Industry Views

NAB Show: Directing Real People on Camera

By Holland Cooke

imIf you’re looking to jump-start – or optimize – your video interview technique, this session alone was worth the trip to Las Vegas. Washington-based video content strategist/producer/interviewer Amy DeLouise and cinematographer/gaffer Anne Saul delivered a soup-to-nuts “Boot Camp” session to an overflow crowd.

For the decks, hit, click Slide Decks then Real People Boot Camp, parts 1 and 2. You can devour an impressive tutorial of production techniques, including specifics about equipment and how-to-use-it.

Even if you’re just doing radio or podcast interviews, Amy offered some useful tips:

“Nervous Speaker Technique”: Before the interview, chat ‘em up, perhaps asking for a personal anecdote, i.e., “Why did you decide to become a _____?” If you are shooting video, do the B-roll and walk-and-talk shots first. Then, when they’ve gotten used to you and the set-up, start the interview. “Worst case: Let them take a break, ‘Go do some emails,’ then resume in 20 minutes.”

“The Contradict Me Technique”: Because “some speakers are very reserved, they won’t show emotion unless they feel they need to correct your misunderstanding.” So, bait them: “Isn’t A.I. just a gimmick?”

“The Shorter Answer Technique”: Some speakers have a LOT to say,’ so Amy says let them get it out of their system, THEN ask “How would I explain this to my children?”

“Two Do-Over Techniques”: If you want to re-ask a question, fib: “The part about X was really great. But we had a little bit of noise, do you mind if I ask you that one more time?” Or “lean in as if you didn’t quite hear the answer, and they will repeat it;” a ploy which “only works for the last part of what they said.”

“The Finish My Sentence Technique”: Amy says “When all else fails, ask ‘Finish this sentence: The biggest value we bring at ABC Company is…’” 

Holland Cooke ( is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. He is the author of “Close Like Crazy: Local Direct Leads, Pitches & Specs That Earned the Benjamins,” and  The Local Radio Advantage: Your 4-Week Tune-In Tune-Up,” and “Confidential: Negotiation Checklist for Weekend Talk Radio.” Follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke and connect on LinkedIn.