So you’re going to be interviewed on-camera. You’ve never done anything like this and you have no idea what to expect or how to “get ready”. Good news! Help has arrived.
In my 25 year career as a film maker I have interviewed a LOT of people, (I would say thousands, but I’ve never really counted). In fact, my record is about 60 people in a week. So during that time, the years – not the week- I’ve learned a thing or two about interviews, insights that I want to share with you.
The reality is, getting ready for an interview is neither hard nor painful. But you probably have a few questions – in fact, you can turn the tables and I’ll answer the 5 burning questions you want to know before your interview.
Question 1 – Why Me?
You’re being interviewed because we want your story, your perspective, your thoughts and your experience. The fact is, you’re an expert. So relax, be yourself and speak from your personal experience. That is the first and most important thing for you to remember in this process.
Question 2 – What’s Going to Happen?
We’re going to have a conversation. That’s it. All you have to do is sit down and have a conversation with me, your interviewer. You don’t have to act and you never have to look at the camera.
Now to get to the place where we can do that, our team will arrive anywhere from 45 minutes to an 1.5 hours before your scheduled interview to find the best place to talk with you. Once we land on a place, we’ll move into action to get all the camera, lighting, equipment, etc. in the right place to make you look great.
Depending on the scope of your interview, we could be with you for 30 minutes or 3 days. Either way, we have one purpose, to capture your story in a way that best communicates your message.
Question 3 – What Should I Wear?
Video cameras have come a long way, but there are no where near as discerning as our eye. Because of that we have to adjust for the way a camera “sees” colors, patterns and contrast. With that in mind, we suggest the following guidelines as you pick the perfect outfit.
DON’T wear black, white or red.
DON’T wear small stripes, fine checks or dense patterns.
DON’T wear large or flashy jewelry
DON’T wear anything distracting like large logos, etc.
DO wear dark to medium colors.
DO bring 2 extra clothing changes – just in case.
Men, follow the same rules when choosing a tie—a non-shiny plain tie, which complements your suit, is best.
The bottom line is we want people to focus on you and your story and not what you’re wearing… unless of course that is your story.
Question 4 – How Should I Prepare?
Actually, you need to prepare very little, if any. As we assumed in Question 1 above, we’re talking to you because of your knowledge on the subject so it’s less about preparation and more about being who you are. Truthful, genuine, sincere and honest are what we’re looking for.
There are a few “Don’ts” that I would caution you against. Don’t over prepare. Don’t try to memorize answers. Don’t write it ALL down.
We choose to talk with you, not an actor we hired to play you, so you shouldn’t attempt to memorize your script. I promise, that has never, ever, not once, turned out well. Don’t over-prepare. Sure if you want to jot down some notes, some memory joggers or dates and places, that’s fine. Don’t over prepare. Don’t write it ALL down.
Question 5 – What’s The Interview Like?
The easiest way to answer this question is to share with you the 10 suggestions I share with everyone I interview right before we turn the cameras on.
- This is a one on one conversation between you and me.
- Ignore the camera
- Our audience won’t hear my questions only your answers, so rephrase of restate the question. If I say, “What’s your name?” You’ll say, “My name is…”. If I say, “How did you get to this place?” You’d say, “I got to this play by…” You get the idea. Just make sure the audience knows the context of question from your answer.
- From the viewers perspective, I don’t exist, so I won’t audibly respond to your questions – but I’m fully engaged.
- Don’t mention my name in your responses.
- If I look down or to the camera while you’re talking, keep looking right at me.
- After you answer a question, there will be a few seconds of silence before we go on. This is intentional. Keep your eyes on me the whole time.
- Don’t refer back to something you said earlier in this way, “like I said earlier” or “as I’ve already said”, etc. For whatever reason, we may not use what you said earlier.
- I may ask you the same question different ways and at different times – that’s intentional. If you’re able, answer it in a different way.
- Don’t self-edit. If you felt like you just “messed up”, correct yourself and go on. If we need to revisit a question again, we can do that. But for now, the show must go on.
And there you have my answers to the 5 burning questions about your on-camera interview. It’s really that easy. In fact, one of the greatest compliments we can be paid is what we often hear after an interview, “That’s it? That was easy!” You can do this. Be yourself and share from your experience. We’ll take care of the details!