It takes a village

How I formulated my profilee’s life story

Profiling an individual is a labor intensive but rewarding process. I enjoyed speaking with my profilee and learning her inspiring story.

As Rich suggests (346) I made sure my profile was not a timeline. It was difficult sometimes to structure my information so that it had a coherent narrative and theme, but it was worthwhile because the piece is much easier to read.

Fortunately, I didn’t run into any ethics/law considerations. Interestingly, Bardsley’s daughter, Price, told me her mother despises any sort of untruth. I’m certain I can trust what she says, and Bardsley was always able to back up her assertions. I felt her story was compelling enough to stand on its own.

Tips and tricks

Julie Sullivan advocates using short, descriptive sentences (352). I utilized this tip in my story, specifically with the anecdotal lead.

Alan Richman’s tip about everyone having a story to tell was also useful (343), and at times I plied my profilee with questions because I knew there must be more details I could uncover.

I also used the Rich tip “be prepared” (105), because I talked to Price before I spoke to her mother initially. This allowed me a brief glimpse into Bardsley’s life to prepare questions and better understand her story.

In my research process, I used the GOAL method to develop the outline of my story.

  • I focused on the obstacles Susan Bardsley overcame to become successful
  • My turning point was where I showed how the community and her friends and family made her who she is today.
  • The turning point morphed into the theme or general nut, where the reader sees how it takes a village to create a person.

Down and dirty

I interviewed my profilee three times, including using FaceTime. The latter presented technical difficulties, so we had to quit early and talk on the phone. When I wanted clarification, I used online communication to seek basic answers that didn’t need much elaboration.

I knew I wanted to create the storyboard and website to be inspiring, to make it relatable and newsy to the audience. I tailored Bardsley’s story to be impressive and her journey to Storybook Theater to be inspiring to a crowd of college students who may feel down or need a lift.

I also wanted to do a photo timeline of Bardsley’s musical career. This visual would give the reader a better idea of how long music has played a role in her life.

Bardsley singing and playing piano at one of her shows at Storybook Theater.


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