In part one of this master series, documentary director Marina Zenovich gives an overview of the principles of interviewing and how to approach the process.
Key Insights

  • ​Interviewing is an art, and it is at the core of documentary filmmaking.
  • You​ need to be fully engaged when conducting an interview.
  • Use personal forms of communication to secure an interview, such as calling or meeting in person; email and texting are not sufficient.
  • ​Prepare and ​be rigorous in your research​, but try to keep the interview spontaneous​ and conversational​.
  • Treat the interview like a date; hearing the responses for the first time will keep the interview alive.​ 
  • Listening is your greatest asset; when people feel like they’re being heard, they’re more likely to disclose information.
  • Interviews should be personal. Make the environment as intimate and safe as possible.
  • If someone seems nervous, reflect their emotions back to them. Empathy goes a long way.

Filmmaker
Marina Zenovich is an Emmy award-winning filmmaker whose films have been praised for their powerful storytelling and their thoughtful, sensitive approach to difficult subjects and controversial people.

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