How and Why to Follow-Up
How and when to follow up. Okay, well, it's not that long but it's important to follow up. Thank you so much for your time, that was amazing. The interview's gonna air such and such date or it's gonna be used for this. And, you know, if you're ever in San Francisco, you know, maybe we can get together for coffee. Or whatever, something that feels true to you. So the follow up is important. And then the other reason why the follow up is very important is because when the episode is released then they will share it with their networks. And, you know, listeners are, you know, important. My pause there is goes back to Charlie Kaufman's statement, I mean does it matter how many people see your film? I'm not sure. Does it matter how many people hear your podcast? It does. And it's important, too. It's important to leverage the contacts that you've made to allow for lots of people to hear it. So that's it. And I just wanted to thank you all. And also see if you have any questions. As a kind o...
f final follow up, if you're new to interviewing, remember that your skills are going to change. And it's going to be really exciting to see the trajectory. Keith, who's in this audience, earlier asked me about an interview I did with a filmmaker named Adam McGowan, and that was about sixteen years ago. And we're doing a series called Speaking Of, that's re-releasing a lot of the interviews we did 10, 15 years ago, and I'm realizing how much has changed. Be proud of that evolution. Don't feel like, oh my gosh these early interviews are so terrible. They're going to be great, and think to yourself, and I'm going to evolve over time, and how exciting that is. And trust your instincts, and remember that it's just a conversation, and be prepared, and have fun, and allow for all levels of connection from intellectual, to emotional, to literally falling in love with someone over the course of an hour or two. And celebrate that. There you have it, that's all I can say about doing an interview. Does anyone have any questions?
Yeah, we definitely have questions from online, so-
Oh great, okay thanks, Drew.
Let's take a question from the studio here.
[Gray Haired Woman] So that was just great. Thank you. I have a question for you about, I know why audio, it's so amazing.
But why for you is visual not a part of that story and that sharing of a person?
You know, my family always wanted-- They were like, what's this radio thing? They're Armenians, and they were like why radio? You should be on TV. (laughs) And I said, first there's a great challenge-- First, what happens with... It's a personal choice. The reason for me, I'm completely enamored by audio because, oh sorry, I'm completely enamored by audio because it's an interactive medium. You hear things and you start creating images, and visuals in your mind of what it is that you're hearing. There's all kinds of distractions that happen when you're looking at someone. Oh, where'd she get that dress? Her hair's a little bit out of the way. I love the lack of distraction that can happen with audio. I also love the fact that audio is so distributable, and you can take it anywhere, so you don't have to actually be watching something. And I really get excited by the challenge of how to bring something to life, and that's why that 9/11 moment it's a great challenge to take the words that someone says and illustrate those through sounds, through music, And there's something about, we have a project called Shamebooth. You walk into a phone booth and you pick up the phone and you share stories of things that you feel ashamed of. And we've gotten hundreds of stories. And the founder of that idea said that one of the reasons why she thought of a phone is because of that experience of having someone on the phone that you remember when you were younger before cell phones, and there'd be this lifeline between you and a good friend, or you and your mom, or you and so on. And it's just audio, and I love that that sort of intimacy. Sound is, you know-- In utero, it's the first thing that you experience. It's one of the first things that you hear. You come out of the body of your parent, your mother, and you're already familiar with her voice. I mean, that's amazing! So obviously I'm very passionate about audio as a medium. And there's a way you can really play with it. You know, you can move it, and shape it, and you know, make the breaths longer, have some more impact, depending on what the statement is. That's very exciting too. Yeah.
[Black Haired Woman] So first of all, thank you for saying that your heart was beating quick at the beginning. (laughs) Because even though I've taught classes and done other things throughout my life, I still have that moment of the heartbeat, and it's nice to hear that so do other professional, wonderful masters of their craft.
Thank you! You mentioned that it's evolved, your skills evolved.
You start, you learn, you grow, and your skills now are different than what you had.
In where you started, what are some of the pitfalls that maybe we can avoid as new interviewers having, having your input on things to maybe stay away from or shy away from in maybe ramping up our interviewing skills without having to go through that.
