Interview Skills

So this project is really the first experience I’ve had conducting interviews, so there’s a lot to be learned.  And interviewing people for the film documentary is even more difficult because you’re capturing everything on video.  And when I say everything, I do mean everything—including yourself.  This means I have to be careful not to talk over the storytellers so as to keep their stories clear on the audio tracks.  But as an interview I want to be sure I’m personable and conversational so as to keep the storyteller at ease.  You also want to be sure that you’re giving them enough time to react because a film is both audio and visual.  Thank goodness my film partner has a lot of experience behind the camera because she gave me some great advice.  Just give them more time in between questions to have reactions because sometimes they’ll even keep going and reveal some really candid moments.  Looking back at some of the footage I collected on my own, I was afraid I wasn’t asking the right questions.  My film partner said my questions are great, but I’m cutting into their honest moments.  There was one time in particular we could see that I had a question and was no longer focusing on what the storyteller was saying.  She advised me to keep a notebook and write those questions down and ask them once the storyteller finishes their anecdotes.  The sad part is, I was keeping a notebook with me!  However, it’s a difficult balance to stay engaged in their story without missing important information while also writing down a question and not be distracting.  I guess I’m not as good at multitasking as I thought.  Thank goodness I have a great film partner who’s already on the same page as me with the editing process!