Lessons in Filmmaking | Making Interviewees Comfortable


Some people are naturals in front of the camera. They're articulate, confident and concise. Most people, are not. They're nervous, uneasy and awkward. But that's okay! Here are 5 ways to make interviewees comfortable in front of the camera.

1. Make Them Laugh - Before you begin, it's important to make them understand they shouldn't be taking this too seriously. And the best way to do that is with humor. If you can make them laugh you'll release a lot of their tension.

2. Ask Warm-Up Questions - There's absolutely no reason to rush. So take your time, and more importantly let THEM take THEIR time. Start off with warm-up questions. What's your name? What do you do? How long have you been with the company? And make the conversation as casual as possible. None of this stuff is gonna be in the video but it'll help loosen them up. And sooner or later you'll sense that happening. And that's when you can start throwing in the real questions.

3. Be Positive - There's gonna come a time when they mess up a sentence or get stuck, and when this happens they'll most likely feel guilty and apologize. But it's important for you to treat it like it's no big deal. Because it isn't. Because editing. Make them feel like it's impossible for them to make a mistake. And on the flip side, be sure to compliment them when they have strong moments and continually reassure them that they're doing well. Just be a big ball of positivity.

4. Listen - Forget that there's a camera rolling and a video to be made. Instead, focus on the fact that there's a person speaking to you and genuinely pay attention to what they're saying. This will have a profound effect on their comfort level.

5. Don't be an Assh*le - This should go without saying, but negativity won't help anything. And if they sense even the smallest amount of it coming from you, it can send them into a downward spiral they may never recover from. So avoid anger, frustration, impatience, insults, rolling your eyes or any other forms of antagonistic behavior.