The Art of Interviewing: Three Thoughts

I'm posting for 60 days straight, leading up to my early December birthday, and I'm making the time to write on behalf of slain UCC Professor and aspiring novelist, Larry Levine.

With a full moon shining on this pretentious title, allow me to share some lessons learned after conducting hundreds of interviews for video and audio production including another ten more this weekend via Writing by Writers, #writewxw. Only a few of the interviews have been 'live' - at an event or on radio - but the same tenets hold:

  1. I typically feel underprepared for interviews, especially with those 'known' - business execs, investors, authors, directors, musicians, or actors. I've never gone into an interview having read, seen, or listened to all of their work. Never. There's simply not the time given budgetary or scheduling constraints. So I have to set my guilt and frustration aside and conduct the most engaging interview I can in the time allotted.
  2. Regardless if the interviewee is a celebrity or citizen, I have to actively listen. Be present. And be prepared for an open-ended follow up.
  3. Create a solid prep hour or three, ideally spread out over several days, to conduct research, read about your subject. Review past interviews. Scout their website and social media. Build your question list and take good notes.

With these in mind, and after testing mic levels, batteries, headphones, etc, you'll be ready to rock your interview. 

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