Wouldn't our lives be easier if everyone we put onscreen was a natural? Unfortunately, that's impossible... In fact, it's rarely the case! Here are a few tips and tricks for settling the nerves of interviewees who don't want to be interviewed.
ESTABLISH A RAPPORT
If you're not crammed for time with back-to-back interviews, spend a few minutes with each subject, away from the cameras, before you start rolling. It can be daunting and intimidating to be rushed onto a set and asked to speak - clearly and confidently - to people you've never met. So introduce yourself. Tell them about the video, who else you've spoken to and remind them of the questions you'll ask. You should always try to provide everyone with questions a few days before the shoot. But sometimes people forget to look or rehearse or simply don't get the memo.
LET GO OF THE REINS
If your contact at the company wants to be the interviewer for the day, let them do it! They know the employees way better than you do and the subject will most likely feel more comfortable talking to him or her. But always keep the edit in mind. Imagine certain answers, sound bites and particular phrasings that you'll need, i.e. repeating the question in the answer. If you're not getting what you need, speak up and do some directing. Otherwise you'll be kicking yourself back at the office for footage you don't have!
KEEP THEM COMFORTABLE
It can get HOT sitting under blaring LED lights after just a few minutes. People sweat, shift in their seats and lose their focus. So keep an eye on the frame and make sure they're consistently sitting in the same position. See if they need makeup reapplied or a paper towel to dab their face, forehead and neck. Offer them a cup of water or a five minute break so they can step out of the room and get some air.
No matter how much you plan, you can never anticipate exactly what your interview situation will be like. People don't always perform exactly how you want them to. You need to be flexible and aware of their needs and your client's needs as well as your environment. If there's a humming AC unit that can't be turned off, relocate to another room. (But of course mention this potential concern to your contact before the shoot!) Most importantly, have fun! Your enthusiasm and passion will help them relax and give you the best answers.