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The Best Interview Question

By Adam Bush on July 5, 2018

Ever get your interview footage back into the edit room and thought, “These answers are too short and lack emotion!” Chances are the problem isn’t with your story lead, it’s with the way you’re phrasing your questions. I’ll explain.

Your number one job, as the interviewer, for the on-camera interview is gathering the story. So, you sit down, roll tape (are we still recording to tape?) and ask your first question, right? Something like, “What was your view of God growing up?”

Errrr! Wrong! Incorrect!

Here’s the problem with a question like that, it’s closed-ended. You’re giving your lead the opportunity to respond with too short of an answer. “I thought God was angry at me.” That’s a fine answer, but it is not nearly long enough.

You have to begin to think of your interview as a conversation. Instead of the before-mentioned question, insert, “Talk to me about.” Now you’re inviting dialogue about the subject as opposed to a short response. This helps with every question.

Try that throughout your next interview and see if you don’t end up with a lot more to work with in the edit room.

So, turns out the best question isn’t a question at all. Happy storytelling.

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