Movie Idea: The Interview

An interview gives us information about the subject. A good interview lets us find out something about the subject that is new and unexpected.

Interview tips


A good interview requires good preparation. Know what you want to ask about.

Ask your interviewee to use full sentences

If you ask “What is your favorite candy bar?”, you want your interviewee to say something like “My favorite candy bar is a Snickers Bar?” If they answer with full sentences, you won’t need to add the questions seperately.

Use open ended questions!

Ask questions that can’t be answered with a single word. If you do want a specific answer, ask open ended followup questions. It helps to try and think of these ahead of time. Write them down!

For example: If you ask “What is your favorite candy bar?” and they say “Snickers,” you could ask “Why is it your favorite?” or “What memories do you have of eating a Snickers?” or “Can you tell me about a time when you ate a Snickers?”

Don’t feel trapped by your pre-written question list! If you ask “Can you tell me about a time when you ate a Snickers” and you find out something new in their answer (like “My dad used to work at the candy factory?”), use their answers to come up with other questions (like “Was he always bringing home samples? How did your parents deal with candy in the house?”

Frame your shots!

Make sure your interviewee is the most interesting thing in the shot (if the shot shows them).

Use a microphone!

Bring a boom mic! It will isolate the sound from the interviewee!

Use a second camera!

Two cameras gives you and extra angle to use. You only need good sound on one camera. The other can be anything – even your phone!

Show other things!

If your interviewee talks for a while about something, you can cut to a picture of that thing!

Tell the interviewee where to look!

If they don’t know where to look, they’ll look all over the place, and that looks weird. A good technique is for the interviewer to sit close to the camera, and have the interviewee look at the interviewer.

Shoot some B-Roll!

B-Roll is extra footage. In an interview, b-roll is usually shots of the person working, or of them doing something that relates to the interview. If someone says “I roller-skate to work every day,” you could cut to footage of them rollerskating.

Record more than you think you need!

ALWAYS start recording at least thirty seconds before you ask your first question, and let the camera roll for at least thirty seconds after your last question. Record all your questions without stopping. If someone has to stop and re-start, keep recording!