What if the actual interview isn't as strong as the pre-interview?
Eric Rudd asked: Have you ever found a downside to doing discovery interviews off-camera? I am seeing the value in probing your heart subject deeper, but what happens if their self-discovery or story comes across as more impactful during prelim interviews vs. the actual recorded segment?
Great question Eric, and I think this is a fear we can all relate to. What if I miss capturing a statement that would be great for the story—or if the actual interview isn't as strong?
But we need to trust that by going deep in our pre-interviews, we empower ourselves to conduct a just as strong—though I'd say even stronger—interview in production. We can go into the interview really informed on what their story is about, and able to explore even deeper, expand on moments, and ask more targeted questions. Moreover, by the time you reach the interview, you've developed a relationship with this person. And when you truly understand their story, you're empowered to guide the interview in the direction you need it to go, as the storyteller, rather than it being luck or chance that they speak to points necessary to share their story with others.
So, if asking strong questions in a pre-interview aren't going to prevent you from asking strong questions and conducting a strong production interview, then what causes interviews to go wrong?
I'd suggest that interviews that aren't as strong as pre-interviews are a reflection of us, as the interviewer. They're a reflection of the experience or situation we create for the interviewee—how we make them feel. Now, there are several points to consider for what kind of experience we create during an interview. Things like, how aware they are that "this is a production" and they are being filmed. Or what kind of energy we bring to the interview— all things we cover in How to Conduct Remarkable Interviews.