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Bespoken Words

Frequently asked questions

Who are you?

Bespoken Words is run by the family team of James, Jody and Luke. James is head of production and is a sound engineer, designer, musician and producer. He has run First Love Recording Studio since 1997 and has taught advanced sound production techniques. James is the creator of the critically acclaimed Soundmap audio tours and, with Luke, the London Language Experience lessons. Luke is the head songwriter, he's a diverse musician, creator of fantastic musical projects and a pioneer of cinematic and interactive audio in language learning. Jody is the head biographer. In the past she has run a record label, worked at Booktrust, organised charity events and worked in the community with asylum seekers and refugees. She is a highly qualified language teacher and has taught all ages of students for over ten years.

Our bespoke documentaries:

What do I get for my money?
A beautifully packaged CD containing an hour long documentary consisting of stories and messages from family and friends, edited together to a soundtrack of music and sound effects which tell the life-story of the recipient. With our enthusiasm and exceptional production values; we absolutely guarantee that your Bespoken Word will be something truly exceptional and a very special gift indeed – just listen to some of the reactions we’ve had!

How long will my documentary be?
Your documentary can be any length you want; most fall between twenty minutes and an hour long. However there are many things that can affect this: the number of people appearing, the number of intended recipients and how many stories there are to be told...

So you’ll come to a location of our choice to record us?
Absolutely, wherever suits you. Our industry standard portable equipment can be used anywhere, the only thing we need is a quiet room!

When can you come to record us?
Any day of the year.

Why can’t everything just be recorded over the telephone?
If you wish we can record some or all of the stories and messages over the telephone – however due to the acoustic limitations of a telephone line, the sound quality isn’t nearly as good as a face to face recording with a microphone. Listen to our telephone trailer for an example:

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A friend has a microphone, can we just record our messages with that and send you the recording?
Absolutely, messages can be recorded anyway you wish, although we hold no responsibility for the quality of the recording if not made using Bespoken Words equipment.

Some important people don't live in England, can they still be on the recording?
Of course, our biographers can travel anywhere to do a recording, or distant friends and relatives can simply be recorded over the phone.

I’m not quite sure what to talk about...
Based on our initial consultation, we’ll provide you with a list of questions and ideas of topics to think about to help stir your memories. We’ll provide this well before the recording so you have time to prepare your thoughts and stories. On the day of recording, things will be very relaxed and we can start off by talking to you and asking you questions to get things flowing.

I think I might feel a bit uncomfortable talking into a microphone...
It’s completely natural to be uncomfortable when using a microphone, however we will do everything they can to make you feel relaxed and once you get started you’ll probably find that you really enjoy it! And don't worry; the recording will be edited for the final documentary which means that you can stop and start talking whenever you feel like it. If you start telling a story and get it a bit wrong,  you can just start over again until you say it the way you want it.

My family and friends can ramble quite a lot, can you edit it together so it makes narrative sense?
This is the key to making the bespoke documentary so special. Each Bespoken Word documentary requires something different and specific to that person, however as a general rule we edit your recordings so that the life story of the recipient is told chronologically and fits all the stories into the right place in the timeline of their life.

Everything seems to happen very quickly in the trailers!
The trailers have been designed to give you an idea of one of our documentaries, in a full documentary things will happen much slower to give each person appearing time to speak. If you’d like to hear a full ten minute section of one of our documentaries, then please contact us and we’ll send you an excerpt.

What exactly do you mean about making a shorter edit of the documentary for inclusion in the speeches?
Generally a Bespoken Word documentary runs for at least twenty minutes, if not longer. In some circumstances (for example; the speeches at a wedding) you may wish to have a shorter version with just the ‘best bits’ to play over the loudspeaker system. This can be created to your exact specification from the main documentary (you choose which stories, messages, music, etc you’d like included and how long you want the edited version to be).

How does adding existing personal or family recordings work?
We can take any home recordings you may have and add them to the documentary. From more recent clips recorded on mobile phones, to any old tapes, videos or Dictaphone recordings you have. Our sound designers are specialists in audio restoration and can clean up and improve the quality of any recordings. We will also give you the restored audio in a digital format to ensure that it’s documented for future generations.

Our bespoke songs:

How does the Bespoke Song work?
Luke, our head songwriter will contact you to discuss your wishes and requirements. We have a large number of musicians available depending on what you want, male or female vocalists, all sorts of instrumentalists; we can help you create a song that represents you and your message!

You can pick from a selection of pre-recorded songs or commission us to create an entirely new song. You can choose to be involved as much as you like, for example, you can write the lyrics, we can write the lyrics or we can work together on them. If you are a musician, you can even sing or play on the recording yourself!


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Bespoken Words photography:

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Celebrating life with words and music