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In Episode 14 of the Legacy Video Lounge Podcast, personal historian, video biographer, and Family Legacy Video, Inc. president Steve Pender answers a listener’s question about keeping up the energy during a life story interview.
Here’s the question, which came in via email:
“One thing that occurred to me after I listened to your podcast on the pre-interview (which was excellent) is regarding the energy levels. I did radio for years – and I know – people (of all ages) can tend to go monotone, if you don’t keep lifting up the energy. I hope you’ll address this in a future podcast.”
Inquire about storyteller’s energy level during preproduction. Do they have the energy for a full day’s shoot?
If material is extensive, you may want to look at two days or more.
If you’re determined to keep the finished video around an hour or so, plan on no more than around two hours of raw interview.
Stay engaged with the storyteller – maintain eye contact, use nonverbal cues by varying your expressions, nodding, gesturing.
Keep an eye on the storyteller’s energy level and mental focus. If he or she tires or starts to stray from the topic at hand, take a break.
Do all the things you need to do to make your interview set a comfortable and fun space: Provide water, let the storytellers take breaks when they want, and let them know that do-overs are okay.
Storytellers who are having a good time are likely to maintain better energy levels – so have fun!