Sunday, September 9, 2007

I'm so glad I don't have to do interviewing.

Thank god there are more jobs to be done than interviewing. It is simply not my thing. I found the exercise to be enlightening, for sure, but I wouldn't want to do it again. It was difficult and uncomfortable from the very beginning.

First, we were assigned to write a list of events that we perceived as being pivotal in our lives and to give this list to the person assigned to conduct our interview. I found this hard because I don't consider many events in my life to be very interesting. Also, it is hard to really open up for an assignment. I would be putting myself out there. I surprised myself by actually disclosing quite a bit of personal information during the interview. It was not the easiest topic, but I did it with a smile and a laugh (gotta love defense mechanisms). I suppose that speaks to Megan's skill as an interviewer. She certainly made me feel comfortable enough to share the information. I guess I didn't realize exactly what I said or how it came off until we watched the interviews in class. It sort of hit me hard when I realized that now everyone in class knew that personal information. Of course, it was my choice to say what I did, but I guess I didn't really think through everything.

I also found being on the other side of the camera difficult. I'm not the best person at coming up with and asking questions. I felt like I should have been "probing" deeper into some topics, but I just couldn't think of the right questions to get there.

All in all, I think the experience was a positive one, even if it made me uncomfortable. I have so much respect for those who can conduct great interviews. It is definitely a gift to be able to make people comfortable enough to disclose personal information for something public like a documentary, and also to know the right questions to ask.

I also have gained empathy for our interviewees. The interviews may not be that difficult for them, but to sit through a screening with people from their community while they watch themselves speak about personal and possibly difficult situations will be trying. I think it is very important that we remember that and show our subjects respect. I have no doubt that we will show them anything but the utmost respect, but it is certainly something to keep in mind.

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