Preparing for Appearing in a Scripted Interview

Scripted Interviews

Scripted interviews are used for training medical students on interview techniques and interview content in a variety of clinical contexts. These interviews will usually be shot with 2 or 3 cameras, and can take place in the Discovery Commons studio, another room inside of Discovery Commons or the Medical Sciences Building, or another location.

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Preparation

While the professionals we see on screen make appearing in front of the camera look easy, it takes a lot of preparation on their part to create that illusion. We're aware that these interviews may not quite be Oscar material, but good preparation goes a long way to help make the shoots enjoyable and efficient, and the end product a valuable pedagogical resource.

The single, most important thing, for both the interviewer and the interviewees, is to arrive at the shoot knowing your lines. Most scripts are about 3 - 5 pages long. You will not be able to have your script in front of you. In the weeks leading up to your interview shoot, you should spent a minimum of 4 hours learning your lines and rehearsing.

Even if you wrote the script or are a physcian who routinely conducts the kind of interviews you are being asked to do in front of the cameras, take the time to learn the script as it has been written. Your interviewee will have learned the script and will expect the questions to be asked in the scripted way and in the scripted order.

The effects of any one of the participants not being fully prepared include extending the duration of the shoot, leading to higher production costs and potentially disrupting your co-actors' and the production team's schedules, and resulting in a below-par end product that may not be an effective teaching tool. That said, however, probably the worst effect is that feeling of being unprepared when the cameras are pointed at you and others are relying on you, and the frustration of not being able to remember your lines and having to do take after take. 

Tips for learning the script:

  • carefully read the script in its entirety at least twice
  • read the script again, this time saying your parts aloud and reading the others' parts silently
  • start to memorize your lines by concentrating on paragraphs. Learn each paragraph before moving on to the next one
  • consider your role and how that character would ask or answer the questions. Are they angry, nervous, upset, worried? Don't over-emote, but incorporate any of those emotions in your readings
  • engage the help of a friend or family member to run lines with you. They should read your co-actors' lines to provide your cues, and you respond with your lines. Do this until you can do it without the script.

Hair, Make up, and Wardrobe

Unfortunately, we don’t have a budget for hair, make up, or wardrobe, but we do have a mirror in the studio. Here are some tips on what to wear:

* You will be shown on the video from approximately the waist up
* If you normally wear make up, wear the same amount as you usually do
* Avoid bright, reflective jewelry
* Do NOT wear a jacket or top with small patterns, such as tight stripes or herringbone, as this will shimmer on the video (Moire effect) and be distracting
* If you are doing the interview in the studio, do NOT wear green. The process by which the green-coloured background is replaced is by removing anything from the shot that is green-coloured; if you are wearing green, this will also disappear
 

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