Mock in-class interview
So ends Week Two!
This week in documentary filmmaking, we focused on the delicate art of interviewing subjects: something we all need to master (to some degree) for our final project. Including the practical elements of how to light your subject most effectively and how to record sound using a few different microphone options, we also discussed the way to approach asking questions and probe the emotional part of a story or an answer.
Something that stuck out to me personally was the idea that as viewers, we seek to connect with emotion and descriptions that help us empathize with the person being interviewed. Additionally, Doug mentioned how, as the filmmaker, it is important to help shape the interview with your questions and your responses. After all, you’re ultimately telling their story through the structure of your film.
We set out on an assignment to interview someone with the goal of filming 15-20 minutes of footage total, and editing it down to 3-4 minutes. This exercise familiarized us with the art of editing, which Doug attests is often where most of energy in making a doc lies. We learned how to edit speech to succinctly tell a story without changing the original intent behind the words (an important approach if you want to be an ethical filmmaker).
Watching everyone’s interview pieces was fascinating and helped illuminate that as filmmakers we must be respectful and ethical but also be prepared to ask the hard questions and go deeper, searching for the story behind the heart of the characters. Exploring the psyche and motivation behind certain choices and events is a unique opportunity that documentary filmmakers have.
And again: everyone has a story to tell.
Next week we begin to dig deep into final project work and have the opportunity to hear from Daniel Junge, a CC alum who made the Academy Award winning short documentary Saving Face.
P.S. – we also watched the documentary Searching for Sugar Man, which I highly recommend to everyone for a fascinating story about an underrated musician!