris B’s parents. They’re in their mid-70s now, and have fascinating stories, as do most people if you get them to talking!
    Nice to know you can do this with folks around the world. I think I’ll put it up on FB. Speaking of which, have you created a page for it on FB? Jen

  31. Roy eskapa February 3, 2011 at 2:22 am #

    Invaluable… Wish we had this for my grandparents. So much you can do… Be great if folks could submit self made interviews and old photos which you edit down.. That way you could reach those who are too far away or can’t travel?

    • admin February 3, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      Would love that. We are eager and happy to host material that has already been made. The point is to offer a platform to archive and share the material worldwide. Bring it on!

  32. Marc Feitelberg April 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm #

    The greatest gift you can give a child is a sense that they belong to a past a present and a future….that they are a part of a continuous flow and unfolding story….a history. Lisa has made this possible in the most magnificent way. I simply love it !

  33. Kay April 13, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    I have a lot of “wish we hads” coming up after going through this wonderful site. Lisa is a visionary with the heart of a humanitarian! What an amazing combination. What an incredible idea!

  34. lizma April 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Lisa, my parents are now in their mid 80’s and they have always been SIMPLY INCREDIBLE. I shudder to think about the day when they will not be a phone call away any longer. Your initiative makes it possible to have a little piece of the people we love with us forever.

  35. Alex Learmont April 28, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    Lisa – the importance of the work you are doing cannot be over-emphasized! This is proof that the video record belongs to everyone – not just those whose transitory fame makes them the target of broadcast television. At last someone is using the medium for a true and worthy purpose

  36. Jules May 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Would so have loved to have done this with my grandfather, but 10 years too late for him, and he was ’93, it still amazes me to think he grew up with ‘pony and trap’, cars were still an unusual sight down country lanes – what a fabulous raconteur he was, what a wonderful concept Lisa and beautifully and sensitively executed! Salut!

  37. Brianne Stolper May 9, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    This is really excellent. I wish I could have done this for my grandmothers and even my mother. I am sure you will have a lot of success as a lot of people want to do this sort of thing but can’t be bothered. You make it look so good. Well done!

  38. Danny Petersen May 17, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    Wow Brilliant Lisa, I wish I had the opportunity to listen to recordings of my grand Dad.. I was told that he was an excellent musician…
    If I haven’t captured all my son( Little Daniel III’’s) video footage when he was still small and started playing his drums I would never been able to produced a history reel of him…

    this is priceless what you are offering and I sincerely hope that people will grab this opportunity…
    all of the best my friend

    Danny Petersen

  39. Elspeth May 20, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    What an amazing thing to be doing – wish I had done it when my parents were alive as my children have no memory of them. SA provides such an amazing place for collecting stories – such an important part of a society in transition.
    A query – would you ever consider doing this for a couple who have been married 64 years!!
    Elspeth

    • admin May 20, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      Of course. We love doing couples. We talk a bit about their lives b4 they met and then have them sitting together like Harry & Sally. Its lovely!

  40. GERHARD May 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm #

    Weaving stories into a life pattern is one of the best realistic creative ideas i ever came across. Rose (Lisa) you are a legend in full right, keep on creating those stories one-day it will be worth more than the idea its created on…

  41. PAUL KERTON May 26, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    Hey Lisa,
    Great to see you last night. Now I understand what you were banging on about!! It’s brilliant. Really fantastic concept. Wish you all the luck in the world. Wish I’d thought of it!!

    Paul

  42. Philip Powell July 12, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    Lisa,
    You just have what it takes. I’m always inspired by your vibrance and energy. You have ‘SUSS’ You are one of few that realise that it’s more important to leave a LEGACY than a WILL. Beautiful….!!!!

  43. Adrian July 30, 2011 at 11:56 am #

    What a brilliant concept. Unfortunately, I never met more than one of my grandparents, and how enriching it would have been to have this sort of record for me and my own child. From strength to strength…

  44. FIONA SACKS August 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    I think that this is the most BRILLIANT CONCEPT. I learnt so much from my father’s segment, more than we ever discuss in person. It filled in the blanks in my memory and also I learnt new info about my grandparents and their dedication to their children – Something that has continued to the next generations. What a great gift. I highly recommend this to any family. You are leaving a legacy of memory for future generations.
    Kol Hakavod Lisa.

    • Keith Lauwrens November 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      Hi Lisa
      How do I search for Harry Sack`s inter view ??? where and how do I search for it on your website ???

      Regards
      Keith Lauwrens

  45. Greg Vandecar August 18, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    Brilliant concept which brings past to present. Helps preserve memories.
    I am very fond of the idea of capturing memories and this is exactly what Lisa is helping people do.
    Well done to you Lisa.

  46. Thatoyaona Manasseh September 1, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    What a fascinating project! Absolutely love the concept. What is really exciting for me is the opportunities for scalability and the cultural impact of the project. I new dimension of appreciation, expression and connectedness- using video.

    Great work to Lisa and the team. Looking forward to following your work!

  47. Johan Louw September 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    My hobby for the last 40 years has been and is Military Medal collecting and as each medal or group represents an individual, preserving the past and personal histories have always been of great interest and importance to me. Great credit to you for capturing such stories using the latest technology.

    Regards
    Johan ‘Plug’.

  48. Gail Loon-Lustig September 16, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Found these clips really interesting and so familiar. Thanks so much for letting us all share the memories of others. Really terrific! Loved the gefilta fish. Gail.

  49. Jennifer van Papendorp May 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Well done Lisa. A brilliant concept. I so wish I had talked to my parents more and knew more about their background and lives. I would like to do my stories – I feel as if I have lived a number of lives already.
    Looking forward to watching Judy Bekker’s stories.

  50. Lauren Benatar September 1, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    What a wonderful idea, Lisa! Such a creative way to dissolve the limitations of time and space…

  51. Si March 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I love your idea and work Lisa, it is so important.

  52. Sandi Huskisson October 15, 2014 at 6:49 am #

    What an awesome idea Lisa – you have always been so creative from the “inner you” Lovely, Lisa :)

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