So you’ve made a few films, got into a few film festivals and managed to get some press. Now what? You have to learn how to give an interview. I’ve never been comfortable on camera; as a filmmaker you’re always behind the camera, and an interview puts the camera and lights on you. It makes me feel like the world is upside-down, like I don’t belong there. What can I do to make this better? The only thing I can do is practice.
Practice: Come up with a list of possible questions you might be asked and create answers. What is your film about? What inspires you? Why did you pick this story to tell? Practice saying those answers aloud to yourself or to someone you know. Like a politician, you can prepare talking points and stick to them. No matter what question you are asked loop your response into one of the answers you’ve prepared. And whenever possible promote your next project.
Have a story to tell: When you are being interviewed, you should focus on telling a story. What is your story? What is your brand? If you’re working with a PR team, you should help create your story to tell. Don’t expect other people, even those you hire, to tell your story, because it might not be the story you want to share.
‘On Camera’ rules: Look at the person asking you questions; don’t look in different directions and don’t look directly towards the camera, unless you are told to do so. Do not, under any circumstances, touch your face during an interview. (Don’t touch your clothes or adjust your blazer either...see photo below.) It’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about the interviewer before hand. Always thank everyone.
Ask for help: If you ever feel shy and awkward when giving an interview, be honest about it to the interviewer before hand and they’ll help you out. If your budget allows it, consider a media training class or enlisting the help of a PR professional to prepare you. And when in doubt and short on cash, a good Google search will always result in plenty of advice.