How To Do A TV Interview
Veteran TV presenter, Liz Fuller, explains what is needed to conduct a successful TV interview, with tips for the interviewer and interviewee. Her tips help make the interview educational, informing, and entertaining.
How to do a TV interview: Now, if you are going to do a TV interview you want it to be educational, exciting and informative. Okay, that is what the BBC actually believe a good presenter is, so, let's take it this way, firstly, if you're going to do a good interview you may be the presenter. If you're the presenter, you need to research the person you're going to interview really well.
You need to know why you're interviewing them, what's happening in their life, and why they are suddenly the center of media attention. So for instance, it could be a Hollywood star and you're meeting them because it is their premier tomorrow night in London. So, think about the questions that you'd like to ask, maybe have them written down on a cue card.
But, here is where a lot of presenters go wrong, and I've even seen brilliant presenters do this badly, you don't listen to what the other person is telling you. So, if somebody is telling you something, you don't have to stick with your cue card and your questions. Just have a natural conversation, let it flow.
Have your own curiosity to find out, "Oh really, tell us more about that," you know, and really kind of steer that interview where the viewer at home would like to go. So, for instance, like a Hollywood star is telling you he has a pig, you're not suddenly going to go, "What are you going to wear on the red carpet tomorrow?" because I've seen people do that. You go, "You've got a pig? How long do you have a pig? What do you call the pig?" You know, so listen to what they're saying.
If you're not the presenter and you want to do a good interview, then obviously, also google a little bit about the presenter, know what their style is. Some presenters, like, of course, Ann from The Weakest Link, will be quite harsh, so she may put you on the spot and you may have more difficult questions. You may google your presenter and find out that she's really nice and she's going to ask, you know, maybe relaxing questions.
So, then of course, you can know exactly how you want to approach the interview and what you want to get across. Now, if you are the interviewee, then just make sure you have your points. So, if you're plugging a film, or you're plugging a product, or it's a charity, make sure you get those answers in the interview.
You can take the researcher aside and say, "Listen, this is what I'd like to talk about," because then they will tell the presenter, and of course, everybody is singing from the same hymn sheets. If, of course, you're thinking, "Oh, the presenter's going that way and I didn't have a chance to get this in," you can, actually, start your answer to what the presenter asked but then bring something else in that you want to. I've done that a lot of times.
When we were recently out on the Alan Tidmarsh Show, there were certain things which I wanted to plug. So if you ever see the questions he asked me, I would start by answering what he asked but then I would quickly turn it into where I wanted it to go. So, a good interview is about two people, naturally having a conversation as you would at home.
There should be nothing staged about it, nothing fake about it. It's just to banter between two people and getting on, but like the BBC said, apparently, a good presenter is about educating, informing, and entertaining. So, just remember that and make sure it's fun.