From the GoShiWon:
You want to do interviews with interesting people. That’s great! I encourage you to do so.
Before you grab that camera and microphone, take some time to watch the above video or read below on how to do proper video interviews.
Doing interviews with people takes more than just having a camera and microphone. It’s all about technique. If you want to have the best interview, you have to take a LOT of things into consideration.
Step 0: I forgot to mention in the video but I want you to study your favorite interviewer. In 2011, I discovered Inside The Actor’s Studio and saw James Lipton interview Dave Chappelle. That was probably the best interview i’ve ever seen. Dave was so cool throughout it all. He answered every question and had a story ready to go.
Step 1: Ask for permission. If you’re at a live event, make sure to get permission from the person and/or their manager to do an interview with them. If you just randomly walk up to them and interview them without their permission, they’ll push you aside or ignore you. The person you attempt to interview might have something in their contract that says they’re not allowed to do interviews with “unauthorized” reporters. Either that or they just personally do not do interviews.
Step 2: Have your questions prepared. I strongly suggest having your questions ready to go for your subject(s). Make it easy for everyone by allowing the subject to the read the questions before interview. They’ll have answers ready and they won’t look weird when they can’t think of something on the spot.
Step 3: LET YOUR SUBJECT TALK! I used to talk over my subject(s) and it annoyed my viewers. More importantly, it annoyed who I was talking to! If a show has your name, it isn’t about you. It’s about who you’re talking to or whatever the main subject is.
Step 4: Relax. Just be calm when talking to someone. You’re not on a date with them. You’re just having a conversation.
Step 5: DO NOT SLOUCH! I talked about the here but the same applies in interviews. Do not slouch. You will look weak and you will not maintain eye contact (which i’ll get into more later).
Step 6: Be knowledgable of your subject. Make sure you know many details about your subject. This isn’t in the video but I did an interview with a lady and I knew enough about her but not enough to make the interview interesting. She didn’t give me much to work with so it was a bust.
Step 7: EYE CONTACT! Keep your eyes on your subject. If it’s too hard, look at their nose or their mouth. Show them that you’re paying attention.
Step 8: Stand still. I used to have this bad habit for years. I would find myself fidgeting and/or moving around during the interview. It’s distracting to your viewers and your subject.
Step 9: Look at the camera. Don’t let your eyes (and body) wander off. Again, it’s distracting.
Step 10: Make your guests feel welcomed and comfortable. I do this by saying thank you and making them feel like what they’ve done means something.
Step 11: If you’re interviewing someone from a culture that is not yours, study them. You want to make sure you don’t do anything that is offensive to them. In South Korea, I interviewed pop groups and wasn’t allowed to ask questions about dating. Reason for that is the singers are not allowed to publicly date due to how volatile the fans are. The same in Japan. The only extreme difference there is i’m not allowed to touch the subject.
Step 12: Have extra batteries. You don’t want to be in the middle of a shoot and your microphone doesn’t work. Same for your lights and cameras.
Step 13: Have good lighting. If you’re outside, make sure you’re not “in front” of the sun. Make sure you and your subject are not shadows. Here’s a great tutorial on indoor lighting.
Step 14: TEST YOUR AUDIO! Please do this before you press record. Audio tests exist for a reason. You don’t want your sound to be too low or too high. Sound is more important than video.
Step 15: Film B-roll. If you’re doing video interviews for YouTube, B-roll is a necessity. You want to get footage of whatever it is your subject is talking about. This’ll keep your audience engaged and they’ll know more about your subject.
These are the things I learned when doing interviews! If you have any other things you’d like to add, please leave a comment!
Take care! Peace and love!