Find Your Angle to Interview WWII Veterans – iHistory WW2 Student Video Contest

By: Heather Van Allen & Jeffrey Worthington

Oscar C. Fitzhenry - Army Air Corps WWII Veteran
Oscar C. Fitzhenry – Army Air Corps WWII Veteran

Before you do your interview for your WW2 veteran project, it’s a good idea to decide on an angle so you can ask focused questions. Remember, with your mini-documentary, you have to tell the story within a limited amount of time–3 to 5 minutes. Determining your focus in advance will help you gather the most important points during your interview

Here are some strategies for finding your angle.

1) Talk with the veteran to get some background details before the video interview. Find out where and in what capacity he served. Ask the veteran to share highlights of his or her service during WWII.

2) In forming your angle, think about the story you want to tell and form your video interview around that idea. One of the judging criteria for the mini-documentaries is “Content & Story.” Your video should provide a cohesive and compelling story of personal sacrifice; have a unique and innovative approach to covering the specified topic guidelines; be accurate, informative and of superior quality; and demonstrates any of the following virtues: courage, loyalty, integrity, respect, overcoming prejudice, honor, self-sacrifice, perseverance, leadership, humility, forgiveness and service to the country. (See the iHistory WW2 Contest Official Rules)

3) Bounce some ideas off of family and friends. When brainstorming for an angle, you may find it helpful to let a few other people in on what you’re working on and ask them what they think of your ideas and/or if they have any thoughts to contribute. Share some of the pre-interview details you gathered, and find out what highlights your family and friends think would make the mini-documentary the most interesting. By getting the input of others, you might find yourself with a great angle you may not have come up with otherwise.

For more tips on putting together your WW2 project, visit the iHistory WW2 website:  To stay up to date be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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