Written By Amy DeLouise
Virtual events and interviews are here to stay. If you’re tapped as a remote producer/interviewer or moderator there are some obstacles to overcome. Here are some of my top tips.
# 1. Prepare Your Subject.
One of the keys to any successful interview—live or remote—is a relaxed subject. In advance of your final interview, you can:
a.) Conduct a “screen test”—via your favorite video call app—at least two weeks in advance to see how they look and respond in a remote setting.
b.) Review any visuals to share (that you’ll either be editing in as b-roll, or using live as a presentation).
c.) Teach less experienced interviewees how to speak directly to their camera, rather than to their screen. Have them add a sticky note with a smiley face next to their web-cam.
d.) Be sure they have good lighting, audio and camera setup. Because you scheduled your pre-call 2 weeks before your actual virtual interview, you have time to ship them better lights or a microphone. Some inexpensive lights I recommend include Aperture M9 LED, Fox Fury RUGO, or LumeCube Mini. You might also need to send a mini stand, such as a Joby Gorillapod. For audio tips, check out my blog post here (https://www.amydelouise.com/social-media/better-audio-for-your-zoom-calls-and-mobile-videos/).
e.) Teach your interviewee how to turn off notifications. Here’s how on a Mac (https://www.parallels.com/blogs/how-to-turn-off-notifications-mac/), and here’s how for Windows 10 (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/change-notification-settings-in-windows-10-ddcbbcd4-0a02-f6e4-fe14-6766d850f294). Disengage any Dropbox syncing, and disconnect a VPN. These can all interfere with internet connection speed.
#2. Be Prepared as an Interviewer.
As an interviewer, we need to set our subject at ease, and really know their subject matter and stories, so we can cue properly during the interview.
a.) Create an outline for the conversation in advance and share it with your subject. I don’t mean every question. Just themes and a possible flow.
b.) For live panels, have a secondary set of questions ready to go in case the audience isn’t ready to ask questions when prompted.
c.) Look lively yourself, and be sure to smile and nod. This will help your subject be less nervous themselves.
d.) In a webinar format, be sure you take advantage of the “green room” feature and give panelists a custom link so that they can enter the webinar early, get a chance to chat with each other and with you. And don’t forget to take a group screenshot for PR purposes!
Moderating virtual panels and conducting remote interviews can be a challenge. But with these simple strategies, you can make the experience fun and rewarding for you, your interview subject, and most importantly, your audience.
Content creator, speaker and author Amy DeLouise is a leader in the field of short form digital storytelling and has garnered more than 40 creative excellence awards including Tellys, Peer, New York Festivals, Aurora, and CINE Golden Eagle. She is one of the leading voices keynoting at industry conferences such as IBC Amsterdam, NAB Shanghai, IABM London and NAB SHOW Las Vegas. With more than 400 productions to her credit, Amy has also consulted with Fortune 500 companies including Federal Express, S&P Global and Microsoft on how to leverage their content assets and deliver powerful stories to target audiences. In addition to leading her production company DeLouise Enterprises LLC, Amy founded #GalsNGear – an initiative focused on building community and gender equity in the screen media and technical fields. Amy is a LinkedIn Learning author with popular titles in media production, business and marketing with a half million views worldwide. Her book The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera (Focal Press/Routledge) is being used in dozens of film and communications programs worldwide. Her new Focal Press book with co-author Cheryl Ottenritter is Nonfiction Sound & Story for Film and Video: A Practical Guide for Filmmakers. Amy holds a B.A. with Distinction in English from Yale University. For more resources and tips from Amy, visit her website at www.amydelouise.com.