Preparing For On-Camera Interviews: The Pre-Interview

A few years ago, the Video City Productions team started performing pre-interviews during pre-production. These have been immensely helpful with preparing and saving time before the actual interview.

When working on documentaries, lifestyle, or testimonials films, companies can feel like their options with on-screen talent are limited. They can decide to take complete control of the message and script exactly what to say. However, this can result in the talent’s responses sounding contrived and inauthentic. On the other hand, they can give talent complete control but this can result in unprepared and extremely variable answers. The pre-interview is a great middle ground.

Vetting The Talent

Before the shoot and sometimes before the script-writing process, we conduct recorded phone calls with the talent. The objective is to establish initial contact, sort out basic details and get for feel of their camera-readiness. Almost immediately, we find out if they sound natural on the phone, which generally translates to performing well on set. This allows our team to make the decision to keep them in or leave them out of the filming process.

Vetting the Questions

The pre-interview presents the opportunity to test run questions. They aren’t given word-for-word but we familiarize the talent with questions that might require fact checking. This can include specifics such as “How many years have you been in business?” and “What product were you using before and for exactly how long?” By asking these types of questions, anything irrelevant can be adjusted prior to filming and avoid wasting valuable time on set.

Pre-Interviewing Before Scripting

The authentic answers revealed in the pre-interview can be used to define the messaging. Without being over-prepared, talent are more likely to deliver content closely aligned to the messaging in an authentic manner during actual filming.

With pre-interviewing, the talent is given the opportunity to feel more comfortable with the material. We’ve found countless hours on set saved by vetting the talent and questions. Pre-interviewing for your video production, no matter the type of video is the key to ensure a high-quality and authentic video.

Looking to plan a documentary, testimonial or lifestyle film? Contact us here!