Tuesday, November 6, 2012


In Reporting on Your Own and Writing about People: The Interview, Kalita and Zinsser explain what interviewing really is and how do it properly.  Interviewing is more than sitting down, asking a few questions, writing down the responses, going home and putting it on paper.  To interview correctly is a long hard process that takes a lot of work and there’s a few things that an interviewer always has to keep in mind.  My favorite point was Zinsser’s point on finding the human element in anything.  Finding the human element (to anything) and exposing it brings life to an interview or any work.  It can make the most boring subject interesting.  This reminds me of the move “Waiting,” a movie about a restaurant. This doesn’t really sound interesting and a movie simply about a restaurant wouldn’t be interesting.  But the film finds the human element of the restaurant (the workers), and exposes it.  Their experiences at work, interactions with costumers, the shenanigans that go on in the “the back,” (the kitchen, freezer, and other areas of the restaurant that a costumer wouldn’t see) and this all makes for a very interesting and very entertaining movie.  This also reminds me of anytime someone documents a conflict or war.  It’s one thing to talk about the political reasons behind the conflict but to interview people living the conflict brings life to the documentary and makes it interesting.  The documentary goes from being about two fighting political parties to being about the locals living through the conflict;  their struggles and hardships, or the soldier fighting the conflict; his pain, his struggle, the horrors he endures.  Another strong point in the articles (this one by Kalita) was that when one interviews it is necessarily to forget everything we already knew about the subject of the interview.  An interview is meant to tell a story, from a specific persons point of view: their opinions and their stances.  We cannot bring what we already know to the interview.  Doing so would be to bring our own personal opinions and cloud the direction and outcome of the interview taking away from its authenticity.  And lastly, (to me) the most insightful point in these articles was (Zinsser’s) the point on the process of coming up with an interview worth publishing and an interviewing staying true to the interviewee.  Coming up with an interview worth publishing means taking many different interviews and extracting worthwhile material out of them and putting it together into one flowing interview that makes sense.  This takes a lot of work, and a lot of times it might mean rewording some of the quotes or editing sentences so that they make sense.  Though that’s a necessary part of the process, it’s always important to stay loyal to your interviewee and not put words in his mouth or change the message the interviewee had to say. 

For my project, I (myself) will be the main focus of the interview.  The project is about my life and my predictions for my future.  My family and my friends will have cameos in the video, and will say a few words, and I might ask them a question or two, but I won’t actually interview them for my video.  Me being interviewed will be the main focus of the video.  I’m going to get together with a very close friend of mine and show him my proposal of the video along with an outline of the video and the subjects I want to discuss (in accordance with the guidelines for the project) and together come up with possible questions.  Or I may let him come up with all the questions and surprise me.  I want to keep the interview genuine and sincere not too rehearsed.  I think it’s only right that I be the main focus since this video is about my life and my predictions for the future.    I want to make something similar to the UP! Series as far as interviewing goes.  

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