This paper presents initial analyses of the opening sequences of a number of courtship and marriage stories told by elderly Italian-Australians. Using a conversation-analytic perspective. the paper contributes to the: study of how story telling is a co-construction of teller and audience. The focus is on how the storyteller(s) and the interviewer, referring to a list of topics that might be covered in the story, negotiate how the story should be told. These instances of conversational storytelling differ from those in naturally occurring settings, since the storytelling is being recorded; further, they are distinctive because the storytellers know that the audio-recordings will be later transformed into chapters in a book. Therefore. there is a distinctive for the record orientation by both storyteller and interviewer, as might occur with oral history research. This paper explicates what might be involved in getting stories started under such circumstances. Some of the theoretical issues that arise from the analysis include the status, for storytellers, of the assumption that then is a correct or true story that represents what once happened. The orientation taken to analysis of the storytelling, however, is concerned with the act of telling (cf. Bamberg, 1997). This paper thus contributes to a pragmatic approach to narrative and narrative analysis.