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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 26th, 2008, 11:03 AM   #1
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Interviewing for promotional video...

I am not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I could not find a place that seems a better fit (I was looking for a place for writing scripts, storyboards, shot plans, and other plans that go along with creating a video project.)

Next week I am finally leaving for my 2 week trip to film footage for a recruitment dvd I am putting togethor for a vocational training program for underprivledged youth. During my trip I will be interviewing staff as well as current and past students. I was looking for any suggestions as to what would be good questions to ask these individuals.

Here are my basics I have come up with for students:
1. How did you learn about the program?
2. What where the factors behind the decision to join the program?
3. Do you believe your life or attitude has changed since joining program?
4. What are/where your expectations of program?
5a. What goals/plans do you have upon completion of program? (current students)
5b. How have your goals/plans worked out since completing the program? (past students)
6. What vocation are/did you study(ing) in the program?

At the end of the interview I'd like to give the student some time to make any comments about the program they would like. I expect some will have something to say and some will not, but I believe some may have something useful to say.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 07:26 PM   #2
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Nothing really wrong with any of those questions.

You might, however want to use them as just an outline and be a bit more flexible when you actually sit down to do the interviews.

For example.

"How did you learn about the program" might be good for a parent, but a student would likely answer "my mom." and it's clearly not useful when you're interviewing the folks who DEVELOPED it.

(obvious I know.)

I like having lists of questions when I sit down to interview, but hardly ever just read them out.

For me that might become. "Take me back to when you first heard about this program. What was it about this program that made you feel it would be right for you?

That subtle change in phrasing signals that I want them to engage their MEMORY - not just spew out facts.

Videos full of facts are boring. Videos full of emotion and passion are typically not.

FWIW.
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Old March 26th, 2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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I've been in radio since 1985, and the best advice I ever received for conducting an interview is to just listen. I used to go in with a list of questions (which is necessary) but it's too easy to focus on the list and forget to listen to the answer. If you actually listen, more questions will naturally come up.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 09:03 AM   #4
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Thanks for the responses, its some good advice. The finished piece wont be a "interview", the footage I capture from the interviews will be used like you would find in a documentary on the history channel or something; just a tight shot of the interviewee speaking. I have prepared more questions than I will end up using in the final video and will be interviewing more people than I will probably actually use, but I'm sure everything wont be useable, so that seems like a good move.

As in Bill's example, a student would be likely to give a short answer that wouldnt be very useful so I also plan to give the questions to the interviewee before the interview in hopes that the answers will be better thought out & more useful.

I wont be interviewing the people who developed the program, just those who run the specific centers. It's a nationwide program and the company I work for only runs a small percentage of the centers.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 09:57 AM   #5
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I've worked in social programs in the past, and I can tell you that the more peppy and fast paced you make that documentary, the better. Since this is a recruitment video, you want to entice your audience. So, my two cents is make this with fast music, a little eye candy maybe, and great color titles and backgrounds etc. Since I feel like I haven't helped, can I get a penny refund.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Nichols View Post
...so I also plan to give the questions to the interviewee before the interview in hopes that the answers will be better thought out & more useful.
Some people respond well to this, others not so much.

Sometimes, I've found, if you give them a question beforehand that is specific, they form their answer to the level of detail in the question. Many times that's fine, but sometimes you may miss a great story that is really the answer you were looking for, because they decided on their answer ahead of time.

Consider giving them general ideas of of what your looking for, without specifics, ahead of time to put them at ease. Then, during the interview, you're free to go where they lead (providing they're going in the right direction for you).

I once gave questions ahead of time to a church I was working with, and when the president of the women's group showed up for her interview she had a three page, hand written answer that she wanted to read. Not good for a fast paced, fund raising video.
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Old March 27th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by David Vaughn View Post
I once gave questions ahead of time to a church I was working with, and when the president of the women's group showed up for her interview she had a three page, hand written answer that she wanted to read. Not good for a fast paced, fund raising video.
I definatly do not plan to give them the questions that much in advance. I planned to give them to everyone shortly before the interviews begin, just so they have enough time to look them over and have an idea of what they are going to say.
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