It doesn’t matter how long you practice, review or prepare a person for an on-camera interview, sometimes it just doesn’t turn out well. Personally, I’ve spent countless hours preparing physicians and staff for interviews and it doesn’t seem to get easier. I think we can all agree, we often find that people who have experienced on-camera interviews invariably are unhappy with the results from time-to-time. Whether it’s a reporter, videographer or marketing staff person, it can feel like the interviewer focused on the wrong thing, that they looked nervous or uncertain, that they stumbled over their words or just generally made a mess of things. The truth is, all of those “wrong” aspects can make the video more genuine, authentic and heart-felt. The true difference here can be scripted versus unscripted.
Mike Scholtz, associate creative director at H.T. Klatzky & Associates (HTK), in Duluth, Minnesota presented at last year’s WHPRMS conference on his experiences with documentary video. Mike and the HTK team demonstrated the true outcome of unscripted interviews at last year’s conference. I’m sure many of you remember them quite well. I think they proved their point. Each spot began with the same idea: Let’s have people at the conference tell us what makes them happy. In the first example, they scripted the responses they wanted. In the second example, they let the subjects do the talking.
Which one would keep you watching?
Mike also offers 7 tidbits of advice when preparing doctors and other medical staff for video interviews:
1. Prepare your questions ahead of time the best you can. “It’s about shaking the narrative. Ask questions like: How would you describe, tell me how you feel. … But don’t be a slave to your prepared questions,” Mike says. He also says the questions are as close to scripting as you can get. It needs to be free flowing and it needs to be genuine.
2. Do be a dummy. Mike came to realize that asking the dumbest questions get the best answers. Such as: “Why did you deserve to get cancer?” “Why did you get cancer?”
3. Let your subject do the talking. “Don’t be afraid to let them tell it in their own words. Leave Ohs and ums in, those verbal ticks in the story can help make the video more real,” Mike says.
4. Ask for the nickel tour before filming. “Ask them to give you a tour of the place. Have them tell you why they like to work there or what their favorite part of the department or place they live. It helps to put them at ease.”
5. Shoot as much b-roll as you can. At the WHPRMS conference last year, Mike gave a classic example of a doctor and child playing with a stethoscope. Mike says you always need more film. “If you do corral someone – such as a physician and her patient – because you have the doc – amuse her and ask her about ENT on health tips, vocal hygiene etc.) You can get different videos out of something you never even thought you ‘d get. One video can get you a commercial, 2-3 health videos and a doc intro video.”
6. Don’t skimp on the budget. Figure out where you can target your money to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Take a flip camera to film specific b-roll and then went and interviewed.
7. Be prepared to be surprised. “If something happens while you are filming that you don’t expect it can be genuinely surprising. A simple interview with your employees about who is in their heart the most – you find out that a young dad’s son has an illness and it touches you – you would have never got that story without the question or knowing you may be surprised.”
Jenny Griffin, senior associate at Clark Communications in Grand Rapids, Michigan echoes the advice above. Her and her staff advises the use of metaphors, stories and anecdotes to illustrate and simplify points. “Stories can give the viewer something to hang their hats on and it makes for good copy in blogs, press releases and other social media sound bytes.”
She also says to be ready to go off-topic. “During the interview, don’t be afraid to ask something totally unrelated to the subject at hand, but still involve the industry and/or topic. It’s not to trip them up but to help get them comfortable.”
What advice would you add? What tips work for you? Please comment below.
This post was written by Trish Skram, blogger and research content specialist for WHPRMS. Trish also manages Mercy Health System’s public relations and social media efforts. To read more about Trish, CLICK HERE.
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