Basic Tips For a Video Interview

There will come a time when someone wants to hear you on camera. It could be a quick sound bite or they might be looking for an introduction, like bio, for the series website. There are many different ways to handle a video interview and its best to find your own style, but these are some basic guidelines that should help you look more professional.

travis pastrana interview NEFR 2015

  1. Be Prepared
    1. You never know when someone might stick a camera in your face and ask you questions.
    2. Even better is to practice a quick mock interview with your friends between races. Or simply do it in the mirror. Any practice is better than winging it.
    3. Be prepared with a story or two about your race weekend in case they don’t have specific questions for you. Take a look at the interview below with Al Dantes or Eric Potss for an example of some of questions you might get asked at a rally.
    4. Use the interviewers questions to guide the discussion to a topic you want to talk about.For example: How are your times… Our stage times are pretty good today but mostly because we’re running some new tires from brand X and our corner entry speeds are much higher. Brand X is pretty sweet… – assumes you are sponsored by Brand X.

 

 

  1. Take a second to make sure you look normal
    1. If there’s no mirror try the side mirrors on the car or even your reflection in the window of the car. You can always ask the interviewer too.
    2. No grease smudges on your face or random hats that confuse your message.
    3. Sunglasses
      1. Unless its too bright to see or your sponsored by a sunglasses company, you’re better off letting them see your eyes and identify with your face.

 

  1. Ask for the questions in advance
    1. Even if its a quick interview before the race, ask what they plan to ask as they are setting up the camera so you have some time to prepare your responses.

 

  1. Ask where to look (at the interviewer or at the camera).
    1. Even if you’re not looking at the camera, don’t look away or at the ground. It might sound obvious but looking away implies you’re distracted or disinterested.
    2. Treat the camera or the interviewer as a good friend that you’re talking to for years.
    3. Industry standard is to look away from the camera but I(Bill Caswell) think its more engaging to the audience to address the camera directly. Unless your interviewer is on screen with you, then talk to them like you’re having a conversation.

william petrow nefr 2015

    1. Relaxed body language.
      1. No crossed arms
      2. Hands in the power zone(the arear between your eyes and your belly button), not in your pockets. See Matt Brandenburg’s video below from Sandblast 2014 where he does a good job of talking with his hands.
      3. Smile – if appropriate.

 

  1. Repeat the question in the answer.
    1. What are you racing today? Instead of answering a BMW, say I’m competing in a 205 BMW M3 that was prepared by VR performance specifically for Targa Newfound. Or something to that effect.

 

  1. Say your name, you co-drivers name and the car you are driving at a minimum.
    1. Get used to saying these pieces of information as most interviews will start with something similar.
    2. Where you’re from and what you do the rest of the week can be interesting as well.

NEFR 2015

  1. Thank your sponsors.
    1. You hear the NASCAR guys rattle off 20 names at the end of the interview but its better to find away to thank them through a good story.
    2. For example: How’s your rally? It’s going really well. Our car is properly prepared and were having a good season thanks to Bob’s Ice Cream shack and Moe’s brewery who have been extremely supportive this year. It’s an honor to represent their businesses and they’ve made a huge difference in our race program. Plus they have great ice cream and beer which is nice. Thanks Bob’s Ice Cream Shack and Moe’s Brewery, you guys rock!

Bill Caswell is a self-taught racing driver, mechanic, and fabricator, and rose to internet fame taking a $500 Craigslist BMW to a World Rally Championship event in Mexico in March of 2010. His exploits have featured in places like ESPN Magazine, Grassroots Motorsports, NPR Radio, Wired.com and Jalopnik.com. A lifelong fan of rally and motorsport, Caswell famously believes nothing to be impossible.