1. Wear Solid and Neutral Colors, NO PATTERNS
For technical reasons, patterns do not come off well on camera. Stripes, especially vertical, have this optical glitch called a moire effect. It is distracting, and will take away from what you are saying. For fashionable reasons, patterns are tacky and do not age well. While you are at it do not wear all white or all black or any green. You may be on green screen. PRO TIP: wear something that has convenient placement for a clip lavalier microphone just below your chin. PRO TIP: bring a backup outfit just in case your outfit clashes with the backdrop.
2. Do Not Chat Equipment
This one is just a pet peave of mine, but it would be greatly appreciated if you do not comment or share how much you know about camera equipment. We do not care about how much you know or want your opinion about the setup. If we had a bigger budget of course everything would be higher end, but we don’t, and we don’t want to be reminded of the money we don’t have. Pro Tip: try not to utter, “lights, camera, action”, “that’s a wrap”, or “ready for my close up”. You are not the director.
3. Use Full Sentences
The key to the interview is clean succinct sound bites. When the interviewer cues you with the question you should reword the question such that the answer is complete with context to the question. Likely the interviewer is not on camera or mic’d.
4. Do Not Speak With Your Hands
When you use your hands it will distract the viewer and at times make it hard to edit because your hands are up and then perhaps in your lap. Also, this prevents you from making sounds that the mic will pickup like clapping, scratching, touching the mic on your chest, and general body movements.
5. Sit Still And Hold Your Posture
When you go on camera get comfortable in the way you will sit for the entirety of the interview. The cameras will be framed to you and focused at that point. If you move around you will go out of focus and/or out of frame. Also, it brings more gravity to what you are saying rather than how you look.
6. Do Not Wear Loose Jewelry
Audio is very important and loose jewelry will make noise. Try not to wear necklaces other than delicate single chain minimalist styles. No hanging metallic earrings or bracelets that jingle.
7. Know The Talking Points
Any good production will have sent you the prep doc with all the questions. Have a good idea of what you are going to say, and feel free to glance at your own notes in between bits. Understand the goal of the project and cater your expertise to that vision. The interviewer should more simply be promoting you to the next point rather than an off the cough response. Of course new information you bring may result in a deeper dive on that question, but be prepared with a full response. This creates better sound bites, better conversation, and easier post production.
8. You Are The Expert
Let this empower you to be enthusiastic about what you are saying. Share you ideas with confidence, and be comfortable that you are supposed to be there sharing your knowledge. It is important to be secure with your yourself because it will make it a stronger production. Also, feel free to share extra comments at the end if you think you have ideas or concepts that are pertinent to the topic, but were not covered in the designated questions.
9. Expect To Be Interrupted
This is because the set will need to be adjusted wether it’s lighting, battery changes, audio levels, or to pause for sirens etc. It’s not about you, it’s about capturing the best footage and audio.
10. Take A BTS Photo
You did it! You finished the interview! Now ask the camera operator or PA to snap any kind of behind the scenes photo of you with your phone so you can share it. Build the hype and show your audience! It’s fun!
Some of it may sound a little harsh, but I just finished filming a docuseries with over 80 interviews over the course of a month, and I’m tired. The inexperienced peeps and the overly eager peeps drained me and my time and now I have to edit that ish. Use these tips, and you’ll do great! Just get in and get out and the whole crew will love you. You probably are not the only interview for that day so respect the crew’s time for setup, breakdown, and everything in between. We still have to edit your footage and listen to you many times over. No pressure, you’ll do great, but keep it succinct, short, and sweet.