A key ingredient to any video project is an interview. As photographers, adding a talking subject to your next video montage or slideshow takes it to the next level. It can add a story to your project, and stories are what people want to watch.

One of the most common video projects Im hired to shoot are interviews and testimonials. While Id like to be behind the camera, most of the time Im running the camera and asking the questions. Some people are very personable in front of a camera. Others . . . are not.

A Recent Tough Shoot

During my recent shoot for Under Armour, I really enjoyed talking to the All-America players. After all, theyre high school football players getting the experience of a lifetime. As part of the interview series, we also got a chance to talk to some former professional athletes and coaches.

The first day of production was the check-in day for athletes. They were bussed from the airport to the hotel, where they were then fitted for uniforms and sent off to the media. ESPN first, then Rivals.com, then to my group, representing both Under Armour and the NFHS Network. I was the last person they spoke to before the day was over. If you couldn’t tell, they weren’t too thrilled to see me.

Getting The Subject Onboard

Before each interview, Id give the person an overview of what we were doing and what the interview was being used for. A couple of people flat out said no. Im not sure if they were tired or just didn’t like the NFHS Network, but this was media day and Under Armour was paying a lot of money for these interviews. There wasn’t a choice for the athletes but to comply. How do you tell someone whos bigger, stronger, and has more money than you to sit down, stop complaining and answer my five questions?

The first time it happened, I didn’t have an answer. My crew froze, the media representative we had turned away, and we all sat for a good 30 seconds in silence.

The Show Must Go On

Like I said before, there wasn’t a choice. We needed these interviews. I needed to figure out the problem and convince the interviewee that it was in his best interest to sit with us.

Knowing that a majority of problems come when theres a misinterpretation, I took a deep breath and started asking why. My crew looked at me as if I was crazy, but it turns out that the issue was not with us, the NFHS Network or Under Armour, but a group of board members he had spoken to earlier.

Ahh . . . now that makes sense. So what to do? Well, I needed to modify the script a bit so that it was a quicker interview and make sure that we nailed the important parts. With his mood, we only had one take, so it had to be right.

During the shoot, it was a constant balancing act between keeping the talent happy, interviews on schedule, and getting all the content we needed for Under Armour and the NFHS Network. Problems like this are fairly common on a production set and its important to stay calm and figure out a solution that works for everybody.

By the way, if youre into high school sports, this high-energy, fast-paced show is new every week right here: http://www.nfhsnetwork.com/uahighlights