Pulling off an effective interview isn’t as easy as you may think. It is often the most challenging part of the production and usually makes or breaks your piece. In the past 5 years I’ve probably done as many interviews as anyone in new media and I still learn new things every time. Last week I shared some tangible interview tips that has helped me over the years. Today I will give you some of the intangible elements that contribute to a better interview.
6. Dress The Part:
As I get older I am learning to appreciate how dressing like an adult helps in the respect ctegory. Gone are my days of tilted baseball caps, ironic Tees, and shorts. You don’t have to dress like you are working on Wall Street although it really can’t hurt, but you should wear something that says I take myself seriously. My rule of thumb is if I can’t wear it on a dinner date, then I probably shouldn’t be wearing it to work.
7. Master Your Domain:
The moment you enter an interview space you have to make that environment yours even if you are an invited guest. There are ways to do this without being rude or territorial. Ask the hosts for permission to scout the location to find the best interview setting. Once you have that permission take the opportunity to collect your thoughts, get comfortable with the space, and to shift into director mode. Every single person I’ve ever interviewed from celebrities to my folks has looked for direction from me, embrace that responsibility.
8. The Push & The Pull:
One of the skills that come most naturally to me is being able to read people. A very useful trait as a director. The bottom line is that you want your subject to be comfortable and to feel confident. If your subject is talking to fast, repeatedly asking you how they are doing, restarting allot, chances are the interview won’t be very good. When you see these signs shift gears and take the pressure off. I usually do this by talking about an unrelated topic and weaving my way back to the related subject matter. There are dozens of ways to shift gears, many just come with practice. That being said, the interviewer’s best skill is to know when to shut up. If the dialogue is flowing don’t feel the need to push your agenda, act more like a moderator.
9. Don’t be a Douche:
It helps if you are a likable person and that the person you are interviewing is also likable. If that isn’t the case a producer or an assistant can be an invaluable asset acting as a buffer between you and any bad vibes.
10. Manage the Energy:
If the energy is cool and artsy, then be cool and artsy. If you need more passionate energetic answers then you should try to encourage that in your tone and your body language.
Next Friday: Prospecting for Clients.
Trevor “Trevz” Bayack is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker who approaches his web pieces as mini documentaries. Recognized as a member of the 2008 URB magazine Next 100 for pioneering the “video blog” Trevz continually makes his pieces shorter, sharper and ever more shareable” Follow our twitter feed for more.