After The Shoot - A Blog About Story Driven Video Production

How To Prepare An Interview Subject

Posted by Jeff Brandt on May 30, 2017 10:44:00 AM

More and more organizations are seeing the benefit of producing videos that showcase meaningful conversations.  In this edition of "After The Shoot" Jeff offers up 5 tips to prepare your interview subject for a great interview.

 
 
 
 
 
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Wistia video thumbnail - How To Prepare An Interview Subject
 

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Video Transcript

We are doing a project in Austin Minnesota for the search Institute which is located in Minneapolis. For those of you don't know, Austin is a home of the Hormel company where they actually have the spam museum.  So it’s worth checking out if you're ever near Austin.

At Storyboard Films we really believe in the value of not scripting stuff out and having organic conversations. All of this revolves around doing an interview.   thought it would be useful to talk about how to set up an interview both before and during the interview so that you can get someone really relaxed and get the most out of it.

1. Send the questions ahead of time.

Make sure to send the questions ahead of time. People normally aren't aren't used to being interviewed so they want to get an idea of what's going to be asked.  The other thing that's beneficial about that is they're able to think about the questions and let them ruminate in their mind so that when they come they've already spent some time thinking about what they want to say. The other thing to be mindful of is to limit the number of questions you send. I typically don't recommend sending more than more than three to five.  If you send a long list of questions to someone you're going to get them awful anxious and uptight in a hurry.

2. Give the interview subjects a pep talk.

The other thing I really like to do and I always say is “hey I'm going to give you my pep talk.” Here's what I say. First of all I thank them for coming and thank them for their time. I add that this is going to be really low-key. All we're going to be doing is having a conversation. I'm going to ask you questions and you're just going to talk to me.  I also say to them that this is going to sound weird but you actually don't even have to worry about what you're saying. That's my job! I'll pay attention to what you're saying and make sure I get what I need. The most important thing for you is to speak from your heart and not from your head.

3. Spend some time getting to know your interview subject.

I spent a lot of time asking them about themselves. For example, how long have you lived in Austin, what do you do, have you ever been to the museum, do you have kids and so on.  I work on developing a rapport. A lot of times when the interview starts they look at me with a funny look and say, “So did we start?” and I smile and say, “Yeah, we started.”  Spending that time with someone up front gets them really comfortable

4. Don’t read your interview questions like a script.

Think of your questions as a guide not as a rigid script. There's nothing worse than someone going so tell me about X Y Z. That is really stiff and that's not going to encourage a natural conversation.  What I'd like to do is look at the question and think of how I want to say it based on the flow of the conversation just to make it seem natural. Don't be afraid ask follow-up questions. A lot of times the best information comes out when you get curious about what someone said.  Oh I heard you said this.  What else what else did that mean? What else is behind that?  a lot of times the best stuff comes out of a follow-up question.

5. Offer your own commentary to make it feel like a real conversation.

I sometimes will intentionally not ask a question and just offer my commentary. I do this to make them feel like it's more of an equal weighted conversation. For example, “hey I noticed you said this. I think that's really cool because XY and Z.  It keeps that conversational element of it on an equal footing.

If you have any questions or any comments feel free to leave them and thanks again have a great day



Tips

  1. Send the questions ahead of time.
  2. Give the interview subject a pep talk.
  3. Spend some time getting to know the interview subject.
  4. Don't read your interview questions like a script.
  5. Offer your own commentary to make it feel like a real conversation.

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