6 Essential Tips For Filming Kid Interviews

I produce a lot of interview style videos for corporate branding, product promotions, recruiting and fundraising. I’ve had quite a few projects where I’ve had to interview kids. These can be both fun and extremely challenging. Having just finished up another one with the good folks at BrightPeak, I thought I would share some useful tips.

1. Understand The Different Age Levels - This may sound obvious but kids of different ages are going to answer questions with varying levels of complexity and confidence. Give some thought to the questions you plan on asking and the answers you are hoping to get. Here’s a rough handicapping system based on my experience:

Ages 4-5 - Kids in this age group have a hard time having a conversation and speaking at a level that’s audible. Yes - they are very cute but you probably won’t get a lot of useful answers.

Ages 6-7 - Kids in this age group are more conversational. Their answers are longer but their substance is still relatively simple.

Ages 8-9 - Kids in this age group are able to share both facts and opinions.

Ages 10> - Kids in this age group are much more articulate and share insights and original ideas.

2. Recruit & Interview More Kids Than You Need - This tip applies to a project with people at any age level. You never know how someone is going to do in front of a camera. People who you think are going to be great turn out to be not so good. People who you don’t expect much from will shock you and so on. When budget & time allow, it’s always best to interview more people than you need.

3. Help Kids Practice Before The Interview - The first time a kid attempts to answer your questions shouldn’t be when you sit down to interview them. Make sure that someone close to them who they trust (parent or teacher) has run through the questions with them a few times. If you are pulling a bunch of kids from a common group, sometimes it can be very helpful for the group to run through the interview questions together. Kids will start to feed on one another and it often leads to them generating more ideas.

4. Warm Kids Up At The Interview - You are probably going to be a complete stranger to these kids so spend some time making them feel comfortable. I typically follow these steps (1) express excitement and gratitude when they show up (2) shake their hand, introduce myself and thank them for coming (3) give them a quick tour of the set up and explain what each thing is and what it does and (4) have a fun conversation with them about something that interests them before turning to the interview questions.

5. Use Props & Family Members When Necessary - More often than not, the kids you are interviewing will be nervous. Sometimes giving the kids toys or placing other props on a table will allow them to feel more comfortable. This could also lead to funny visual laughs during the interview. Another way to make the kids more comfortable is to have a parent or sibling in the room with them. They can provide guidance and support if necessary. In some cases, interviewing a younger child with their older sibling is a smart choice or even having a parent or sibling ask the interview questions with your guidance.

6. Repeat Your Questions - One of the biggest rules in interviewing is to repeat your questions with different wording or phrasing. This allows a variety in answers and also gives the interviewee multiple chances to really say what they want to say. This rule is even more relevant when interviewing kids. You will get a lot of short or one word answers, and rephrasing the questions will help you dive deeper into the conversation and make sure you get the answers you are looking for.

Working on a video project that features kid can be a lot of fun. Using these tips will help you get great results the next time you interview a kid on camera. Watch our blooper reel below...

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