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TPC 164: How To Interview

October 30th, 2011 · David · No Comments

Interview Tutorial
Jenn from the Jennisodes
Clyde from Theory from the Closet, Yellow Menace, Sammich Zen, and prod. of  That’s How We Roll S03
Tim from WTF Are We Doing?The way I see it, interviews really break down into three main components:
1) Selecting The Guest – I’d say this should be first. I’m also taking purple for comments. -Clyde

  • “Idea.”  Why do you want to talk to someone.
    • Questions – You have interesting questions. “How does the brain change during meditation.” “What is illusionism when referring to gamemastering?” “Who was involved in the very earliest part of the formation of OWS?”
      • Who can answer your questions?
    • Personality- This person is interesting. http://www.jennisodes.com/podcasts/memento-mori/
    • Fame – This person is famous.
    • Request – They’ve asked to be on the show.
    • Witness – This person has a first hand account.
    • Sales – they have something to sell like a book.
      • More amendable to making appearances to get the word out.
  • How to contact them – some people have publicists
    • Writing an email, twitter, real life conversation – BE POLITE!
    • I could use help here. I can’t break into anything outside of hobby gaming.
  • Scheduling-
    • All the above should help create one answer to this. Schedule when you can.
    • Preference – You may have a preference due to personal convenience.
      • Skype -
        • Ease of use. The world is available to you.
        • Convenient for a regular schedule.
        • Less effective – lacks;
          • Body Language
          • Possibly volume cues. (Skype adjusts volume)
          • Communication gets garbled.
          • Lag time in communication.
          • More difficult to create small talk.
      • In person -
        • Flip the pros and cons of Skype.
        • What to equipment to use?
        • Best surroundings to record in – smaller room/convention hall

2) Preparation
Preparation
What prep do you do?  What kind of preps are there? If you have an idea what the answers to this question are, you can be prepared for perhaps interesting follow up. After listening to their answer you might be able to ask something like, “Oh do you do X? Why or why not?”
Do you listen to other shows’ interviews with the person or do you freeform it?  I can see advantages/disadvantages to both of those Rather than state you see advantages/ disadvantages, ask the interview-ie what they think the disadvantages or advantages are.  If they don’t have anything, then state what you see. Perhaps bullet point the advantages/disadvantages you see.

  • How much should you prepare
  • What should you give your guests
    • Topics/Questions
    • I’ve got a story to tell you! It’s a great story
    • When and why shouldn’t you give guest info.

3.) The Conversation

Clyde’s Interview Link

Here’s that unedited interview I mentioned on your show. http://bit.ly/tlUuS7

Here’s the transcript of the chopped up thing that went online. Notice

that most of his questions that question her and journalism get

chopped. http://bit.ly/uXGuS1 She has a hard time and drops everything

that exposes the problems with her editing and journalism in general.

    • Guidance
      • You need to let the person know what’s expected of them.
      • You need to guide them through the process. Tell them you cut in laughter after your intro, that you will start after clapping your hands, whatever.
      • This will help ease their anxiety, and build trust.
    • Body Language
      • Skype interview “language” – don’t look at the internet – concentrate
      • In person can change the way an interview sounds.
    • Interview Styles
      • “Tell me about your life.” The kind where we get to know the person as a person.
      • “Tell me about your ideas.” This is my style.
      • “Journalism.” Let’s get to the bottom of something. Professional.
      • This is really important. It can guide what you need to do with body language, questions, who to contact, etc.
    • Active Listening.  Actually listening to a person is hard.
      • Follow ups – most people are bad at this.
      • If you don’t know what something is there is a good chance someone in the audience won’t know – so ask! “You just mentioned X, what is that all about?” Strongly seconded.
    • Questions
      • Written Questions – Most people do this.
      • Topic lists – My style
      • Research – What has been asked already.
        • Does it need repeating
        • Were important follow ups missed?
        • Where to go for research
          • Internet/podcasts
          • Friends – people who have played the game if you haven’t

The Conversation
Breaking the ice: Jenn has a solid process for breaking the ice with the 5 questions she asks at the beginning of the show.  Since we’re not an interview show, is that weird and out of place for us to do when we record or do you have a solid ice breaker that you use when doing interviews?

  • Chatting off the record helps to break the ice and gives you a sense of how the interviewee talks. Do they pause a lot before speaking? Are they comfortable chatting? Do you have to direct them with questions more so they don’t get side tracked. Are they really good at going on tangents and telling 5 minute stories?
  • You may or may not want to ask five questions. Unless you are doing product coverage, shock-attack journalism, or humor (i.e. Daily show,  Colbert show, interviews,) you always want to warm the guest up.

Other examples: The Walking Eye.  They do solid interviews. We can talk about why they are better, now.

Selecting the Guest
When you book your guest, do you try and do it around an event, something they have to promote, or to encompass their body of work?

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