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People's Shadows

Portrait Interview

PI is comprised of two informal, filmed conversations in which I take you through the journey of your life. We talk about your stories, your values, your hard-earned truths, your version of things, in your own voice with all your expressiveness. Think of it as a personal, private conversation that is at once serious, humorous and fun. The interviews are professionally edited and include photographs and music. The result is a rich personal portrait, and a legacy for future generations.



We sometimes misunderstand what people will be most interested in us after we die. It is normal to define our lives by our educational, professional and social achievements. 


While these accomplishments are significant, they are not necessarily what will communicate strongest to posterity. They are only part of our story. Those who will want to know us in the future will also be drawn to our struggles and vulnerabilities, as we, like them, try to forge a meaningful life under the same challenging, existential conditions. 


This was something of what I had in mind when I created the PI memoir interview. I took as my model a man who lived some 2000 years ago, yet speaks to us as if he were a contemporary. 


That man is Marcus Aurelius. 


Marcus Aurelius was the ultimate high achiever with a resume to die for. In 161 AD, he became emperor of the Roman Empire and, automatically, the most powerful person in the known world of his time. He was a revered statesman, philosopher and public figure.


Yet most of us, know Marcus Aurelius by a small volume of his thoughts, simply called Meditations. These sundry notes and observations, which he wrote down for himself and with no intention to publish, are a private exercise to help him understand himself, clarify his ideas and exhort himself to live to the highest standards of his beloved Stoic philosophy. 


His notes were luckily rescued after his death and first published in the Europe in 1558. Today, Meditationsis a classic taught in our schools and universities and read by people from all walks of life. It is what most people, outside of universities, remember of Marcus Aurelius and continues to be an inspiration to many of our current politicians and leaders. 


So then why has this little book held up so well over time? 


The answer, I believe, lies in the intimate view we get of a man, who, so long ago, was struggling with exactly the same questions that we all struggle with today: Who am I exactly? What am I doing here? What is the purpose of my life? How do I cope with pain and misfortune? How do I live with the knowledge of my own death? 


In Meditations, it is as we are overhearing Marcus Aurelius's private debate on these fundamental life questions, which in turn can help us with our own inner conversations about these same issues. 


After so many interviews, I have learned how consequential a single human life can be. And that those people who are willing to record something of their lives so that others, now and in the future, might understand themselves better is an act of great generosity.



David Adams

“I am not afraid of tomorrow,

for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”
Alexander Vassilieff, Odysseya: An Epic Journey from Russia to Australia

Donny Boardman - VT

I was asked by my family to do a Portrait Interview. I am not normally predisposed to talking about myself. But then I thought what if my father had left a video for our family. How grateful we would be now! So I went for it. It was so easy. David was remarkable. It was among the best conversations I’ve ever had.

Jane Smith, NY

My brother, sister and I gave a PI to my mother. We wanted to make certain that her life and ideas were recorded for posterity. She was overwhelmed by the gesture, and she loved doing it. The process helped her put her thoughts in order, and, in some instances, reconsider long held ideas.

John Parsons, MI

My sister gave me a PI as a birthday present. It was a great experience. I was impressed with David’s intelligence and sensitivity. He made me feel so comfortable. Frankly, it was one of the best conversations I’ve ever had.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ 
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