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Walking the tightrope ⚖️
The balancing act of audio interviewing
The more interviews I do for audio, the more I see that it’s like walking a tightrope. Even more than interviewing for other mediums like print, you’re keeping all these competing elements in mind and trying to achieve some balance.
1) Detail vs Time
You want your interviewee to give you rich, detailed scene tape with lots of colour and specifics. But you also don’t have all day (probably!) - you need to move the interview along.
2) Presence vs Structure
Some of the best interviewing comes out of being fully present with your character - attentively listening to what they’re saying and responding like a real human being. Then again, a part of your brain needs to be thinking ahead to the next question, and the overall structure of the interview. This is even more important when you’re working on an interview show rather than narrative nonfiction.
3) Plan vs Threads
In a similar vein, there needs to be balance between sticking to the questions you’ve prepared beforehand, and pulling at threads as they come up - following your interviewee’s lead.
4) Preparation vs Reactivity
Most producers probably don’t want to go into an interview blind - you want a reasonable amount of background info about the person you’re speaking to. On the other hand, getting tape of your own genuine reactions can be useful. It’s striking the right balance of doing just enough prep work.
5) Storyteller vs Parrot
This element of preparation goes for the guest too — and your pre-interview process will help you suss this out. You want a guest who can tell a good story, who knows how to grip an audience. But you definitely don’t want a guest who sounds rehearsed, telling a story for the hundredth time.
How do you walk the interviewing tightrope? Let me know 💌
Events and more
♉ Ableton Live: An introduction to Editing and Sound Design ~ Audiotrain online class ~ 23 May
♉ Sound Scene Festival ~ 3-4 June ~ Washington DC
♉ Audio events at Tribeca Festival ~ 12-15 June ~ NYC
🐂 Audio producer ~ City Cast Pittsburgh ~ deadline 12 May
🐂 Assistant audio producer ~ The Economist ~ London, UK
🐂 Live Wire Production Fellowship ~ Portland, OR ~ deadline 31 May
🐂 Producer ~ StoryCorps ~ Brooklyn, NY ~ deadline 29 May
What I’m listening to
🎧 WILD: new season of the LAist show — an immersive love story that sounds like nonfiction but isn’t.
🎧 Bodies: also a new season — the episode about touch is a beautiful thing. (Read my interview with creator Allison Behringer here).
🎧 Sound School Podcast: always entertaining way to keep up to date on audio production.
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