Top Tips For When Being Interviewed About Your Film

press interviewHow to prep for that interview you are going to get… AKA, with very short notice, are you ready to answer tough questions?

I recently got a call from Sky News as they are doing a piece on the British Film industry. An hour after the call, the two person team (cameraman/sound recordist and rather lovely Amy as reporter) whisked into my office and began questioning me on the UK film council closure. And twenty minutes later they were gone! Who knows if it will make the cut or not, but it was a lot of fun. Interestingly, I wasn’t offered a ‘consent form’ or waiver to sign. They were not interested. A sign of the times perhaps?

So… below are some tips for when YOU get your interviews for your projects (taken from my book, the Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint). Sadly, this interview happened so fast I didn’t have time to break out the Hawaiian shirt for point number 5!

1. Have a list of questions prepared which you can offer to the interviewer (who probably isn’t prepared).

2. Most of the time you will be asked very similar questions. Be rehearsed with answers that are poignant, concise, profound, amusing etc. Ask to see the questions in advance, ideally faxed the night before.

3. If you are being recorded (opposed to live), pause before answering. This will give the editor a clear editing point.

4. Say the name of your movie and not simply refer to it as ‘the film’ or ‘the movie’. If people don’t know what the film is called, they won’t go to see it.

5. Wear something interesting so that you will at the very least, stand out.

6. Some interviewers may have an axe to grind. If you don’t want to answer, politely decline. Or you can simply launch into something that you want to talk about, namely, your movie. Watch politicians who are expert at not answering but sounding kind of like they did! Always stay cool and if caught off guard, pause and think before you answer.

7. Always have your stuff with you – press pack, stills, EPK, poster etc. You never know when they will come in useful.

8. If at all possible, be amusing. Anecdotal yet relevant stories are always a winner.

9. Ask the interviewer how long they want you to speak for. There is a world of difference between a fifteen-second soundbite and a five-minute interview, especially when you have to get the name of your movie across.

10. Prepare a business card with your name, how you would like to be credited and phone number. This way you can rightly complain if they spell your name wrong.

11. Don’t be afraid of having words put into your mouth by the interviewer… Can you say it like this?… Use your brain though and don’t say anything you feel uncomfortable with.

12. If you want it to stay out of the press… I slept with my lead actor…etc. then don’t say it. Nothing is off the record.

13. Always be complimentary about other filmmakers and their films, and about the people you have worked with.

Onwards and upwards!

Chris Jones, Film Maker and Author

2 Responses to Top Tips For When Being Interviewed About Your Film

  1. Julie & Jessica (King is a Fink) August 24, 2010 at 6:12 pm #

    Great advice, Chris, and we especially love your point about being amusing.

    If people just want the dry facts of your project, they can go to your website or IMDb. In an interview, they want to learn about YOU. So charm them. Charm their pants off. Charm your movie into their heads, and do it without spilling that you slept with your camera guy. Unless that’s the best part of your movie story, in which case…

  2. Terry August 26, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    They dont need a release now Chris. The fact you are talking to them on camera is legal enough for them so yes…Sign of the times it is.

    Try fighting that one in court as the judge sees you willfully chatting away to camera

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