Skip to content

Mastering the Interview: Real People as Documentary Story Structure

October 2, 2017 — November 6, 2017

Mondays | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | 6 Sessions

Instructor: Steve Amen

Location: Classes & Admin Offices


The stories and voices of real people are the building blocks of documentary storytelling. The challenge for the filmmaker is to adapt their style to the person being interviewed. A successful interviewer allows the subject to share their story in a way that is not only personal, but also that is focused, engaging, and provides real insight into the subject. Through this class you will learn to direct and shoot interview subjects in a way that inspires, informs and is technically sound. You will also see how to take hours of raw interviews and condense them down to manageable soundbites which define and give structure to your story. Move an idea or existing project forward by conducting multiple interviews over the course of the class, assessing your material for story threads, and organizing the footage into a “Paper Edit” to be used for script writing and eventual editing.



Selecting interview subjects

Formulating questions

Choosing locations for filming, setting up the room

Conducting a Pre-Interview

Basic lighting and sound recording techniques

Framing interview shots

Relaxing and empowering the interviewee

Drawing out meaningful content from subjects

Shooting B-Roll of the subject

How to log and transcribe your interviews

Story structure elements: tease, body, conclusion

Sound bites as story structure

Establishing continuity

Planning for additional B-Roll

Planning for and writing narration (if you need it)

The purpose of a “Paper Edit” and why you need it

Get instructor coaching and feedback throughout the class


Tuition includes all needed interviewing equipment (camera, microphone, lights).


Prerequisites: Basic camera operation skills helpful.