The Importance of the Pre-Interview
Today, I want to discuss the importance of the Pre-Interview in the success of your video, media or print project.
Sometimes cold interviewing works, as in the News Media scrums in front of politicians, or on the steps of the courthouse, when you might surprise your subject into saying something strange and newsworthy with a pointed question. (see Rob Ford interview scrum)
Only in news gathering or documentaries (to some extent) would you allow the subject matter to evolve organically. If you are not a news reporter, chances are you good that you want to have control over the content of your project. This is the importance of the Pre-interview.
If your production is planned out properly, you can approach your interview knowing that the questions you ask, and the answers that you receive, will enhance the information that you need for your your video. The importance of the Pre-Interview is especially necessary if you are creating a corporate video, testimonials for your websites, infomercials, commercials, vlogs etc.
From when you first approach an individual about participating in your project, ensure that you communicate exactly what your video is about, and how the information that they will provide will enhance the content. Ensure that they can discuss precisely the subject matter that you require.
Provide them with some initial questions, but never forget that the person you are interviewing knows the subject matter better than you do. During the pre-interview process, you will find that they will be able to offer content suggestions that you may not have thought about. Think about the collaboration that this can generate if you and the person being interviewed develop some of the questions together.
But the importance of the Pre-Interview also extends further. By meeting with the person you will be interviewing, and working with them to develop pertinent questions, you also have an opportunity to build a rapport that will extend through to the video shoot itself. Your guest will be more relaxed on camera, which will create a better interview.
A pre-interview will also allow you to inform them if you need them to wear or avoid certain colours. Imagine if you are using a red coloured set, and your guest shows up in a red dress. DISASTER! Can you say “The Invisible Woman?”
Or imagine that the product that you are discussing has blue packaging, and you want them to wear the same shade of blue in order to give a subliminal cue to your audience that reminds them of the product under discussion.
Don’t think this happens? Take a look at this Activia Yogurt commercial. Note how the wardrobe of the actors compliments the product colours which is a certain shade of green. This is not an accident. Start watching commercials and you will see how often this happens. Didn’t realize you were being manipulated, did you 🙂
Remember, when you are editing the interview into your project, do not take your guest’s comments out of context. Do not twist the meaning of their answers. Be sure you treat the information they gave you with integrity. It is okay to edit out stutters, or misspoken words, so long as it does not change the content of the information that they have given you.
The importance of the Pre-Interview as a tool to further the goals of your project cannot be ignored. Be certain that you take advantage of it to enhance the success of your project.