Speaking in front of a camera can make many people feel very nervous. This blog post will suggest some ideas to achieve better interviews.
It is important to screen each person you want interviewed. Screening is a good practice because someone who you thought may give great responses to your questions really didn’t have much to say. Search for those individuals who will help tell your story with passion. Some folks really articulate well, and have a special ability to speak on camera…these are the people you need to seek out. How boring would it be if all you got where one word answers?
This brings me to the next tip, ask open ended questions. By asking open ended questions you will get more than a No or Yes answer. An open-ended question could be, “Tell me what you like best about your job and why?” Do not ask, “Do you like your work?”
If you do not plan on using your voice to refer to the questions that are being asked, I suggest you have your interviewee answer the question in a complete sentence. By doing this, you allow the viewer to know what the interviewee is answering.
Whenever I plan on interviewing someone I like to meet them prior to the interview. Many times, this is not possible and you meet them the day of the interview. If this is the case, let your interviewee know that you are only going to have a conversation. We all converse, right? The only thing different is that the camera will be recording their responses. Many people feel at ease after I explain that we are just two individuals talking. While I get a sound check, I will ask them about their day, or how their summer was, anything to get their mind off what they are about to do. You need to warm them up before you start asking your questions. You never see baseball pitcher go directly into the game without warming up, do you?
I tend to usually have someone next to me ask the questions. This will allow the interviewee speak directly to them and not the camera. If you cannot find someone to ask the questions you will have to do it. I usually move away from the camera just a tad, so that the interviewee can address me and not the camera. Make sure you keep eye contact so they feel more comfortable. There is nothing worse than someone behind the camera looking down at their notes. It can feel weird talking to a camera and I tell all my interviewees that to look at me and not the camera. You only want them to look at the camera if they are addressing the audience.
Have some questions in mind but it’s important to listen what is being said. You may find yourself wanting to ask a question about one of the answers that was given. Having a guide line is good practice, but you can always ask questions that may come up during the interview. Interviews can progress, and when they progress they lead you to different territories that you may want to know more about.
Sometimes you may not get the answer you want, or the interviewee didn’t expand on a topic. When this happens, ask the question again later. It may be that the interviewee wasn’t quite comfortable and now after a few questions they have warmed up to you and feel much better about the interview.
Once the questions have been asked, I like to ask if the talent has anything else they want to say. Sometimes you can get great responses and sometimes they just want to be done with the interview.
Check out this video down below. These students gave great responses about their school FCCA. I had the principal screen her students prior to conducting the interviews. You can hear their excitement and because you hear the passion they tell a better story about why they love their school.
I have been working in television/media for over 16 years. My experience includes news photojournalist, editor, and storyteller. It is my belief that you have a chance to better your skills each time you pick up the camera. I strive to be better than I was yesterday.