The Key to a Great Interview
I do a feature on my blog called "10 Questions With an Artist," in which I highlight creators of all types and their work. The idea is to give people a glimpse of what goes into making art, whether it be the general public or other aspiring artists who are trying to get a feel for what it takes to make their dreams happen. When I set these interviews up, the understanding is that I'm going to ask ten questions about what they're doing, how they do it, etc. It's always a lot of fun, and it's always educational, at least for me. What I do NOT do when I prepare the interviews is use a template filled with generic questions that could be asked of anyone, because my feeling is that that's both boring and sort of disrespectful. Everyone's work is unique, after all, and it should be treated that way. It's certainly easier to keep things simple, but limiting your inquiries to "what's your name," "what are you working on," and "tell us about it" doesn't give anyone the opportunity to REALLY open up about their passion, and everyone, from me to the creator to the readers of the interview, is worse for it. So, the trick for me is to personalize each interview as much as I can, asking ten questions that get the most out of the interviewee and personalizing them to a degree that the questions themselves would not make sense to ask anyone else. Granted, that's the ideal, and hitting that mark exactly isn't always realistic. But that's the target, and that's the key to a good interview--time, effort, and a respect for the inherent uniqueness in artistic endeavors.