I conducted my first proper video interview today. And, no, the amusingly rushed Zurich interviews don’t count.

Of course, I’ve done my fair share of interviews while at FXhome, chatting away to various indie filmmakers all over the world. But almost entirely they have always taken place via email – which is a pleasant, easy way for interviewees to consider answers without feeling under pressure. It also enables them to formulate a decent, detailed and cohesive reply that is to the point and resists rambling on and on (well, unless it’s the Atomic brothers, of course! But that’s why we love them).

Video interviews are entirely different proposition, not least because I’m face-to-face with my subject and they’re caught in the lens like a startled rabbit in the headlights. The main problem is that it leaves you far less editorial elasticity, especially if you’re intending to remain an off-screen, implied interview presence. Ideally I don’t want to have to include the question itself, or cut to lame reaction shots of myself nodding and stroking my beard: I want the interviewees to do the talking and guide the video piece from start to finish in a sexy, natural manner.

Which, inevitably, requires some rather carefully chosen questions. It’s all about leading them down a particular route in order to provide editable footage. Easier said than done, considering that you have no idea what the interviewee is going to say.

The first interview went extremely well today, with Elly delivering some spiffy answers that ticked all the boxes. She was eloquent, funny and honest and her personality really shone through, which was great. Nils performed his own interview and, despite some sound issues, should also slot in nicely – he filmed it next to a ridiculously epic bridge somewhere in Sweden (hence I couldn’t be there in person), which was rather impressive.

Next up is Josh tomorrow. Which should be interesting. 🙂

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Categories: Writing

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