An interview is a journey into the landscape of another person. Learn how to ask the right questions to get you there.

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The art of the interview is a crucial storytelling skill for documentary filmmakers, podcasters and writers.  In this workshop we explore the techniques that enable you to make the empathetic leap into someone else’s experience and, as a result, tell stories with verve and originality. 

 What makes for a gripping interview? A revelation of character, an illuminating insight, a sense of intimacy? As an interviewer do you provoke or evoke? Is an interview an open-ended conversation or is it a series of strategic questions with a targeted end in mind? 

In this cross platform workshop students will learn how to conduct background research and how to compose questions for rhythm and pace. We will analyze video, print, and podcast interviews, and screen relevant documentaries. 

But the emphasis will be the act of interviewing.  Students will practice interviewing people from the community, including artisans, farmers and fishermen, as well as world renowned film-makers and photographers. Interviews will be recorded and critiqued. We will discuss problems you might face, such as tangents, silences, and time constraints. We will workshop useful techniques such as paying attention to non-verbal clues. We will also discuss the role that gender, race and class play in an interview. 

At its core an interview should feel like a conversation, but it’s a conversation with an agenda.  Leave the week having learned how to conduct interviews that will make your stories more original and more compelling.

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Instructor: Adam Harrison Levy

Adam Harrison Levy is a documentary film-maker and writer. He specializes in the art of the interview. For the BBC he has conducted interviews with a wide range of actors, writers and musicians including Meryl Streep, Philip Glass and Paul Auster. His documentary directing credits for the BBC include Step Right Up and War Machine and he was the US Producer for Selling the Sixties, a film about advertising in New York in the early 1960s. He has produced and directed interviews for films such as Lou Reed Remembered and D-Day to Berlin. He has also made short films about the sculptor David Smith and the poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.