Filmmaker Fridays: Interview Skills

In this Filmmaker Friday session we will be covering interview skills. Whether you are doing a lengthy project about a person or just some quick questions, it’s important to know the skills required to produce a professional looking interview.

Download the Interview Skills Keynote (PDF)

Components of a Good Interview


  • schedule a time in advance
  • have questions ready
  • know your time limit
  • have equipment ready and set up


  • choose a comfortable location
  • be aware of background noises and other environmental conditions
  • think about moving around to a few locations


  • be yourself!
  • body language is important
  • keep in mind who you are interviewing and who will be watching the interview


  • do your homework and research
  • stay neutral
  • don’t interrupt their answers; and you don’t have to respond to every answer
  • remember it is about them
  • have a number of topics in mind
  • be prepared for follow-up questions


  • you always hold the mic.
  • eye contact with them and listen to what they are saying
  • don’t make sounds, react silently to their answers
  • don’t address anyone not in the shot

Intro Piece

  • shoot footage of the person in their environment, doing whatever they do
  • consider using a voiceover to narrate the intro
  • this piece explains why we should care about this person

Your Assignment (In Class)

Writing Better Questions: “Fatten” the following questions by turning them from closed-ended to open-ended.

  1. Who are you going to vote for in the Student Council election?
  2. What color shirt are you wearing?
  3. How long have you been a teacher at Skyview?

Now you’ll write your own questions.

  1. Choose any person you know a lot about (a celebrity, a fictional character, a sports figure).
  2. Write 5 interview questions you would ask them.  Focus on fat questions and try to predict how they will answer them.  Can they answer in 1-2 words? How can you encourage a longer response? Remember, the purpose of an interview is to provide insight into the life of your subject, not just find out what their favorite color is or when they were born.
  3. Look at your questions and write one follow-up question.
  4. Save to the shared drive.



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