Building the perfect interview script

Video script preparation is crucial to constructing a great interview.

Scripting, especially for interviews, leads the conversation safely from A to B without crashing and burning along the way. Without a solid video script, inexperienced and experienced interviewees can lose direction and give inappropriate responses, endangering the content of the entire interview.

Ben Curry, Senior Videographer at contentgroup, has over 20 years’ experience in news and current affairs. He shares his top five most important components of a well-constructed video script for interviewing guests.

1. Identify your objective

All interviews should have an end-goal. Whether it’s a positive review or an opinionated response, interview scripts should be written to direct conversation towards a desired outcome. When preparing your script, structure your questions or statements to encourage a response that moves you closer to achieving your overall objective.

2. Speak to your audience

Interviews are designed to add value. Identifying who the interview benefits makes it easier to identify your objective and structure your questions accordingly. Think about your audiences’ experience and how you can deliver value to them in a language they understand.

3. Ask the right questions

Your questions should encourage valuable and engaging responses to keep the interview on track. Try to ask mostly open ended questions, as this gives respondents an opportunity to share their opinion. It’s also important to build an environment where guests feel comfortable to open up — chat with them casually before the interview and establish a connection.

In some cases, the interviewees’ opinion may be harmful to the objective you are trying to achieve or a response you weren’t expecting. It’s important to do your research beforehand and ask the right questions. Use a leading question to encourage the response you would like. Also remember that asking the right question may also mean asking no question at all.

4. Follow a story arc

Remember that interviews are a storytelling tool and your audience wants to hear a story. Make sure your script allows a narrative to be told. The typical structure of a basic story is exposition-complication-resolution. This means your audience wants to know the background, the challenges and the outcomes of the story. If you can, try to organise your interview questions in a similar structure.

5. Keep it human

Emotion and passion are highly contagious. They help engage your audience and can capture attention like nothing else. It’s important your interviewee is passionate about the interview topic. It’s also equally important to prepare a script that will produce informative and engaging content, with emotion.

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