Some Frequently Asked Questions

What are Spoken Portraits?

A Tickertape Spoken Portrait is a finely crafted audio feature telling your story or the story of someone important to you. It can take the form of a ‘self-portrait’ where the ‘sitter’ tells their own story, or a tribute from friends and colleagues celebrating someone special.

Our expert producer will discuss with you ideas for what to talk about. For example the portrait could be:

  • a life-story — a kind of spoken memoirs — or a chapter of that story;
  • the story of a career;
  • a celebration of what makes a person tick — a collection of memories linked to their passions, like food or gardening;
  • the story of a couple’s life together.
Inside the presentation boxes for our Spoken Portraits: suede-lined interiors accommodating a CD, USB stick and paper insert

How are they presented?

We produce each Spoken Portrait as an audio CD in a beautiful hand-bound presentation box for you to treasure. We prepare a summary of key events and contributors to accompany the CD. We also provide the audio feature on a USB stick.

Find out about our CD presentation boxes>>

Why commission a Spoken Portrait?

So many reasons! Here are a few:

  • as a unique and highly meaningful gift, perhaps for a wedding, special birthday or retirement;
  • to record the stories of a close family-member, colleague or friend in a way that really captures their voice and personality;
  • as a personal project – perhaps you have been thinking about writing your memoirs, but have struggled to put pen to paper;
  • to celebrate the achievements of a colleague, such as a retiring Chair, Founder or Head of Chambers;
  • as a valuable and engaging addition to a family or business archive.

Tell me more about tribute-style Spoken Portraits

Presenting a surprise Spoken Portrait

What's involved in producing a Spoken Portrait?

There are typically four broad stages to the process.

  • Planning. We discuss with you the scope and shape of the project, topics to cover and — in the case of tribute-style Spoken Portraits — people to interview.
  • Interviewing. We use broadcast quality equipment and interview people in person at their home or workplace. We are based in London but can travel to wherever you are. We can also interview people over the phone or internet: a good technique in these days of social distancing, and we can achieve remarkably good quality sound. Visit our blog for examples of Spoken Portraits based purely on internet interviews; on landline interviews; and a combination of the two.
  • Editing. We carefully and sensitively edit the material together to produce a feature that flows naturally and seamlessly, without the voice of the interviewer. We meticulously remove long hesitations, “Ums” and “Ers” (more on de-umming here) and finesse the sound quality. The average 50-minute feature is created from 540 cuts to keep the portrait concise and easy to listen to.
  • Producing the Spoken Portraits. Finally, we prepare a written summary and track list to accompany the CD, discuss designs with you, and arrange for everything to be printed.
Tickertape Productions founder Rosie Oliver at work editing a Spoken Portrait

What's the cost?

The cost of a Spoken Portrait will vary depending on things like the number of interviews, the length of the feature and travel and accommodation for interviews outside London. We will provide a bespoke quotation after we have talked through your ideas for a project. 

We don’t get to keep our loved ones forever but this recording of my father’s life in his own words is the next best thing. A perfectly preserved moment in time that will hopefully be appreciated by generations of our family to come. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that it is one of the most precious gifts you could ever give to yourself and those you love. — Shola, London

Rosie was absolutely professional in managing and directing the process and we have been able describe our lives together and apart throughout the years on disk for our children and grandchildren and for future generations. We highly recommend Rosie if you want your story told as a Spoken Portrait in a caring and respectful process. — John and Debbie Robbins, Gibraltar and London

Once I’d met Rosie and heard about her Spoken Portraits I was really keen to capture my mum and her two siblings talking about their life experience in the 40s/50s. My aunt’s 80th gave me the perfect hook. Rosie put together a brilliant piece, expertly editing together interviews with three siblings in two separate locations to create a wonderful piece of family history. Her easy manner and thoughtful approach made it a fun experience for all involved. I feel very moved by the final piece and found out a thing or two I never knew! It will be a priceless piece of family history for us all and future generations to enjoy. — Susie, London

A friend recommended Rosie for a very special purpose: capturing a spoken portrait of my Nan on the occasion of her 90th birthday. Rosie did amazing work from start to finish: so dynamic, thoughtful and considered. My Nan had a wonderful time speaking to Rosie and we now have such a precious recording, so beautifully captured and edited. I wholeheartedly recommend Rosie! — Jason, London

I found the whole process liberating. I had long been thinking of trying to put some memories down but finding it impossible to put pen to paper. Working with Rosie on a spoken self-portrait of one important period of my life gave me the editorial focus and impetus I needed. — Sir Bob Scott, London

Rosie was brilliant and so efficient turning the project around within a very short time. She contacted everyone to arrange to speak, helped them feel at ease during the recording sessions and managed to achieve such a brilliant quality of sound through easy to access online software – so we could all contribute from our own homes [during lockdown]. — Clare, London on a surprise tribute-style Spoken Portrait for a wedding

Rosie was a pleasure to work with from beginning to end and she really came to understand her “sitter”. Her gentle, encouraging manner with my mother was especially appreciated. — Donna, London

I commissioned Rosie to produce a surprise Spoken Portrait for my mum’s 80th birthday. I was quite nervous about the process and Rosie guided me through with reassuring professionalism and sensitivity. She expertly broke down this big undertaking into manageable stages and I knew I was in good hands all the way through.

Rosie has a way of setting people at ease with her warmth and genuine interest. She managed to collect some moving and priceless memories that will be treasured forever. It was a huge success – a very highly recommended gift and altogether rewarding experience! — Naomi, London