Preparing for the Interview Preview

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The heart and soul of the documentary is the interview. It's an opportunity for people to express their opinions, share their knowledge, and inform the audience. As a documentary filmmaker, the quality of your story hinges on your ability to make your subject comfortable, know the right questions to ask, know whether an answer will work for the edit, and ultimately get to the truth.
In this module, we explore how to find qualified subjects, techniques for preparing to shoot the perfect interview, tips on what to wear, how to select the right chair, how to work through a translator, and how to deal with release forms – especially in a heated or controversial interview. 
Be smart, be prepared, and know how to control the room when you’re sitting in the interviewer’s chair.


  • 33:03 video that walks you through the steps of finding and preparing the best interview subjects
  • Illustrated companion guide


  • The objectives of an interview
  • What is a sound bite and how to get them
  • How to find qualified interview subjects
  • What the subject should wear on camera
  • How to choose the right chair
  • Techniques for preparing your subject for the interview
  • How to work with a translator
  • How to use release forms
Very detailed. Excellent for homework assignments to let students watch at home.
   -  Daniel Levin,
       University of Houston