The Art of the Interview

An interview is a powerful tool in any storytelling medium, allowing you to capture the essence of your subject’s experiences and perspectives. To conduct an engaging and impactful interview, consider the following guidelines.

The Art of the Interview

  • Pre-Interview Preparation: Before the actual interview, engage in a pre-interview conversation with your subject. This initial discussion helps establish rapport and familiarity, providing valuable insights into their speaking style and personality. Aim for a phone or in-person conversation to hear their voice and get a sense of their communication style.

  • Seek Engaging Personalities: When selecting interviewees for video content, prioritize individuals who possess engaging personalities that draw viewers in. Pay attention to their ability to express emotions, tell stories effectively, and captivate an audience.
  • Avoid Over-Rehearsed Responses: During the pre-interview, refrain from asking the exact same questions that you plan to ask in the actual interview. This approach prevents the interviewee from sounding overly rehearsed and ensures a more authentic and spontaneous conversation. Instead, provide them with an outline of the topics you’ll cover to maintain a conversational tone.

  • Research and Preparation: Conduct thorough research on your interview subject and the topics you intend to discuss. This knowledge enables you to ask informed and meaningful questions and be able to fact-check the interviewees responses, demonstrating your understanding and enhancing the quality of the interview.
  • Crafting a Question List: Create a list of questions to guide the interview. However, don’t feel restricted to stick to the script. Start with basic and comfortable questions before moving on to more complicated or difficult topics. Embrace unexpected responses, ask follow-up questions, and challenge your subject’s perspectives or beliefs. This approach fosters dynamic and engaging conversations that captivate viewers.

  • Composition, Lighting, and Audio Techniques: Apply the rule of thirds when framing the shot during the interview. Make sure that the subject is positioned closer to the left or right edge of the frame and is looking towards the negative space ahead of them. Additionally, make sure your lighting setup is flattering to the subject. Make sure to test audio prior to starting the interview.

  • Consider Background: Choose a background that is visually appealing but not overly busy or distracting. Put at least six feet of empty space between your subject and the background. Minimize movement in the background to maintain focus on the interviewee and prevent unnecessary distractions. By placing the camera far away and zooming in on your subject you can create a shallow depth of field. This will blur the background and keep the focus on your subject.

  • Don’t Forget B-roll: B-roll can help the audience visualize what your interviewee is discussing. Make sure to shoot for at least 10 seconds or longer.

Remember, these guidelines are meant to be a foundation for your interview process. As you gain experience, don’t hesitate to adapt and evolve your approach, exploring new techniques and styles that suit your storytelling objectives. The ultimate goal is to create interviews that are insightful, engaging, and provide viewers with a deeper understanding of your subject and their story. Using these techniques and tips will help you in the editing process.