Share interview questions and answers prior to filming an interview?

When it comes to filming an interview, a frequently debated topic is whether it’s more beneficial to provide on-camera talent with their interview questions in advance, or to let things unfold candidly in the interview.

The Benefits of Giving Interview Questions Ahead of Time

On one hand, providing interview questions in advance allows participants to prepare and rehearse their responses, this can result in more polished and articulate answers, minimising the chances of fumbling or stumbling during the interview. It also allows them to do any necessary research, gather information from key stakeholders, run things past legal teams / subject matter experts / leadership etc. Scripted responses can be really effective in scenarios, such as formal presentations or speeches.

Holding Interview Questions Back

On the other hand, you risk that scripted responses may come across as rehearsed or lacking authenticity. We have encountered many times where interviewees feel so reliant on their pre-written responses that they request to have papers on a nearby table, or even held up by a crew member.  This approach results in eye-lines that are clearly reading and looking away, and more often than not, responses that feel inauthentic. To the interviewee it can feel fine reading in the moment, but watching it back there is often disappointment when they see how they are coming across, and audiences tend to pick up anything that isn’t genuine a mile away. Equally it’s not recommended that you have the talent practice their answer before rolling camera because he/she won’t be able to replicate those answers properly due to the pressure and often nerves. The longer the answer, the more frustrated the talent becomes and their overall performance declines over the shoot which unfortunately results in a poor outcome.

You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

But in reality, it doesn’t always have to be one way or the other, there is a middle ground approach: providing interviewees with key talking points or bullet points can strike a balance between preparation and authenticity. This allows participants to familiarise themselves with the topics to be discussed without feeling bound to memorized answers. Such an approach can be particularly beneficial for talent who feel nervous or camera-shy, helping them gain the confidence to feel relaxed during the interview, and as a result present themselves and their message well.

Ultimately, the decision to provide interview questions in advance depends on a few key factors, including:

  • The nature of the subject matter (For example, is it an emotive personal reflection, or a statistic heavy market update?)
  • The preferences of the participants (Everyone’s style and personality is different, some people can read a script perfectly naturally, while others will deliver a candid response with finesse).
  • The desired outcome of the video production (Do you want a polished and formal presentation, or do you want a conversational and natural dialogue?)

The Verdict

And so, at the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether it’s a good idea to provide interview questions in advance for videos. It’s essential to weigh the benefits of preparedness against the potential drawbacks of scripted responses and consider the subject matter, individual preferences, and desired end product. By thinking ahead, learning from missteps, and striking a balance between preparation and spontaneity, creators can ensure that their interviews are engaging, informative, and authentic.

If you’re looking to film an interview for your business, contact the experienced team at Rocket Productions to get started – we’re here to help.


Video Production Tips
Previous Post
Handling Sensitive Topics in Video
Next Post
Does Lighting Matter?
The Rocket Blog

The Rocket Blog is where we share our experiences and reflect on a selection of our favourite moments.

If you’d like to share your opinion or join the conversation, please do so by joining us on our socials.