View Full Version : Can you help me with an upcoming interview?

12-20-2004, 07:10 PM
My best buddy is shipping out to Iraq in early January and I want to conduct an interview with him before he leaves. I want him to open up about his life, family, and situation. I want the tone to be upbeat and plan to interview him when he returns. I'm not worried about his safety or coming back because I know a little about his mission and my Desert Storm experience tells me its not near as bad as portrayed by the media. Have any of you done this? Do you have a good reference of questions to ask? I'd like to make it at least 30 minutes. Any help is appreciated.

12-21-2004, 07:54 AM
You are probably the best source for questions - it's hard to come up with questions if you don't know the person at least a bit.

I haven't done much interviewing myself, but one valuable lesson I learned during filming of a doc I am working on - ask the easy questions at the beginning. Like 'when and where you were born', 'what's your family like', 'what do you remember from your childhood'. It may take some time for your subject to relax and 'forget' about the camera, and talking about the general stuff like that at the beginning may lead to more specific questions based on what your subject most cares about later during the interview. Don't worry about logical order during the interview - you are going to edit it, right?

Are you planning a 30 minute video? If so, you will probably need at least a 3-hour interview that you will want to cut down. Any interview has a lot of empty spaces (very boring to watch), repetitive or confused answers, and you will probably want to edit that out.

Good luck to you and (especially) to your friend.

12-26-2004, 09:24 AM
Keep him in a setting he is comfortable in, like his home. Get him comfortable first--ask about family, sports his interests, etc--just shoot the sh-t to help him get comfortable in front of the camera and to open up. Have a list of questions written down with the most sensitive ones to ask when the time becomes right, like the stuff about how does he feel about death...G-d...killing people, if the war is really "just", stuff that may make him a little uncomfortable...warn him before that he doesn't "have to" answer questions he's not comfortable with, since he's a friend of yours, too. I find the most important thing is just to listen, and let them talk. Don't cut him off. Also, if you haven't thought of it, get footage of him hanging out with his family, friends, etc. doing what "he does"...working on his car...whatever - in order to cut to that stuff during the interview, and don't forget to shoot cutaways! Good luck to you (and him)

12-29-2004, 07:06 PM
Thanks for your advice guys. I'll be doing it in a couple of days...will let you know how it turns out.