Interview – Preparation

1. Proper preparation techniques can maximize the opportunity for shooting testimonials. Once you have identified the participants, it is courteous and conducive to a successful interview to brief the participants approximately a week beforehand.

2. Prepare a list of proposed questions and considerations ahead of time and send them to the interviewees and to the production company to review. Interview questions should be open-ended, preferably starting with “Why” or “How.” Interviewees should be asked to incorporate the question in answer and to speak in complete sentences. Explain that they will look and speak directly to the interviewer, as opposed to the camera and that the viewer will only hear the answers, not the questions. This technique is commonplace on television news shows, for example. While the answers should be complete sentences, try to keep them short and concise. This is called a “good sound-bite.”

3. If possible, meet with the interviewees to address any of their concerns Stress that these are the types of questions that may be asked, but are not necessarily the exact questions. Discourage scripting or memorizing answers; instead tell them to try to answer in their own words. Note their initial responses and which questions they are most comfortable with. Ask them if they have ever done this kind of thing before and thank them for their time and input. Try to avoid using questions that the interviewees were initially uncomfortable with. By the same token, try to avoid if possible, interviewing someone who seems hesitant or uncooperative.

4. Interviewees should preferably avoid wearing white, black or red. Solid, muted colors like blue, green, brown, gray, yellow, or salmon are best. Also avoid thin stripes, distracting patterns or noisy jewelry. If a person wears glasses, plan for a few extra minutes of lighting set-up. Also, ask the person if it will be ok to apply a little powder to the face, if necessary.

5. Finalize your list of questions and study them. Practice them with an associate and memorize them so that at the time of the interview, you will be able to have as natural a conversation as possible.