Dig yourself out of the ‘no question in the answer’ nightmare!

by Leigh on January 31, 2017

VoxXpress ArtistI produce a lot of ‘talking heads’ documentaries where the narrative is largely made up of interviews. In an ideal world your interviewees would tell the whole story. However, how many times have we said ‘put the question in the answer’ only to hear just the opposite when the cameras are running?

It’s human nature not to repeat the question. Many of us will go back and ask our interviewee to repeat the answer with context but there are times – for example if you’re short of time or the subject is sensitive – where you just don’t want to interrupt the flow. This is where voice over is your friend – indeed your lifeboat.

If used properly, voice over can get you out of trouble. For example, if you ask an interviewee:

“When did you first discover you liked collecting stamps?”

what you’d like them to say is:

“I first discovered I liked collecting stamps when I was 8 and I saw the variety of colours on different stamp designs.”

In the real world, what they might say is:

“when I was 8 and I saw the variety of colours on different stamp designs.”

Not ideal, but this is where your secret weapon, the voiceover, comes in. If you use a VO line like:

“John first discovered he liked collecting stamps when he was quite young….”

You can then launch into:

“I was 8 and I saw the variety of colours on different stamp designs.”

Hey presto! It’s a simple trick but it has got me out of lots of trouble and hopefully you’ll find it useful too.

 

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