These 3 Video Interview Tips Will Save Your Next Film Shoot

December 14, 2021


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Article by Colette Nichol, Solo Filmmaker and Story Strategist

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

If you’re about to shoot your first micro-documentary film, then you need these documentary interview tips.

Last week I got divebombed by a crow in the park by my house.

Actually, my butt got dive-bombed. This is a first for me. I reached up to begin a sun salutation, bent forward, and then BAM!

Or more like squawk, flutter of wings, squawk.

I looked up to see the crow calmly perching in a maple tree above me.

Right now, where I live in Vancouver, it’s Crowmageddon time.

It happens every year, but it’s still somehow a surprise. Maybe that’s because you never know how you’re going to get attacked.

Crows are curious and harmless creatures most of the year. But once they have babies in the nest, they start an all-out war against anyone who walks within 20 meters of their nest.

I’ve had to change my running route because there’s an entire street completely run over with dive-bombing crows. I’m not sure what the people who live on that street do.

Maybe they’ve figured out strategies to deal with the feathered parents and their complete inability to figure out what’s a threat and what’s just some guy walking down the street with a baguette trying to get home.

Why am I talking about crows?

When making microfilm, your interview subjects have a lot in common with these overprotective parent crows.

Your subjects also invent threats because they feel nervous and defensive.

In the case of your subjects, they’re worried about their image, not a nest of babies. They don’t want to come off looking stupid, or silly, or weird. And so they can do the equivalent of divebombing your video shoot.

Interview subjects can act strangely, laugh nervously, do odd things with their hands, or just go all-out alpha and start trying to take over the shoot.

I once had an alpha subject leap behind the camera and start analyzing the framing during a test shoot. (This is not normal!) In the end, this CEO was so nervous about being on camera that he no-showed to his own video shoot. The rest of his employees were there. Well, because they had to be. But he was just too scared.

I’ve come up with some tactics that I use to capture excellent interview footage every single time.

Since the interview is often the backbone of your microfilm, you need to be able to do it well. Even if your subject is sweating bullets or trying to divebomb the camera.

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About the Author

Hi! I’m Colette Nichol. I’m a solo filmmaker and story strategist based out of rainy Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been making videos and micro films for small businesses and global brands since 2014.

Plus, I LOVE to help aspiring filmmakers pursue their dreams and start making films. This blog is designed to help you gain the knowledge you need to become a filmmaker.

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