I mean I think the biggest one is, of course you get more comfortable doing something over time, and so when you're comfortable, you immediately make someone else comfortable. So that's too intangible of advice. The first one, and the primary one is, don't go back to your questions all the time. I think there was sort of this, I must get this out of the interview, and therefore, I didn't get all of this. It's such a missed opportunity, and I hear that in my interviews from or 20- well, hopefully not, yeah 20 years ago almost where I've said, why did you not ask these follow up questions? Because I went back to my questions, so I think come-- The biggest pitfall is come prepared, but not totally committed to what you've prepared. And practice. Do interviews with all. Just practice. Practice approaching people on the street. That's really intimidating. I'm still intimidated by it. Practice with your friends. Just do as many interviews as you can. It is a skill to go back to what we were talking about at the very beginning, the Art of the Interview. Interviewing, there is a skillfulness to it, and of course there is a skill to the editing and the shaping of a story that is not part of my talk. Although, I get very excited about that too. In any skill you have to do it over and over again. But there's also the magic of it, too. And allowing for that.
You also have me very inspired around story, and creating connection, and going deep. However, I produce a podcast called Mary's Nutrition Show. It tends to be very practical, we're doubling down on the hosts' strengths of being very funny and bubbly personality.
So, I'm curious from your point of view, is there a place for story in that?
And how so?
Yeah. As we were talking about earlier, we did a series with Cliff Bar for a long time around nutrition. And one of the things that humanizes, and now that I know more actually about podcasts, and now that podcasts have become so popular, you take these bigger themes like nutrition, and certain particulars of it, and then you bring in people with their real life experiences around those things with their real life stories. So we did a series on nutrition for runners and other active people, and actually, do I look active? I am not an active person. (laughs) But I am fascinated by this sort of passion for running and like, long distance running. You're like out there for hours, and how do you stay fit during that time, and how do you push yourself emotionally, and what do you eat, what do you take in? What does what you take in actually do for your body? So I think the way to add another component to it that is by bringing in some real life people that, if it's around nutrition, struggle with nutritional things, or feel inspired by certain nutritional things and capture those stories, and have them maybe in dialogue with this nutritionist, or whatever the structure might be. The structure's not important. The way you humanize something is by bringing human people in to tell their human experiences around it. And you can do that with any topic. You know you could do it with laying cement. Well first, I'd love to learn about what are the whyfores and wherefores of how you actually lay cement evenly. But then like, bring in a cement-layer and find out what that experience was for him, and what the background might have been, and did he come from a line of people working in cement? So there's lots of way to make something interesting if you allow for a real person to tell about their experiences around it. Hope that's helpful.
You're very welcome.
[Maroon Sweater Woman] Thank you again. This was so rich with, oh my gosh, about story. I mean I just get what audio can do for telling story that has been so beautiful to reconnect with. You talked about environment, and you kind of wove it into the examples that you shared, but I'm curious how you plan for where to have the interview, and how that becomes part of the story that you tell.
And maybe what's one of the most interesting, or some of your favorite environments that you've interviewed people in, and how that's played a part in your interview.
That's a very interesting question, and it's something that we briefly touched upon with Ray, because we were talking about sound quality. There's a great series called The Basement Tapes, and it's interviews with musicians from the 70s and 80s, and they're literally done in a basement. And the sound quality is not great. But it doesn't matter, because you know that you're in a basement, and they've hidden away. And they've got this really great tape that might not have the best quality, but that's the whole point. So I don't have a favorite environment. I think it's what supports the story most. So of course with people for Coming Home, the series we did on people living on the street, you know, you're on the street. And it's really important to have it with the series design in mind, which is all in studio. You want to get very clean recordings that you hear this designer's process, and their aspirations, their hopes, their pitfalls clearly and fluidly. Having them somewhere outside of that environment wouldn't necessarily be an aid of the story. So you have to think of the environment equally as a character. Is this character, does this character make sense for the story? And then you have to also realize that you're going to be editing this, and so, will I be able to make fluid connections between something they say with a fade? If you're in like a cafe, it's much harder to do that because usually they'll play music in a cafe, and so if you do a cut, you're cutting between two parts of a song, then the listener is going to know. So to answer your question, think of an environment, there's no favorite environment, there's just the environment that supports the story. Think of an environment that is-- Yeah, think of an environment that supports the story. Think of an environment that you can edit fluidly, and make sure that you're prepared for that particular environment with the equipment that you have.