It’s time for your interview with a WWII veteran, and you’re just about ready to film. Following a few tips may help you create a video that looks professional without appearing stiff or overly rehearsed.
Take a deep breath, relax. Rather than approaching your interview like a scripted list of questions you just have to get through, talk to the person like you would anyone else. Try not to focus so much on being recorded, that you get nervous and forget that you’re just having a dialogue with another human being.
Practice your interview introduction enough so that it feels natural. Get to know the veteran, finding out all the pertinent details, before your interview time. Introduce him or her like you would a good friend you highly admire. Consider beginning with something like, “This is _________. It’s October ____, 2013, and today I’m in Anytown, USA, talking to __________ …” and go from there.
When opening your interview, be sure to include all of the following information for the veteran: full name, birth date, war and branch of service and highest rank achieved. Also state the date and location (city, state) of the interview; your full name and relationship to the veteran (if applicable); the name of anyone present who is assisting with the interview; and that the interview is being conducted for the iHistory WW2 Contest and Veterans History Project for the Library of Congress.
Before asking your first question, thank your interviewee for agreeing to be there and talk to you (Example: “Thank you, ________, for taking time to talk to me today.”)
Ask open-ended questions. Encourage the subject to open up about their past.
Keep your comments to a minimum. Be willing to listen and let the veteran tell his or her story. For example, here is an interview filmed for the Library on Congress a few years ago.
Keep the interview going. Gently prod to keep the story going by asking, “Then what happened?”
Before conducting your interview, be sure you have completed the following steps:
Ensure that your recording media complies with the Library of Congress’ Acceptable Media and Formats.
Use an external microphone for conducting the video interview.
Properly fill out the release and biography forms with the WWII veteran. Submitting an incomplete form may lead to the disqualification of your entry.