I interviewed Olympian athlete Sally Gunnell a fortnight ago for Xero, the accounting company – it’s a corporate gig so there’s no surprise in being uncredited and out of vision. Here’s one of the resulting videos:
All good stuff. So I thought it might be worth sharing some insights on working a) on video and b) with celebrities
- Even if you’re not going to be in shot, try to look presentable. If it’s not formal there may be no reason for a man to wear a tie, but nobody’s going to be offended by a jacket and shirt.
- Prepare a bit and try to find a conversational ice breaker. My brother in law Steve happens to be over in Rio now setting cameras up for the Olympics so in this instance that was easy – as you’ll gather from the pic I’m not all that athletic (been to the gym twice this week already I promise) but it gave us a little common ground.
- Treat the camera and audio team well. Xero were fine hosts and constantly made sure Sally and I were offered coffee, water, whatever we wanted. Not all hosts are as accommodating so it’s down to the presenter to keep everyone happy. They’ll notice – and they may be asked sometime whether they can recommend a presenter/interviewer.
- Related point: listen to the camera crew. I did a video a while ago in which the (non-celebrity) interviewee was forever telling them how to set up shots and what we should be doing. He won’t be getting interviewed again. Presenters/interviewers are doubly vulnerable to being dropped – let everyone else do their job and work with it.
- Ensure in advance that you know what the client wants from the video, and also that the celebrity guest has been briefed.
- Before the interview ask the interviewee to pause briefly before every answer. The client may want their quotes isolated so you don’t want your voice speaking over theirs.
- Pick the right guest. Sally was flexible, pleasant, well-briefed, focused and utterly professional when it came to the tiny amount of retakes required. She actually suggested a round-up summary for a blog at the end, which added to the overall offering.
Overall a thoroughly pleasant experience and I hope people find the videos useful.