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How to Prepare for a Video Interview: Video Interviewee Tips

Video Interview TipsLights, Camera, Authenticity!

The video production process can be intimidating for many people. It’s not every day you have a video camera and lights in your face and everyone staring at you, a microphone on your chest and a sound guy hanging on every word you say…which will be recorded and shared with the world…no pressure! Actually, unless it’s live, there really isn’t. Most video shoots are recorded and edited later. Editors will usually pick your best take, the least boring, most articulate version of what you meant to say. They can usually also take out the ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’ and make you sound far more intelligent than you thought you sounded at the time!

But one of the scariest things about video production is…

Now that video production is being used for mobile video, video blog posts, social video for social media and other types of emerging media, we’ll all be in front of the lens a bit more. But if you think of an interview as a conversation – where you just say what you mean – there doesn’t need to be any stress at all.

That said, there are some basic ways to prepare for any type of interview. Here’s a few tips that can help you get ready.

Know the Who, What, When, Why, Where’s

It’s always good to be able to give that elevator pitch. I think it’s obviously very important to be able to explain who you are, what you do, why…even if you’re not on camera! Check out this video we just produced where the company does a great job of summing up what they do. If you can summarize all that up into one sentence and start there, people will know the basics and be able to keep up with the rest of the interview. If they don’t understand these basics, how are they going to have any context on what you’re talking about or why they should care?

Be Authentic

On camera, just be yourself, have fun, be authentic. Don’t memorize the words you want to say, just talking points, let it come out naturally as I as questions. Nothing is worse than a stiff interviewee who is trying to ‘read’ a script in their head. People can tell, it looks weird. Avoid corporate pontification, just say what you mean! Some professional hosts, like my friend Veronica Belmont can memorize a line and repeat it on camera like they just thought of it. That’s a real skill and a talent and most people can’t do it well. Instead, just say what you mean in as short a way as possible. A talented and experienced video producer can help coach and draw the words out of you.

Ignore the Camera

For the interviews, you’ll usually just be looking at the interviewer, not the camera. try and ignore it. Because you can stop, do another take, you don’t need to feel pressure.

Dress Code

It surely depends on the video production but I always advise people to avoid white and black shirts, pin stripes, thin lines and ‘busy’ textures and old t-shirts. But try and wear a colorful shirt that compliments your skin tone. For example, my wife is Chinese-American and purple tones are flattering on her but yellows don’t work as well. I have paler skin and for shirts I try and avoid white and light colors and reds, people tell me blue and green look nice.
Glasses or Contacts?

Contacts are a safe bet but in many cases glasses are just fine. If you are going to remove them to be on camera make sure to do so 1 hour before your interview so you don’t get those little indentations from the nose pads.

Make Up

Depending on the budget, the video production costs for a proper make up artist will be far too expensive. In San Francisco, a talented and experience video production make up artist can run $500-$1000. That means most video productions are going to be a bit more DYI. Ladies may want a little, tiny bit more powder and color than usual, but go easy, too much looks caked on. Guys sometimes need to use a paper towel to dab their face and de-shine the forehead, cheekbones and nose areas before we shoot too, especially when they are balding up top like me!!

Spell Check

Make sure to give the interviewer a business card or even spell your name and exact title on camera so they have it on record. That way you don’t get misrepresented in the final video.

Authenticity is King

In a world of content, maybe content isn’t king anymore. Maybe it’s the engaging content that expresses real emotion, authenticity. I know I said it before but it’s important: Have fun, smile, be engaged. All that comes across. Your audience can see the truth in your nuances, no matter how hard you try and hide it. There’s a reason you’re on camera: you have something to say! Engage your audience with your true emotions. Make them care!

And make sure you don’t have food stuck in your teeth, that’s a classic.

Feel free to contact me with any specific questions:

Dane Frederiksen
Digital Accomplice

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