Never Go Unprepared
If an interview begins with “HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING ON THIS MOVIE”, it’s the interviewer hinting that the ads YouTube doesn’t let you skip are going to be far more interesting than what you’re watching. “Oh, the sets were like a picnic. We had so much fun. We all became so close,” become the typical answers. Given the dozens of interviews each actor is subjected to, this is also a signal for them to switch off, only to retreat to the most repetitive answers, quickly turning the interview into plain small talk. There’s certainly more research one can do than just print out an actor/director’s filmography, but going super-prepared too can pose a problem, because that can make the interview seem mechanical. The middle-ground works best. Go prepared, but always leave room for the conversation to veer towards unexpected places and topics.
Interviews Are Not Thanksgiving
A cliched follow up question is usually “HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH X,Y,Z?” Not once in human history has this question ever led to an interesting or insightful answer. The interviewee quickly switches from “Poise Mode” to “Praise Mode”, using the question as a cue to vigorously thank everyone he/she worked with, from the director (“he acts out the scenes for me”) and fellow actors (“they made me feel so comfortable”) to the cinematographer (“I looked good only thanks to him”) and that Swiggy delivery executive who kept delivering hummus to the sets.
“The Script Is King”…We Know
If this answer were a skin care remedy, we would call it aloe vera. A lot of questions during a pre-release interview can be answered with just, “The script is the actual hero.” Yet, neither have we heard of a scriptwriter getting paid Rs. 25 crore for a film, nor do we see the paparazzi going crazy each time a writer goes to the gym/library. The biggest problem with this answer is that it mostly stays true only till the film’s release. Because, the biggest cliché about film reviews is “The writing is just so bad”.
Rapid Has Lost Its Fire
The ‘rapid fire’ may have been a fascinating concept during the first season of Koffee With Karan a decade-and-a-half ago, but the segment isn’t as fun or clever as it used to be. It’s not a “one size fits all” solution to make every interview come alive, so the choice on who it works with needs to be thought through well in advance. The worst thing about it is how it’s seldom rapid, taking up almost half of the entire interview. This means that for half the duration, we expect these fascinating personalities to give us an answer with hardly any thought or reason behind them, leaving no room for depth or nuance.
Going Crazy With “Concept” Interviews
We’re all for all kinds of interviewers doing all kinds of interviews, but, of late, we’ve been pushing the quirky format a bit too far, especially when it comes to female leads. Teenage party games of the 90s have now become legit interview formats. Call it ‘Never Have I Ever’ or ‘Truth Or Dare’, they come in all shapes and sizes, often with a flirtatious (at times, even sexist) undertone. If we paid as much attention to what’s inside the heroine’s head rather than her handbag, we’d be getting better-written roles and films. Also, if the format works so well, why don’t we ever see the same being tried out with heroes? Why is there no “Hero’s Wallet Secrets Revealed?”
Evoking A Male Superstar For No Reason
Call it the sheer power these top stars hold over social media or how even the mere mention of their name leads to thousands of extra views, but we have to draw the line somewhere when it comes to blatant name-dropping. I mean, it’s understandable if the said star is a part of the film being promoted, but why we do have to keep listening to questions and answers about them and their Himalayan humility when there’s hardly any connection? We’re at that point where even an interview with Barack Obama would be incomplete without asking him if he’s a Vijay or Ajith fan. Clickbait is the order of the day, but c’mon…
Playing The Interviewee As A Character
Star actors and directors often use interviews/media merely as a ‘stepping stone’ to reach a certain level of stardom after which they abandon them altogether. Yet, the reason why so many of them have such staunch followers is also because of the real person the audience got to see during interviews. Which is why it becomes extremely important that both interviewer and interviewees respect the need for the latter to be as close to their real life personality as they can. You don’t want the interviewee to become a character that requires ‘acting’. Honesty, intelligence and straightforwardness can create as many fans as working in good movies does. That’s when it becomes more than just a salesman selling a product. Before stars, they are people and that’s what makes a good interview a great one.
What cliches are you tired of? Let us know in the comments section.