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Behind the Scenes: StoryCorps Animations

Posted on Monday, November 25th, 2013.

What makes a StoryCorps animated short more unique than other material on the airwaves? Well, a lot of things, but one major aspect–as with all our stories–is the “real” factor. No, we don’t mean “real” like fist-pumping in Jersey, or 7 strangers living in one house. We mean real.

The narratives from our archive are true stories coming from the everyday people who come to our booths. Last week, we interviewed Mike and Tim Rauch about their lives as StoryCorps’ animation team, and they explained how much research and detail go into each one of their animations–including visiting the participants in their hometowns. “We want to know as much as possible about the story being told. “We also want to know more about the setting of the story–what is special or particular about the way they decorate their homes, the trees that grow in their city, the personality of their hometown? We get to find out anything that may be particular to them about their physical traits–not just appearance, but their posture, their walk, and their way of interacting physically.”

With our first-ever animated special, Listening Is an Act of Love, premiering this week (11/28 on PBS and 11/29 at we wanted to give you an exclusive look at what we like to call “animated vs. real life” with some of our classic animated shorts and a few new ones. Enjoy!


From “No More Questions!,” Chen, Kay, and Cheng Wang:



The fierce “Miss Devine”came from the memories and old photo albums of James Ransom and Cherie Johnson:



“John and Joe” honored the memory of John Vigiano Sr.’s two brave sons:



And we couldn’t ever forget about the StoryCorps classic, “Danny and Annie.” The Rauch Bros. used the couple’s wedding photos as inspiration for this iconic love story:




And an exclusive for our fans: Jackie and Scott Miller–never before seen still from Listening Is an Act of Love: A StoryCorps Special!



Did we miss any of your favorites? Have something to say? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

2 Responses to “Behind the Scenes: StoryCorps Animations”

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  • “Sundays at Rocco’s”, “Going the Distance”, “Eyes on the Stars”, “Family Man”… I would love to see photos of ALL the peeps behind the animations. You are all fabulous– I CANNOT WAIT to see the special on PBS! I’ll have a room full of about 23 people watching!! XO

    Comment from Lolly on November 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I think… for me at least… I love every story so much! I discovered them & watched all that I could find back to back & love the animation so much but did in fact wonder what each person looked like in real life. Would love at the end of each short if you maybe put the real pics up during the credits. Thanks for what you are doing either way! Very powerful

    Comment from Desiree on November 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm - Reply to this Comment

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